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Wrong turn

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yesterday, after completing our shopping, we headed back home and were driving around the neighbourhood to check out the Halloween decorations.  While we were driving around, we decided that we wanted to make a home-made ghost to put in the front yard, but we realised that we didn’t have white cloth.  So we headed out to the closest Home Craft store.  As we were almost reaching the shop, Elan missed the 1st turn so he drove a little more to take the 2nd turn (which also takes us to the shop).  As we were waiting to turn left into the small road, right in front of our eyes, a pickup truck made a right turn into that same road and we hurt a crunching sound – my heart sank.  Elan quickly turned into that same road and parked a little further down.  By then, we were able to see that a man who had been on his motorbike was pinned under the truck.  In all fairness, we hadn’t been able to see how exactly the accident took place so we didn’t know who was at fault.  Elan ran over to help and the driver of the pickup was in shock too.  I guess the sudden surge of adrenaline made the man pinned under the truck quite composed and he shouted to Elan and the driver to lift the truck up.  So with all their strength, that’s what they did.  And the man was able to drag/pull himself out to lay down on the road.  By then, I was already calling 911 and relaying the location, the situation and the condition of the man to the operator.  It was terrifying.  In such an incident, you never know how bad the injuries are.  By then, a few other people had also arrived on the scene – 2 older women were comforting the man and one of them had draped a blanket she had over him.  It was really cold and he was shivering.

Within less than 2 minutes (I’m quite sure), the paramedics, the police and fire fighters had already arrived.  I have always respected what these people do, but I now have an even more respect for them.  The calm and composure they exhibit.  The kindness they show.  The efficient way in which they assess the condition of the man to decide how to treat him before moving him into the ambulance.  They really are amazing. 

After giving his statement, Elan was told he could leave and we headed off to continue with our cloth shopping, still wondering, hoping and praying that the man wouldn’t sustain any injury that was terribly serious.  As we reflected on it last night, we realised that there is no place we’d rather be than little ol’ Boise – where the compassion of people in a terrible situation is just heartwarming.  Having come from the country we came from, where people would just drive past an accident, or slow down to copy down the number of the car to use for the lottery later, we are truly grateful for the kindness we’ve encountered here.

And as I reflected on the day we had, I wondered to myself “Is there ever really a WRONG turn” we make in life.  If not for wanting to make the ghost (below) for Halloween, if not for having returned home first and then deciding to go back to the shop, if not for missing the first turn into the shop – would we have been there to help instantly, for Elan to have been there to help lift the truck up so that the man could escape further injury.  I will never know.  I hope and pray that the man involved in the accident is ok.

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Life is just one HUGE examination…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

That’s what it feels like to me sometimes.  Life is just bunches of tests, coming at you one after another.  No time to stop, no time to breathe, no time to revise, no time to reflect.  And during those times of lull, all you want to do is breathe a little, smile a little, live a little.  I try to understand, even accept at times, what is thrust upon us.  But sometimes, it is beyond me. 

I am constantly faced with questions : “why me?”, “why her?”, “why them?”, “why us?”, “why NOW?” and yet, answers, I don’t have.  I am, by nature, a patient and positive person – or at least, I used to be.  Where I used to think and feel positive, I now feel angry. 

The child of 2 dear friends of mine was just diagnosed with a condition that requrires surgery.  She’s just a baby.  A baby who holds a dear place in my heart – the reason, only her parents would know. 

I don’t understand it.  Why a child?  I used to once think, it’s fate, God always knows best.  Not this time.  This time, even Karma doesn’t dare look me in the eyes.

I can’t stop thinking about all 3 of you.  Even though God has unfairly chosen this path for you, I am still praying to him to give you the strength,  courage and love to face all that you are about to.

On the other side of the table

Friday, October 23, 2009

That’s where I sat this morning at Divya’s school with Elan.  I was now the parent attending the “Parent-Teacher” meeting.  Gone were the days of me being the teacher, giving feedback to a parent, good or bad.  Here I was sitting, feeling a teeny weeny bit nervous.  Silly?  For sure.  She’s just 3!  What could a teacher say that was so bad about a little one?  And yet, the anticipation of a first-time judgement of your child by a stranger is slightly nerve-wrecking.  Wondering if you’ve been doing a good enough job.  After all, a child, at this age, is truly a reflection of what she sees, hears and learns at home.  Well, that being said, it turns out Divya has been doing pretty well.  Nothing huge to report about.  She’s enjoying school, her friends, the activities. 

