Monday, December 31, 2012

End of year thoughts

Pic from FB

I received this in an email earlier and decided to re-read it.  Then I decided to share it since it's that time when people begin to look back and then ahead.  So I hope you will like it as much as I did.  I wish I knew who the author is to give him or her credit!

Hat tip to Pat for this one!

As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend... 

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60's &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love... I will. 

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old. 

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect. 

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. 

So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore...I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever.

But while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about 
what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it). 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Real Christmas Card

Quite unexpectedly, we found a Christmas Card in our postbox.  We didn't send out any and certainly, didn't expect to find a greeting card, all the way from Colorado.

Just like in the movie "Inception", there was a card, within the card, for Mom.

It was a surprise, to say the least.  But stranger things have been known to happen.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Impressing others... Nah!!!

Somehow Christmas has become a time (for some) to impress rather than to express love and kindness.

People rush out to buy the most expensive bag, shoes, clothes, toys and whatever else.  

The bigger the tree, the better they think it is!

The more lights, the brighter they think it is!

Could it be a masquerade instead?  I can only wonder.

I know there are some people who didn't even put up a Christmas tree in their home or room.  Yet, I think they know more about the spirit of Christmas than those that did.

I love Christmas and everything that comes with it but I want to keep the right spirit of giving and forgiving during this wondrous time of the year.

I think it's good to sit back and ponder over the immeasurable value of our family and friends.  Thankfully, I am blessed with so many good people in my life.  I don't have to think too hard or look too far.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I just love Christmas!

To all those who have come by to check my blog, I'm sending you a special wish for Christmas and to thank you for your virtual company.

I hope you'll continue to visit and read what SFGEMS will be up to in 2013.

My only thought today is that I love Christmas.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Another Anniversary

Pic from FB

Yes, it's another anniversary celebration.  For as long as we've known each other, we've never been apart on this day.  It's why we chose this date to tie the knot.  

Since we used to live in different countries, getting married on this day meant being able to celebrate all future anniversaries together as it is the eve of Christmas day.  Now we no longer have to worry about juggling vacation dates as I have moved to Singapore for good.

Stephen and I are not the same!  We are so different.  Yet we are like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit so well.

He loves the cold.  I don't.
He loves the outdoor.  I prefer to stay indoors.
He prefers bland food.  I love curries and spicy meals.
He doesn't like gravy.  I do.
He can get up at the crack of dawn.  I prefer to sleep in.
He loves babies and children.  I gravitate to old people.
He loves comedy.  I love science fiction.
He loves shows with thrills and spills. I go for drama and dialogue.
He drinks his coffee hot.  I like it at room temperature.
He loves country music.  I love rhythm and blues.
He is a breakfast kind of person.  I'm a morning coffee gal.

We are so different!

When they say that unlike poles attract, this is probably true for us. We are such opposites that we complement each other.  As they say, "You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry the person who you cannot live without."

Wouldn't life be boring if both of us were the same?  I am sure it would be.
So Happy Anniversary to us.
We have earned another stripe!

We're both feeling wonderful.  Add Christmas eve to this for a magical 24 hours.  

Just when you think it's over, it's Christmas day.  Nice!

All pics lifted from Facebook

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Keep calm ...

Pic from FB

I need to keep calm because I'm not ready.  I keep telling myself there's time but the invitations are pouring in, some gifts are still unwrapped and I don't know what we are going to do yet.
B R E A T H E!

Okay, feel just a  tad better.  LOL

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The little things

Pic from FB

It's hard to remember this when everyone gets caught up in the Christmas rush.  It's hard not feeling swept away by it all.

Last night, around midnight, I was in an aircraft between Malaysia and Singapore.  It was a beautiful night and all the lights made a spectacular panorama of colours.  I still get excited to see the beauty of it all.

With Stephen beside me, holding my hand, it seemed like a near perfect moment, up in the sky, feeling safe and loved.

Then we landed and headed for food.  As we sat down with our meal at about 1.00 am in Changi Airport, talking and going over the highlights of our short break in Kuala Lumpur, I realised that these are the little things that I enjoy.  

That quiet moment, when most of Singapore is probably asleep, and we are together and looking out for each other.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas kind of heart

Pic from FB

I wasn't going to blog anymore because I just didn't have time since arriving to Kuala Lumpur two days ago.  All the pre-written and scheduled ones had been posted until yesterday.

