Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween favourites!

My favourite picture - Simplicity is best!
Pic from here

My favourite video - Outstanding lighting (and music)!

Just thinking of them...

Pic from Facebook

Just thinking of the victims and their families a day after Hurricane Sandy. 

Just thinking of the people who work to make things right for their loved ones.

Just thinking of friends who are going through rough times.  

Just thinking of people struggling to pick themselves up.

Just thinking of them...

It's funny that we can be affected by what is happening on the other side of the globe.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Pic from FB

As Hurricane Sandy reaches the shores of the US Eastern coastline, the news comes trickling in about what people are doing and how they are bracing themselves for the onslaught of the wind and rain.  

It's times like this when I wonder if people realise that what we have and making the best of it is really all that matters.

It took a fire, the other night, to make me think about what I have and what I need.  

Now when I see this life-threatening and life-changing storm for so many, I am again reminded that I don't need to have it all.

What I have is really all I need.

I pray that this will pass quickly for those affected.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Not a cloud in the sky

View from Toa Payoh Swimming Complex

We went swimming, again, earlier in the week.  The pool wasn't crowded and it remained that way until the time we left.   While waiting for Stephen to finish his laps, I changed earlier so that I could take some pictures and videos of him swimming.

When I saw this picture, these words came to mind "not a cloud in the sky" and then the song hit me.  

Such a feelin's comin' over me 
There is wonder in 'most ev'ry thing I see 
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream

Everything I want the world to be 
Is now comin' true especially for me 
And the reason is clear, 
You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen 

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation 
And the only explanation I can find 
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around 
Your love's put me at the top of the world 

Somethin' in the wind has learned my name 
And it's tellin' me that things are not the same 
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze 
There's a pleasin' sense of happiness for me 

There is only one wish on my mind 
When this day is through I hope that I will find 
That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me 
All I need will be mine if you are here 

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation 
And the only explanation I can find 
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around 
Your love's put me at the top of the world 

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation 
And the only explanation I can find 
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around 
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Friday, October 26, 2012

Around or Inside?

Pic from FB page

It's amazing that all the time we are told that if we surround ourselves with beautiful things, we will be happy. 

I agree that the happiest people are the ones that don't depend on what's happening around them.

The happiest people are oblivious to their surroundings and don't care who they're with because they don't really matter.

They feel the happiness in their tummy.  It keeps them full and satisfied and contented.

It might be different for you but this is how it is for me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why wait? Why hesitate?

Pic from Facebook

Somewhere along the way, I learnt not to hesitate when it comes to saying "I love you" to those I love.  I know it's a great habit to cultivate.  I also know that it makes many of my loved ones feel a tad uncomfortable when I say it. So many are not used to it, especially new-found friends.  

When I was working, I used to say to my colleagues, "Tell me you love me and I'll tell you some great news". Hahahaha!  Some of them got used to it and learnt to say it easily but some still couldn't bring themselves to say those three words.  

Love is not always sexual.  Sometimes you can love someone for who they are and it stops there.  It doesn't go beyond.  Only the corrupt mind sees more than what is pure and natural.

This year, many people died.  I know that when they did, many would have missed the chance of saying "I love you".  

I am sure that I make some people roll their eyes or snigger when Stephen and I are lovey dovey with each other.  But my philosophy is "Why wait?  Why hesitate?".

Tell the people you love them while they are living.  Show the people you love them, while they can enjoy it.  For when they are gone, there is just no more chance.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alone but never lonely

Pic from FB

Stephen used to say this about his life before me, "I was alone but never lonely".  He's just one of those guys that finds happiness along the way.  He doesn't sweat the small stuff and wakes up smiling and goes to sleep in two seconds.  He says it is his clear conscience.

He has faced most of the adversities in his life alone.  Yet, the strong tenacious spirit in him is what kept him moving forward.

We don't always spend all our time doing things together.  Sometimes he does his own thing and I do mine.   Then there are days when we are just so lazy to go out.  A day, like today, when it's raining and cool, and we get to stay home, totally alone, and be truly ourselves (just like it says in the picture).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Who's counting?