It really does start at this age, doesn’t it?  The guidance, the worrying and wondering if you’re doing right by your child.  I guess the reason I’ve been obsessing thinking about this so much for the last couple of days is because I read this article written by the mother of one of the shooters in the Columbine High School shooting which took place 10 years ago.  When I read this type of article, I tend to want to read more about what happened and look at pictures of the criminals – I always wonder if I’d be able to identify a person on the street who had such thoughts.  This article also reminded me about the challenges of parenthood – inculcating the right values, guiding your child and then finally trusting your child to do the right thing and praying that your child comes to you if they are ever in trouble.  I’m sure you can tell that the article deeply disturbed me.

The verdict after Day 1 of potty training

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And Day 1 was actually yesterday.  The potty train is chugging along at a decent speed.  No tears, no smears, looking good!  So I decided that I shall share the method I’m using – I know what a nightmare it can be to embark on this journey with the joy of your life.

Let me start from the beginning.  My initial aim was to start potty-training Divya when she turned 30 months old.  The date came and went and I still was not mentally prepared. 

Attempt No. 1

After about a month from the initially designated date, I decided to give it a go – starting with the pull-up diapers – FAILURE!  In the hubby’s words, Divya and I looked “beaten up” when he came home from work – tempers flared, lots of tears were shed and Divya and I were not exactly on talking terms.  So I decided (with the advise from the Internet) to postpone it for a couple of weeks.  Maybe she just wasn’t ready. 

Attempt No. 2

This time, I read online that pull-up diapers just feel the same as normal diapers to kids so it was advised that training pants should be used – almost like normal underwear but with a little extra absorbency.  So I rushed out excitedly and stocked up with a bunch of these miracle undies.  The next day, I made the new undies seem so exciting and special to Divya that even I was tempted to get some for myself!  She put them on, and within 10 minutes, she had wet herself and even pointed me in the direction, proudly remorsefully, of the puddle she had left on the floor.  This was just her first attempt, I thought – patience after all was my middle name.  But when her 7th pair of undies had been rinsed and tossed into the washing machine before noon that day, my middle name had been changed to “pure frustration”.  It wasn’t just the cleanups that got to me – it was Divya laughing each time she did it, and proudly may I add!  Enough was enough – I threw in the undies towel for the day at 3pm and decided that she just wasn’t ready.  Call it mother’s intuition.  Did I mention that even a little bribery (with sweets) was involved?

Following Attempts 1 and 2 came a whole lot of travelling – so potty-training was definitely out of the question.  Then about 2 weeks ago, we signed her up for preschool – what I like about this preschool is that there is no compulsion for the child to be potty-trained.  That’s the way I think it should be!  But I decided anyway that it would be good if she could at least use the potty – less supplies to be carried every time we go out and lots of $$$$ to be saved.  So here came……

Attempt 3

…..which started yesterday.  And Miracle of Miracles, Divya is doing exceptionally well!  She only had 1 “accident” yesterday and none, so far, today!  Which leads me to believe, that waiting for a child to be “ready” is extremely important AND it makes it SO MUCH easier on the potty trainer and trainee!  As cliche as it may sound, parents have to always keep in mind that every child is different.  So the method and timing may differ for different children.  But here’s my story of what I did (you never know, it may help someone).

1.  If your house doesn’t have any carpet, then lucky you.  If it does, try to line it with some waterproof cloth as much as you can.  The only thing I did was to line my couch with a plastic tablecloth (you can buy it at the dollar store).  And I also folded a towel and placed it on top of the plastic cloth – told Divya that it was a magic mat and that she had to sit on it if she wanted to watch TV (yes, she indulged in a lot of TV so that the training went smoothly).

2.  I put another plastic mat down on the floor in the bathroom and placed the potty on it (makes for an easier cleanup).  And I obviously chose the bathroom that was closest to the living room/kitchen.  You can’t expect a child to run a marathon to reach the bathroom.  If you are comfortable placing the potty even closer, that’s even better.  But it was easier for me to be able to flush down the pee & poop and wash the potty each time in the bathroom.