However, today we met up with my cousin, Gareth.  We had not seen him in a really long time. Anyway, we agreed to have tea together and he came with his three sons (Josef, Damon and Bryan).  

They were meeting Stephen for the first time.  They didn't even remember me.  But, as is always the case, especially for us Asians, they only needed to be told that we are all related.  It's enough for them.  No questions asked about how or why or what.  Nice!

The highlight of the entire conversation was when Gareth said that he had bought the boys a PlayStation for Christmas.  BUT instead of making them wait until the 25th of December, he has allowed them to have a go at it already.  His reasoning is simple.  They will only have a week with it if they opened it on Christmas day.  Now they will be able to enjoy it during their holidays.

How cool is that?  

In my mind, this is a clear cut case of opening our hearts.  His, theirs and also mine.  

A heartwarming story, this was for me!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Angel in Heaven

Most people put an angel on top of their Christmas tree.  Some put a star but this picture from a Facebook page called "Whisper of the Heart" encapsulates what I feel.

Unwittingly, I've never had an angel on top of my Christmas tree.  It's always been a star or a poinsettia.

Now I can take comfort in the fact that my angel is in heaven.  It's  a lovely thought to have during this lovely Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In loving memory of Grandpa Tomas

Pic from FB

It's my maternal grandfather's birthday today.  He would have been 103 if he hadn't died on 12 August 2003.  I was always his pet.  I remember growing up with everyone telling me this.

His last years had not been good but he was always a jovial and happy man.  He thought me to play checkers and I had never won any game with him.  Even when he was old and frail, his mind was still sharp.  It gave him great pleasure to play and win.  

When he died, I didn't feel much sadness.  He was so old and already bedridden.  His only pleasure was watching TV and visits from the family.  I think the inactivity hurt him more than the physical disability.

He lived through two world wars and he had a life filled with love and laughter.  That's how I will always remember him.

Today I'm thinking of him and I'm missing him, especially.
Pic from FB
Horatio Tomas Sr

Birth: 19 December 1909
Death: 12 August 2003

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Seeing is believing

Yesterday we met up for coffee cum chat with our friend, Jerome who is almost 100% blind.  His vision is deteriorating but he manages his life in the best way that he can.  When we took this photo, Stephen said that I would surely write about it in my blog.  At that time, I didn't know if I would or not.

However, as we parted, some ideas formed in my head and the words Jerome said haunted me.  He said, "seeing is believing and this is me, who cannot see".

I wonder which is worse, to be born blind or to become blind later.  It's a question I pondered over.

Jerome was not born blind.  Over the last years, he had begun to lose his sight, little by little.  He can still manage to see vague shadows but mostly he lives a world with only blurred images.

I watched Jerome as he held his cellular phone to his ear to listen to the sounds that each key makes. With the No. 5 as the home key, Jerome is able to easily use his Nokia phone.  The sounds made by each key aids him to locate people he wants to call.  He's devised a simple system for his own convenience.  He is amazing.  

There is no "I give up" attitude in him.  He's a caregiver for his aged parents together with a live-in helper.  It's not an easy task but he has taken on the job.  Again, I say he is amazing.

How many of us would have his tenacity to face life and make the best out of it, if put in the same situation?  It's not a question many of us would want to have to face.  

This leads me to ask myself this question here

I can only hope that people would be as impressed with me as I am with Jerome Donaldson Vaz.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside....

It's been raining here almost everyday.  When all the windows are shut, with socks on my feet and sitting indoors, I could imagine that it was, indeed, snowing outside.  It's that cold.

There are many who succumb to the advertisements that if there isn't any snow, it isn't Christmas.  Silly of them but what can we do but smile.

Just last week, Stephen told me this story and these are his words in bold print here:

"Some people think or feel that it isn't Christmas without snow. Well, they have got it wrong. Many years ago, when I was working on the oil rigs, I sang Christmas carols while going about my work during the Christmas season. One of co-workers, who was from Australia, said to me, "Heh, what do you know about Christmas. There is no snow in Singapore."

He was from Perth. I said, "Well, it's summer time in Perth, so what do you know about Christmas?".

So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grown up Christmas Wish List

From FB (W're all random here)

Ever since a long while, I have wanted to do something for Christmas.  Not for me but for someone or a group that needed it.

We've done acts of charity without advertising it, as should be the case.  Stephen always feels that we should just do what we can and be happy that others will benefit.

But this year, I want to share about what we once did, as it may inspire others out there.