When I first began blogging on 18 September 2008 in STEEST, I found that there were a multitude of sites to check on visits and views.  I didn't know which would suit me and as I discovered them, I kept adding. Some had interesting information that gave me details of the visitors.  Some just gave me a view of what people were looking for when they stumbled upon my blog.

When I started SFGEMS, I was no longer interested.  I just wanted to write.  What I did not know is that Blogspot keeps a record of the actual pageviews!

It's a nice surprise to see that STEEST has surpassed 100,000 pageviews.

My new blog, which began on 18 July 2012, being only 3 months old, has already garnered over 6000 pageviews.

Who's counting?  Not me.  Not anymore.  

More importantly, who's reading?  I only know a handful of them!

Looking back on everything, I just want to take this moment to say

to the people who encouraged me to write

Pic from the web

Friday, October 19, 2012

It takes a fire...

Pic from Facebook

So last night there was a fire in our block.  I had just taken a shower and was curious about the noises I heard in the distance.  People were shouting and running.  At first, I thought it was the guys playing sepak takraw across from where I live.  Then I smelt something like burnt plastic.  I opened the front door and there was smoke billowing from the awning below.  

The whole block was evacuated.  The fire was isolated to that one apartment on the ground floor.  After about 30 minutes, everyone was allowed to go back home.  

As the fire was raging, I stood among the people who are my neighbours and I wondered about them.  Did the fire make them stop to think about their mortality?  Did the fire change their attitude about the material things in life?  I wondered because I thought about these things.

I wondered about the people who love me and who would mourn me when I died.  I wondered about the only things that mattered when I had to leave the house: my husband and my handphone!  I took nothing else.  Both of us together and safely out of the house was all that I needed.  The handphone because I needed to inform my family that I was safe, if necessary.

I saw some people with suitcases.  What did they have inside those bags?  I can only wonder.

It takes a fire to make me realise that I don't need much to be happy.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stars at night

Pic from Facebook

I've been down with a cold and a slightly itchy throat.  As usual, I don't take anything because I hate going to the doctor and I prefer not to take any medication unless I have a fever.

Since I believe that this will pass, I take the opportunity to rest and do nothing.  I feel that if anything is going to help, it would be that sense of not needing to do anything.  

There was a time when I used to drag myself to work even when I had a fever, bad cough and cold or whatever.  I know many working moms do this.  Now when I look back at how resilient I was, I can feel a sense of strength that I sometimes forget I have.

These days I don't need to report to anybody or be anywhere and it's a luxury I don't take for granted.  I only have to worry about myself and getting well. 

And just to prove that I haven't lost my sense of humour even when I'm sick, here are some "knock knock" jokes, taken from the world wide web:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Atch who? 
Sorry, I didn't know you had a cold.

Knock knock
Who's there? 
Eddie who? 
Eddie body home? 

Knock knock
Who's there? 
Booo who? 
Don't cry, its only a joke! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A reminder to myself

Pic from Facebook

Many people have said that I am a lucky person.  If Stephen is around, he'll always say, "She's not lucky, she's blessed".  Besides, I don't believe 100 % in 'luck'.  I think we choose our path and make the best of life. 

Yes, I've been through some tough moments but there were always good people along the way to help me get back on track.  For me, it's not about the road traveled, it's where we are now that matters.

I am in the 'autumn' of my life and I finally get it.

Stephen is right, "I am blessed".  I am happy and healthy.  I have family and friends who love me.  It's not luck at all.  It's a blessing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween fever in Singapore

How did this start?  I'd guess from pubs and clubs celebrating Halloween.  Now stores are selling all things related to Halloween from tiny pieces to full adult size costumes.  I think the only thing I like about it would be the colours: orange and black do make for a striking combination.

Took this from various shops in Singapore

Well, for everything cute, there is an equal number of ugly stuff.  I know that, in some countries, people go all out to decorate their homes with all the frightful things.  So I went browsing online and there appears to be an unspoken competition to see who can outdo the other.  Some people really spend time and waste money on this.  

I don't know if I would go to the extreme of painting my door (saw a picture of an orange door), fitting lights and fixing ugly creatures on my front porch and garden.  Maybe I could be tempted into putting some silhouettes in the window, in the spirit of Halloween.  I don't know.  Even this one is pretty creepy.