3.  I placed a toilet roll, wipes, plastic bags and spare clothes within reach of the bathroom.

4.  I started off the day by letting her go bottomless – YUP – nothing at all except a T-shirt – I thought that maybe she would not like the feeling of being wet. 

5.  I set the reminder on my cellphone at 30-minute intervals.  I tried to make it sound exciting that whenever the alarm went off, it was “peeing time”.  After about 3 hours, she was telling me when she had to pee – so we didn’t always keep to the alarm but we tried to as much as possible.  She even did her poop in the potty (although, I must say that she was rather traumatised when she looked at it because she hasn’t really seen it much before).  I even reminded her and asked her between the intervals whether she needed to use the potty – I think kids tend to forget when they are busy playing.

6.  And since she was able to tell me when she had to go to the toilet, I started letting her wear undies/shorts – after all, she needs to start getting used to wearing clothes without a diaper.  It isn’t always appropriate to go bottomless.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not as easy as it seems.  I must have cleaned out the potty at least 30 times yesterday.  I think bladder control is still an issue!

Here are some conclusions I came to.

1.  TIMING – if you are not in a rush to potty or toilet train your child, wait until your child is ready.  Look out for signs such as the child telling you that she/he has done a pee or poop in the diaper, interest in wanting to use a potty.  Leave the potty in clear sight and every now and then, ask your child if he/she wants to use it.  I think that bladder control becomes better as a child gets older and she is able to know when she needs to use the bathroom.  Forget about keeping up with the Joneses – everytime another parent shows off that their kid is trained, throw a poop-filled diaper in their face.

2.  If possible, don’t take the route of “bribery”.  You won’t always be able to give your child a sweet/treat everytime he/she pees or poops.  So that is going to give them the wrong message.  Resort to it, ONLY, if your child is peeing around the house, laughing in your face and refusing to even try using the potty.  

3.  Set aside, at least, 2 days to fully focus on potty-training your child.  If both parents work, perhaps, sacrifice one weekend for this adventure.  If one parent is a stay-at-home parent, then BAD LUCK, you’re on your own!  It definitely helps if there are 2 people taking turns dumping the pee/poop.  Consistency really is the key – so be serious about it and try not to leave the house for those few days.

6. As soon as the child is able to tell you when she/he needs to pee/poop, start getting them to wear either shorts or undies (something that they are able to easily remove and put on again).  It is important to do this as soon as possible since they won’t always be able to go bottomless. 

So in summary, let your child go bottomless if necessary, and stick to this timing method.

7.  Most importantly, don’t forget to praise your child everytime their attempt in the potty is successful.  DO NOT, however, jump up and down and shout out at the top of your lungs – you may just scare your child back into diapers.

I think I have covered all that I wanted to say – if you have questions, just ask 🙂 – my mind isn’t quite working right, after all, I have had nothing but pee and poop on the brain for the last 2 days!

Good luck to all aboard the potty train!

This too shall PASS….no pun intended

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We’ve hopped back onto the potty train-ing.  So that’s where I am right now.  I tried it a couple of months ago – not me myself (I’ve been trained for awhile!), but with Divya and it was just miserable for both of us.  So I decided to give it a LONG break – especially since we have been travelling quite a bit.  But the time has come again – and the potty has to be faced.  It’s been 2 hours and it’s going well so far.  She is on 30-minute alarm cues now.  Since she was born, whenever I am about to teach her something or train her in a particular skill, I believe in arming myself with ample research, millions of “experience” stories and a big bundle of patience.

I know – I know you’re just dying to hear such details and I shall not disappoint as I feed you with detailed descriptions of our journey.

Peeping at the world through the holes of a laundry basket

Friday, May 29, 2009

That’s what I’ve been doing – sleeping at times, but mostly peeping at the world through the holes of a laundry basket.

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Or if you look closely, is that my cheeky little monkey playing “hide-UM-seek” with me?

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Slumdog Millionaire

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I am at a loss for words.  Here are some of my UN-lost words 😀 – the way I was feeling and behaving while watching the Academy Awards!