The best thing we've ever done was to organise a KFC Christmas meal for the staff and the 27 children in the Infant Jesus Home in Clementi.  As always, one good deed sets off another and the person who was co-ordinating this with us, offered to sponsor the drinks.  As the age range of the children were from 3 - 18 years of age, I had requested for 'milo' instead of the carbonated drinks.    Hence, the person at KFC volunteered to sort that out.

What we found out later was that one of the children who was from the Home had returned to celebrate her birthday there.  She had bought a cake to share with the people who were the only 'family' she knew.  The surprise was that the Christmas treat became a birthday celebration also.  The co-ordinator informed us of this and, of course, it made us feel blessed to have been able to do it.

That was the year when Stephen and I decided that it's not really  about decorating the house or buying new clothes.  We no longer go all out with spending money on ourselves.  It's about making memories for the needy out there.  Even if it's only one person, it already counts!

Don't look too far!
Just look at your own family circle!
Who could use a little help?
Reach out this year.
It'll make you feel so good!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers for today. :(

Pic from FB (see URL)

Christmas Traditions

Pic from FB
I know that many families have their Christmas traditions.  I just realised that I don't follow any.  I think that I abandoned all these traditions, a long time ago, without even thinking too hard about them.

As a child, we grew up following certain things and if we didn't do them, we'd be breaking the customs adopted and adapted by our elders.  Somehow, I didn't get entangled in any of these.  I found them to be unnecessary and more to do with rituals that have no meaning.

After all, I figure that we shouldn't be slaves to any traditions.  We should do whatever works best at that time or for that moment.

This week, two people said this to me, "Go with the flow".  I like that.  It's how I have lived my life.  It's also how I've always celebrated Christmas. 

I'm not bound by any tradition except to be happy and to enjoy each day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What's under the Christmas tree?

Pic from FB

It's not what's under the tree, anymore.  Not for me, anyway.  I've long gotten over the "I want this or that".  Now when I need something, I get it.  

I hardly ever really want something now.  Maybe it's because I have all that I need.

Several years ago in our area, we used to see a little boy named Jordan.  Stephen always gave Jordan all his coins.  Very often, Jordan would say, "I have enough".  Until today, Stephen and I remember Jordan innocently saying this.  When he's older, we'll tell him that it made such an impact on us.

We often think of him and smile when either of us say these three words.  Mostly it is me saying it because if I like something, Stephen will ask me to buy it in every colour.  All I have to say is "I have enough".  We'll both smile and there isn't any need for more words.

How many of us have enough?  

How many of us know when we have enough?

We should think of this before we buy anything that we don't need, especially if we have enough.  Especially at this time of the year when we are tempted to buy things that we want and not what we need.

Today, thanks to Jordan, I know I have enough and I am happy.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I love Christmas!

Pic from WWW
You can expect more of this since I'm in the Christmas mood.  It's raining heavily outside and it's cold!!!!!  I'm imagining that it's snowing.  

No, wait, it snowed in Toa Payoh!  That's my block in the middle!  
Thanks to Stephen for the App!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


So how many of you out there knows someone celebrating a birthday on 12 December 2012 (12.12.12).  I do.  

As a matter of fact, I know someone who celebrated a birthday on 11 November 2011 (11.11.11).  She turned 80 years old then.

I also know three people born on the tenth of October (10.10.10) so on that day, it would have been a special occasion.

I am also sure many couples are going to want to be married on this date.  Just like when it was 8 August 2008 (08.08.08).  Incidentally, I know two people who tied the knot on that day.  From what I heard on the news yesterday, 12.12.12 is going to be another busy day for nuptials.
~ ~ ~
We weren't supposed to be with the 'special girl' celebrating this birthday but as fate would have it, she'll be in Singapore.  Some surprises are in store for her.  Nothing fancy but special, all the same.

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y

Double G is for Double Grace
 and 'grace' means Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas is love!

Picked this up from the net, somewhere.
It's so cute.  I had to put it up here.

Christmas is all about love and I love this.

(If anybody knows where this is from, let me know so I can give due credit.  Thanks.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

A day of family, friends, food and fun

Just when you think life doesn't get any better, something like this comes along.  My Uncle Maurice (of the Singapore Robinsons Shopping Centre fame*) invited us to join him for this Carnival.

We didn't know what to expect but it turned out to be a lovely reunion with some family members and especially for Stephen with meeting up with old friends.

The highlight of the whole event was when my cousin, Gerard Keasberry (he's half Soliano), sang on stage.  Here's the video clip,  if you want to see it.  The song is "Every breath you take".