Pic from Pinterest

Perhaps something simple like this one might be more to my liking.  
Pic from Pinterest

Whatever it is, Halloween fever has hit Singapore!  There are theme parties everywhere and then it will be over.

Anyway, here's my early wish because once Halloween is over, it only means that Christmas is just around the corner.

Took this picture at FairPrice, Toa Payoh.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sunshine on my shoulder....

Yes, the famous John Denver song.  This was a favourite during the early 70s when I was just on the verge of becoming a teenager with all the angst and insecurity of growing up.  Listening to this always made me smile then and I realise that it still has the same effect today.

Now that I've no need to rush off to work in the morning, I find that I still wake up fairly early.  This has prompted me to go for a walkabout but only after my coffee and a light breakfast.  Exercising hasn't been my thing for many years. The old habits and negative thoughts that make me want to remain indoors are real demons in my head.  

Some people are addicted to exercise.  Of course, this is not me.  I still need to drag myself out the door even when I know that once I'm out, I'll be glad for the sunshine on my shoulders.

Since coming to Singapore in March this year, I've made a lifestyle change.  Exercise has become a part and parcel of my new regime.  I feel fitter and faster.  I've also managed to lose some weight *jumps in the air*.

I had a habit of thinking about life, people and all sorts of stuff while driving to and from work.  Now I do it when I am out walking around.  Even as new habits are being formed, some old habits are still hard to break.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Why I write...

pic from Facebook

I don't know when I began to think of all the stories locked up inside my head.  I wondered what would become of them if I didn't share them with anybody.  I suppose that some family member or friend would be able to recount an incident but it wouldn't be in my words nor from my perspective.

Some of the memories I've shared on STEEST about losing a husband and losing a child helped me to move on.   They also serve as a record of the events, from my point of view.

I don't know why I continue to write.  Some part of me believes that, in the distant future, my grandchildren may be curious enough to google my name and chance upon my blog and to read about me. It could also be that my son will have a piece of me, in cyberspace, when I am gone.  

Now that my grandmother is dead, I realise that there are so many things about her that I didn't know.  There are so many questions that I could have asked her, should have asked her but didn't think to do so.

While I am uncertain whether or not my descendants will even bother about me, I will, at least, know that a lot of my thoughts are in my blog.  If even one of them is curious, they'll be able to hear my voice.

They'll know bits and pieces about me that I wish I knew about my grandmother.  

And if Facebook still exists then, they'll see my project 366 of a photo a day for 2012.  I don't know yet if I will carry on with this project in 2013 and I'll decide on the last day of this year, that is, if the prophecies are all wrong and the world doesn't end this December!!!

pic from Facebook

If you are not my Facebook friend and you'd like to see the project, let me know and I might just send you the link!  :D

Monday, October 08, 2012

What old people like to say.......

It's very often that I hear old people say they would rather be at home than go to a Nursing Home.  Of course, it's understandable that no one wants to be removed from the family members and all the familiar trappings.

However, I wonder if these old people will be good patients at home and disciplined enough to follow a strict regimen when it is necessary.

It's always easy to say I would rather stay home rather than go to a Nursing Home because it's better for my mental well-being.  There is also the parent/child card played in this 'game' that says we should never abandon our folks after they have looked after us and sacrificed so much.

What about the caregivers?  Should children be forced into becoming caregivers when they don't have the resources or emotional strength to enforce rules upon their aged parents.

I don't know if I could be a caregiver and I wouldn't pretend that I could.  I am practical enough to know that the care given in a Nursing Home may lack the emotional comfort of home but it will get the job done for the good of the patient.

If my Mom were to tell me that she's hungry and I know that she has to watch her food, I'd not be happy controlling her food intake.

If she needs to watch how much water she drinks in a day, I don't know if I could say NO.  

If she helps herself to a sweet drink, I would be obliged to stop her.  This is not at all easy.

The easiest would be to get them to take their medicine.  But when you have to refuse them some of the basic things which healthy people take for granted, it can be a very difficult thing to do.

So I sit here and I wonder.