 

  • Academy Awards
  • Thrilled to the moon and back
  • A.R. Rahman – 2!!! 2 awards
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • A clean sweep
  • Woo-hooing at top volume
  • Tearing with such strong emotion and pride
  • Change is here, isn’t it?
  • Hope
  • Love
  • Happy
  • Tamil
  • GOD

A tribute to the sisterhood

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Apar gave me this friendship band.  I am touched – just to be called a friend when we have never met and have purely communicated through blogging and Facebook chatting. 

  This sent me down memory lane – thinking of all the friends I’ve had in my life – well the female friends in my life.  I have had many male friends in my life too – but I always think there’s that invisible line drawn in a male-female friendship.  I truly believe that friends are angels sent to you at different times in your life for different purposes.  I’ve had friends who’ve been there for just a short time in my life and then I’ve had friends who are there for the long haul.  There are friends I don’t see often – but when we meet, it’s like we were never apart.  Making a friend, forming a friendship is not very different from getting into a relationship with someone of the opposite gender.  Finding things in common, achieving a sense of comfort in each other’s presence, building a trust, being there for each other, even trying to impress each other in the early stages of a friendship (I’ve found myself changing outfits just before meeting a friend – just a female friend)…. – it really isn’t very different at all, is it?   

So as I sit here and listen to the songs from Umrao Jaan, I thought, what better way to honour these women for Valentine’s Day who have been in my life than to write about them.  But I do think I need to clarify some things before I start – firstly, these are my feelings and my perspective so the other parties may not necessarily feel them, it doesn’t matter!  To me, a friend is someone I’ve been able to share a part of myself with.  Secondly, with my atrocious memory, I may leave some friends out unintentionally, forgive me!  It definitely doesn’t mean that you don’t have a permanent place in my heart already.  For one with a hopeless memory like me, I think the way to go would be in chronological order, don’t you think?

Let me start off with God’s best gift to me, my mother.  She has always been more of a best friend to me.  I think I bully her too much to let her do her mothering job properly 😀 – I tell her almost everything (wouldn’t want to embarrass her with some details hehe) and she’s my rock – solid, stable, always ready with a listening ear, kind words, encouragement to get through the tough patches in life and ofcourse her routine nagging.  A strong woman – I’m so proud of.  I’m so glad that I can be her support now as she has been to me all these years.  Thank you Amma.

Vaane – this woman, I’ve known since I was 6 years and 2 months old.  We went to the same Primary School for 4 years till I changed schools.  We were not really the closest friends back then.  We even had a small fall-out when a bunch of us carried her and accidentally dropped her!  I know!  Crazy little kids that we were.  Then many years later, we met again in University (College) and became friends again.  I can’t say that we’ve always been the closest of friends, but we’ve shared special times and there have been times that she has been there for me, times that mattered a lot.  Thank you.

Mohana – She was my best friend for 2 years – the last 2 years of my Primary School (after I had changed schools).  And I shall be forever grateful for having her help me settle into a new school.  We were the only 2 Indian girls during those years so it was a special friendship.  Thank you.

Sonal – My first friend when I moved to New Zealand with my family.  The daughter of very close family friends.  I can’t even begin to describe the moments, the times we’ve shared – spiritually, and not so spiritually hehe.  The times we went out and had a ball of a time, even though we were underage – sneaking into clubs :).  Such is the special friendship that we have – not just with her but her whole family – that she came all the way for my wedding to Singapore.  And although we don’t always keep in touch, she is never far from my thoughts and prayers.  Thank you.

Anita – My first friend in Wellington High School (when we moved to NZ).  Although a short-lived friendship (she moved to another school after the first year – nothing to do with me :p), she was the person who eased me into school life in a new environment.  Thank you.

Bharti – My best friend through high school.  Someone I even keep in touch with till this day (not always regularly).  We shared feelings, thoughts, experiences and chocked up HUGE phone bills with the HOURS we spent on the phone.  A very special time in my life – my teenage years, my formative years – I shared with this very special woman.  Thank you.

Felicia – My friend, my buddy.  We went to the same High School and stayed not very far from each other.  We spent hours pretending to study when she came over to my home or when we met at a playground near our homes –  only to spend time freezing and dangling our legs gossiping about some guy we had a crush on at that time.  Thank you.