And, of course, a plethora of food, food, food!

Years from now, I will look back on this blog post and remember the happiness I felt.

Here's one with the much beloved Maurice Soliano.

*Mauricio Soliano is one of the oldest and longest serving members of the Robinsons family.  He began work there in 1959 and still carries on with his duties as 'ambassador'.  

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Since I came to Singapore, I've cut my hair about 9 times.  From the long hairstyle that I had sported for the least 30 years, I shortened it to just around my shoulder, in March.

In April, I went another half-inch shorter.  In May, another half-inch and in June, another.  Well, you get the picture. 

Finally, I decided to go really, really short or as I told an old friend, I have the "Jane Lee" style (something she would understand).

Until yesterday, friends were still asking me "Why?".

I don't really know why but my answer is usually, "Why not?".

Many think that something happened but really it was just a matter of practicality.

I started walking (exercising) and washing my long hair became a chore.  Cutting it shorter made it easier to manage.  Now it's fuss-free except for a trim every six weeks.

Do I miss my long hair?  Sometimes.  If I want, I can let it grow again.  I doubt that I will.

It was Stephen who encouraged me to do it.  I think he was tired of my lamenting each time I washed my hair.  However, at my age, it's no longer what anybody wants for me, it's more of what I want for myself.

Most people say I look better now.  Younger even!  Of all the adjectives I've heard, I think I like "sassy" best of all.  The dictionary defines that as "boldly smart" or "distinctively smart and stylish".  I like it. 

No regrets.  I like how I look now.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

My children can make me cry!

Pic from FB

As I get older, I find that the tears come more easily.  When the children say something loving and sweet, I feel like crying.  When they come to visit, I want to cry.  When they go off, again I feel like crying.  Why?  I don't really know.  

Today, one of them shared a video on Facebook and when I saw it, I was so moved by it.  

Then she added this comment "We are not Olympians. But the fact that we all love and appreciate you, is enough to show you that you have succeeded in the hardest and toughest job in the world!"

Snif snif.  

To all my children, 

Remember that I am so grateful to have you all in my world (tears included).

Pic from FB

Monday, December 03, 2012

The moral of the story is....

A couple of months ago, Stephen and I went to Labrador Park.  Again.

That's Stephen walking way ahead because I usually stop to take pictures of the leaves and the trees or whatever catches my fancy.
Usually, we walk to the end of this boardwalk and then turn left and keep going until we reach Harbour Front. It's a good long walk and a nice one because of the lovely sea breeze and, of course, the amazing view.  In the picture below, you can see a bit of that path, in the foreground.  

I am standing on the right side of the boardwalk now.  It was our third trip there and we decided to explore the other long and winding path.

One of my friends took a 3D view 'walk'
through Labrador Park (after he saw my posting on FB)
and Stephen was captured at that moment in the picture.

Here are more pictures taken from the 'right' path
 while looking at the 'left' path

That's a glimpse of Stephen on the far right!

Again, that's Stephen on the far left,
always ahead and leading!

Then he saw this!  He got excited.  I got curious!  Casemate!!!!  Tunnels!!!!!  Uphill????  Wei, I have to see this!

So we headed that way.  Here we go.....

The first flight of steps.
 He checks to see if I'm right behind him.

Second flight - I'm going to catch you!

Third flight - no problem.  I'm doing okay.

Fourth flight - Where'd he go??

Fifth flight - Oh, there he is!!!!

6th level is flat - Praise the Lord!
I'm huffing and puffing by now.

Stopped to admire the patterns on the pathway.
(and to catch my breath)

7th flight - Not steep but my knees, oh, my knees!!!!
Where's Stephen?
He's so fit that 7 flights are nothing to him.

8th flight downhill - Whoa!  Happy me!

And we're on top of the hill and it's a gentle gradient now,
that is good for the heart to return to it's normal beat.
Stephen in the far end of the road (not very clear).

One of the secret tunnels (now sealed) seen along the way down.

At the casemate, the canon is almost completely hidden from view by the trees.  Stephen is having a look at the beach.

And, of course, one big smile for the camera!
Yup, that's sweat!  It was hard work getting up those steps.
We had a tough workout but we made it.

When I saw this picture (below) on Facebook, I remembered my climb at Labrador Park to see the Casement Tunnel.
Pic from Facebook.

And the moral of the story is ....

You enjoy what you work for       :-)