Roshni – A girl I didn’t know very well.  We became friends in High School through common friends. And later, we were in a Biology class together.  A strange friendship/acquaintanceship we had.  She liked to tease me and yet, she would not let anyone bully me (yes, I was bulliable even back then).  She would give them a punch (literally) if they did.  She was also the one who would dissect my frog in Biology, I couldn’t handle that.  She passed away in an accident during our high school years.  A waste of a precious life and yet an angel amongst us while she was here.  Thank you

Tajinder – My colleague in my first ever job.  Well, a temporary job until I started University.  I worked at a country club.  She was the first person to teach me how to survive in a work environment.  We became friends and I was even her bridesmaid when she married her secondary school sweetheart who was South Indian.  The usual Indian movie scenario – North Indian marries South Indian and parents make a movie of it, objecting and all.  Anyway, Thank you.

Kumari – Kumari!  Where do I start?  Have you ever had a friend in your life – someone you are sure you have had a previous life connection with. This woman is her in my life.  She was the first friend I made in University – I met her at an orientation programme – we exchanged numbers and we were stuck with each other for life.  Our friendship is the type that is almost a relationship-type.  We have our good and bad moments.  We’ve shared A LOT with each other – hours talking and hours just not talking but just being.  We’ve had crazy fights.  We have been there in our ups and downs – not always, but a lot.  She is the woman I have cried buckets on, she is the woman I have puked on (sorry!  in my drunk moments), she is the woman I shared a journey of a lifetime to India, the woman with whom I took a dip in the River Ganges with!  I think I need a separate post for this woman.  One of the strongest women I know.  Watching the sun set in Haridwar as the aarathi was performed.  My sanity pill.  My Thursday girl.  My sister.  I miss you.  Thank you.

Malar – She is the second friend I made in University.  We shared many special moments and memories with.  Unfortunately, it was short-lived friendship.  Due to some really immature misunderstanding, we had a fall out.  But I am glad to say that years later, we overcame those immature moments and even attended each other weddings and keep in touch now sometimes, thanks to Facebook.  Thank you.

Kavitha – One of my first few friends in University.  I would say we have a strange friendship.  We spent one December holiday together and became quite close and then drifted apart.  We even went on a holiday to Australia with Kumari and her sister.  She married a mutual friend.  Although I can’t always say we’ve been close, I have been comfortable enough to share personal things in my life with her.  And that is something special.  There are some people you will feel comfortable enough to share things with immediately and some you won’t.  We have always drifted in and out of our friendship and I am so glad to say that we have now picked up again – communicating with each other.  Thank you.

Zalina – My junior in University.  I can’t say we have been the best of friends or that we have shared everything.  But the moments, the experiences, the confiding – I will always cherish.  Thank you.  

Jagjit – My first friend in my 2nd temp job (and later my permanent job).  She was the mother hen.  Always looking out for me and advising me and yet, she was cool enough a mother hen to hang out with – our favourite times when we were watching Hindi movies or having some drinks by the seaside.  We shared a lot with each other.  Living so close to each other, we always shared, not only taxi rides but special moments on the way home.  If not for her, I wouldn’t even have lasted as long as I did in my first job.  Thank you.

Premela – What can I say about this woman!  She is one of a kind.  Have you ever had a friend – the type you thought you’d never click with in a million years.  I was probably the nerdy one to her while she was the cool one to me.  And yet, a special friendship was formed.  And although I can’t really say why, she is truly an inspiring person – with all that she has been through in life which is A LOT.  I honestly don’t know how to put into words, this friendship that it is.  Sadly, I don’t keep in touch much with her now – that’s telling me that I should start again right?  Thank you.

Angelina – This woman!  And yet another unlikely candidate as my friend – it turns out, she is one of the most special friends in my life – one of the most special I’ve ever had.  Don’t be fooled by her Ah-lian wannabe outlook.  Still waters run deep as they say – or as in her case, toilet bowls run deep (sorry, only she will get this!).  She is the first person I met when we joined Fuhua.  She accused me of staring at the pimple on her face and so began our friendship.  We’ve shared so much with each other – hours and hours of just “hanging” and talking.  I can safely say, she is one of the very few who has made it into my inner circle of friends.  I think what makes this friendship so special and stand out amongst the rest is the fact that we are so comfortable in our own skin when we are around each other and the fact that we just have no expectations of each other – something which is very rare in female friendships.  There is no pettiness.  My memories – our SARS episode, having hotel food and coffee at 3am in the morning, marking sessions together and most of all, talking.  She is one of the few reasons I miss being in Singapore.  Thank you.

Maha – A reunion of sorts.  This woman, I knew as a child.  We belong to the same spiritual organisation.  But I don’t think we remembered each other much.  Besides the occasional “bump into each other” times, we first became friends in University.  There were some special secrets we shared and swore each other to secrecy, didn’t we Maha?  Do you remember?  And then as fate would have it, I was sent to the same school as her to teach.  Besides being colleagues and friends, I think our special spiritual bond is something we have that I don’t share with many of my other friends.  Thank you

Fadelinah – Fada!  One of the friends who got me through my first year of teaching.  We were in a “gang” – 4 of us. I think without this group of friends, I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did.  We kept each other sane and never failed to make each other laugh especially Fada.  We were drawing partners – constantly doodling during staff meetings, making fun of other colleagues.  Our passion for hanging out and food is like none other.  I’ll never forget the overnight camp of confiding as I was falling asleep or the under-the-table crying sessions :).  We got pregnant at the same time and our little angels were born 6 days apart – a bond I will only ever have with you Fada :).  Thank you

Sabariah – A short friendship we had as she left teaching to follow her dreams in Australia.  Part of the “gang’ – she was part of that time in my life when I most needed that sanity.  The laughs, the times we’ve shared is something I’ll never forget – and ofcourse, the flashing!  Scarred for life.  Thank you.

Lalitha – A special human being is all I can say.  Well no, I can say a lot more.  We became friends when she invited me to change desks and sit next to her at the school we taught at – not because she wanted me there but because she didn’t want someone else to sit there hehe.  And if ever there was a moment written by God, that was it.  She became the sister I never had.  Our friendship slowly grew – with mostly me confiding everything in her.  She’s a woman I cherish, a woman I admire – a woman of strength, a woman of incredible beauty.  I am so glad that I can be there for her as she always has been for me.  Thank you

Divya – My kutty girl.  Yes, she’s the youngest friend in my life.  Not even 3 years of age, she has become my best, littlest friend.  She is with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  She’s even sitting on my lap as I type this.  She sees me when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m worried, when I’m excited, when I’m angry.  She kisses my “ouch-es” and says “All better Amma”, she hugs me for no reason, she makes me laugh when I’m sad, she celebrates with me when I’m happy – although, I must say, she doesn’t always provide a listening ear when I’m telling her my problems (especially if her cartoons are on) – but she makes me want to be a better person – someone she will want to look up to.  Thank you my baby.

Stella – The wife of a colleague and also the colleague of Elan.  We haven’t really had a chance to get to know each other better.  But she is the first female friend here that made settling into life in Boise a little easier.  With our common background of being Singaporean, we’ve been able to share some moments when feeling a little Singapore-sick.  Thank you.

Tharangini and Gayathri – Two friends I’ve made here in Boise who belong to the same spiritual family that I do.  They’ve made life so much easier with their friendship, advice and tips.  And with the spiritual bond that we have, I have been able to share another side of me with them that I wouldn’t be able to share with many.  Thank you

Parika – Even though we met more than a year ago for the first time, it wasn’t until some time last year that we actually started hanging out.   She’s such a warm, bubbly person that you can’t help but feel relaxed around her.  Meeting her and her little one once a week really provides me with that short time of sanity – a time  for the kids to play and a time for us to just relax.  We even find the time to meet for movies now.  She makes life for me less lonely than it would be when one moves to a new place to live.  Sometimes when I make a new friend, I wish I could skip that “getting to know” part and just get straight to the “good friends” part, but I guess life just isn’t like that.  The birth of a new friendship.  Thank you.

And then there are my blogging friends who fall into a whole different, amazingly special category.  People I have never met and may never even meet.  And yet, people I share things with – emotions with.  Sometimes I wonder, is this even possible?  A bond formed with an uknown person.  Is it even real?  And then, my blogging friends answer my questions every day with their care, concern and friendship.

Julie – Her blog was one of the very first few blogs I started following.  It was featured by wordpress one day and I got hooked with her and her beautiful family.  The kind person that she is – she even agreed to help me to edit a photo I needed for a presentation I was working on for my Mum – imagine that!  Helping someone you’ve never met.  Thank you.

Laksh – Her blog was the first one I read that was written by someone of the Indian race.  I was so excited to find it as she was not only Indian but also living here in the U.S.  Her blog has led me into the world of Indian bloggers.  I have even become comfortable enough to email her for advice on certain things.  I continue following her blog because she sounds like a kind, down-to-earth person.  Thank you.

Spillay – To be honest, I have no idea how I came to her blog – it may have been through Laksh’s.  But somehow, I felt and still feel this bond with her.  Like I almost know that if we lived close to each other, we would be friends who met up and talked.  And strangely enough, in a long complicated way, we share more than that bond – she even knows my relatives.  Yikes! 🙂  Thank you.

Anne – Like spillay, I can’t remember how I came to her blog, but I got hooked.  Sometimes following a blog is almost like watching a movie or reading a book – you can so involved with the lives of the bloggers that you just have to keep knowing what is happening.  And like with Anne, now we have even become friends who can “chat” and complain to each other when we’ve had a down day!  Thank you.

Mitr – I don’t know Mitr very well.  But I follow her blog because she always writes though-provoking posts and sometimes, I just need that shove in the right direction to recharge that very graying matter in my head.  Thank you.

Apar – The special person who even got me going on this post today.  The special person who gave me this “award” even without really knowing me or having met me.  I follow her blog because I want to know how she’s doing.  She’s been through so much in life – and I admire her for strength, a strength I think even she doesn’t know she has at times.    Thank you.

There are so many quotations on friendship that I could use.  But I think I’ll just define it myself.  Friends are the angels who sweep into your life when you least expect it.  Some are there for a short time, some are there for a long time.  They perform different roles in your life at different times.  Some serve to be your reality check, some encourage you no matter how silly a thing you may do, some sit silently and listen, some drag you out to party when you’re down, not allowing you to feel self-pity for a moment – it doesn’t matter what role they play.  To me, a friend is God’s way of telling me “I can’t be there right now, but here’s one of my angels I’m sending over to be with you”.  Thank you.

An OX, a REINDEER and a couple of HORSES

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It was another cold day today.  20ºF (-7ºC) at noon today!  There’s nothing like a warm meal on a cold winter’s day.  So it was the good old potato pirattal, spinach and sweet & sour tofu with rice today.

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 It was a busy weekend!  Kicking off the weekend was my baking fest – well, just me – getting ready for our Chinese New Year potluck dinner on Saturday night.  We were invited by our Singaporean Chinese friends to usher in the Year of the Ox.  So instead of cooking something I normally cook, I decided that I would try out some Singaporean dessert recipes – what better time would there be anyway!  So the 3 victims?

           Pandan Chiffon Cake                 Kueh Lapis (Layered Cake)

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                                             Pandan Kaya Cake

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The verdict?  The chiffon cake turned out pretty well except for the slightly Halloween look.  It tasted good!  The layered cake tasted right but didn’t look right – I couldn’t quite get the layers going.  The Pandan Kaya cake – too rich!  So I still have a piece of the Kaya cake in my fridge while the rest was wiped out 😀

Enough said about the cakes.  We had a pretty nice time at the dinner.  It was really nice and comforting having some Singaporean food, and lah-ing away in some good, old Singlish (Singapore English).  The little munchkin ofcourse had a great time racing around the room we had our dinner in with the other kids.  Even the oldies had some fun taking turns at pool, foosball, table tennis and air hockey.                                           

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                                                                 The fathers having their fun 🙂

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                  Check out my Incredible Hulk cake in the top of the 2nd picture

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                                                                        Everyone doing the “Low Hei”

 On Sunday, after having lunch with some friends, some of us decided to head off for some sledding with the kiddos.  There wasn’t as much snow on this hill as there was last year but we still had a lot of fun.  The kind reindeer daddies dragged the kids up the hill and zoomed down many times  – while the mummies came down the hill a couple of times with the kids too.

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            The munchkin and her nemesis 🙂                                                      3 of us 🙂

Since we came back so late on Sunday, we couldn’t go for the walk I had promised Divya.  She’s been wanting to go and see the “horsies”.  So the “really smart” me decided to take her on Monday for a walk in the afternoon.  With the glorious blue skies and the sun shining, can you blame me?  It turns out – it was about 22ºF (for my Singaporean friends, that’s -6ºC, YES!  NEGATIVE!)  The walk started out wonderfully.  Although possibly a little cold, Divya still stopped to smell the roses beat the snow off the bushes and even pose for me.  Once we reached the horses’ enclosure, I really started to believe that it was our lucky day!  The kind horses actually made the effort to amble over to us – possibly hoping that we had brought them some snacks in this cold weather.  Divya definitely has an affinity for animals.   

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She whispered to this horse……(can you see her at the side?)

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And this is what happened 🙂 [my own little horse whisperer].  I whispered to the same horse………        

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and this is what happened…..     

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It’s a little over-exposed, but can you see that little figure standing by the fence?

The tips of our fingers were beginning to fall off, so as the responsible person in this relationship, I decided that we should start taking that walk back.  The journey was very slow, but we were getting there.  I was thinking to myself how lucky it was that I had decided to wear my warm cotton tights under my track pants, mentally congratulating the Fruit of the Loom team for coming up with such a perfect design and gently prodding Divya along and suddenly, plop!  I was on my knees and hands checking out the paved path!  Quickly trying to untangle the laces of one shoe that had gotten stuck on the other while glancing around for any witnesses, then tying the laces up again and putting my gloves back on, I was convinced that not a soul, except that squirrel on the grass, had seen what happened.  So, standing up proud and cool, and refusing to check the condition of my knees, I was about to continue the walk when Divya suddenly shouted out “Oh No!  Amma fall down!”  Yes!  Bad English and all.  And one thing that girl isn’t, is quiet.  She even needs to shout out her numbers when she counts from 1 to 10.  So just imagine her volume.  I think it was a delayed shock!  But then, she ran over, kissed my leg and said “All better!”  Now, how could your heart not melt?  I said to her “Thank you” and then we headed back home at a quick speed, with my hood now on (Hey!  I had to conceal my identity at all costs!)

A day later, with 2 scraped knees, a sore right knee and back, I’m doing ok.  It was still a wonderful walk – Divya was thrilled she could touch the horse’s nose.

Oh My Goch!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 20th of January really should be the first day for resolutions in the New Year, don’t you think?  After all, it takes about 4 days after Christmas to get over the Christmas hype – which includes the shopping, which I’ve found out, is MUCH BETTER than the Black Friday sales.  So that takes us to the 29th of December – which is the time one needs to start planning for the New Year’s Eve Countdown.  New Year’s Eve is spent celebrating and bidding farewell (gleefully) to yet another year of unaccomplished resolutions.  In all good faith, one can just not be asked to start a resolution on the first day of the New Year – I know I wouldn’t want to put down my glass of Jim Beam when the clock strikes 12 if I were crazy enough to make a no-drinking-anymore resolution! 🙂

The next few weeks are then usually spent correcting yourself constantly when you write 2008 2009.  That brings us up to the inauguration of the first black President of the United States.  Now, if that isn’t a day to start your resolutions, then I don’t know when is.  Wasn’t it just amazing yesterday?  Watching Obama take the oath and then make his speech.  Personally, I was much more moved in November with his victory speech.  Nonetheless, I still felt those goosebumps on my skin and tears in my eyes.  To truly understand this feeling, one would have to be able to identify with the feeling with being a minority one’s whole life.  Well, race aside, it doesn’t hurt that this man has had the ability to inspire the old, the young, the black, the white, the green…. – but now, the time has come for him to show what he is truly made of.

And on a lighter note, besides the 2nd toe on my right foot that hasn’t seen a very good New Year so far, the New Year has gone by so far without much incident.  Why is it whenever you have an injured part on yourself, that SAME part keeps getting injured again?  Do you know what I mean?  An already injured toe usually gets knocked or stepped on again!

As for resolutions, I’m a chronic resolution maker.  It’s a sickness, I tell you!  Making those damn resolutions and actually believing you’re going to keep them.  This is probably the first year I’ve broken that tradition.  I’m going to just take each day as it comes.  Ofcourse it doesn’t hurt to set some short-term goals, but in general, it’s going to be just day by day.

And in the little munchkin’s favourite words OM MY GOCH (Oh My God), it’s 2009!  And I’m back!