I wonder if all the old people who like to say that they don't want to go to a Nursing Home will be obedient if they are at home with their family.  Or will they be stubborn?

Will the children/caregivers be considered mean and cruel for limiting the water intake because of edema?

Will the children/caregivers be called wicked and selfish when meals have to be carefully proportioned because of diabetes?

Will the children/caregivers be condemned for serving bland food because of diet restrictions?

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  They will probably be called all sorts of names because people generally tend to take the side of the elderly.

Besides, it's so easy to sit in judgement of others when you don't face the situation yourself.

As I go so often to the Nursing Home, I am privy to a lot of the things that go on.  It is not the best place to be in but it is certainly the better place if the elderly person needs constant supervision.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sleeping in Singapore

Pic from Facebook
I used to be up by 6.15 am when I was working and only slept in when it was the weekend.  Now that I am retired, I can pretty much get up anytime I want.  

I do not sleep in everyday.  There are mornings when I am up by 7 am and fully rested so I get out of bed but if I've been watching a series on TV and get to bed late then I can also sleep on till 10 or even 11 am.  Most times I don't because I like walking in the mornings after my coffee and FB-ing.  

I know some people are up by 4.30 am or 5.30 am.  I hardly ever am up that early.  I think it is the best hour of sleep when all the world is quiet and peaceful.

I might be up by 6 am or 7 am but then I go right back to sleep.  What is there to wake up for?  I don't have any place to go to nor is there anything urgent to do.  It's a luxury that I am still enjoying. 

There are no kids or pets to worry about.  We only have ourselves to think about.  Sometimes Stephen and I laugh that there are no kids to worry about and I told him that it is the reward for having children early.  Now when they are all grown up, and we are still relatively young, we have a freedom that we almost forgot about.

Yet we look forward to the holidays that they choose to spend with us.  It is always wonderful to have them for those few days and to enjoy the love and laughter.  When they leave, they know they are loved and we lock all those memories to tide us over until they come again.

This, for me, is bliss.

Sleeping in Singapore is so different from KL now.  Here, there is no noise apart from the birds in the morning.  Thankfully, our home is situated away from traffic.  In KL, there is always the traffic that wakes me up.  Although the air-conditioning can drown out some of the sound, it disturbs the sleep pattern.  I never used to be bothered by it but now whenever I return to KL, it takes me at least a day to get accustomed to it.

It's more than eight months since I retired and I still haven't gotten bored with my new lifestyle.  Why am I writing this?  I want to remember today.  A year or two from now, I may come back to this post and remember where I was sitting and how I was feeling.  

What am I feeling?  I feel contented and satisfied with life.

pic from Facebook

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Write your own story...

I fell in love with this, the moment I saw it.  

pic from here

My blog is about writing my own story.  I just write what I think about as I make my way through the hours and minutes of every day.  

Oh, I could easily copy and paste or upload as I do on Facebook but then this blog wouldn't reflect the real me.  Facebook is just for sharing: beautiful pictures, reminders, quotes of wisdom and, of course, the jokes or cartoons to add humour to our otherwise sober existence.  While I have been doing that, I have found that others, so many others, have the same taste.    

I digress.  

My first step into writing online were comments I left on people's blogs.  It gave me a kick when there was a response.   Later, I realised that if I could write short sentences that expressed how I felt, I could definitely do better, if given the right platform.  Hence,  STEEST was born and later SFGEMS.

Anyway, the reality of life kicked in.  I found a word-for-word comment I posted on a then controversial topic had appeared elsewhere.  Someone pretended that it was what she wrote.  That person must have read my comment, liked it and used it. That person had stolen my comment!  I was slightly shocked.  Surely, it doesn't take a genius to know that if I'm following a story, I'll be browsing all sites and the probability of seeing my original comment used by someone else is very high!  However, it appears to be something common.  And they say, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".  Not!  If I like something some else had said, I'd just simply say so. It is as easy as that.  You have to give credit and you can't be lazy about it.

On another unrelated occasion, I found that an entire blog piece written by an Australian friend of mine had been copied and pasted, to another blog, by another person   I alerted my friend and left it to him to decide what he wanted to do. 

One thing I can boast about is that this blog is my OWN story with my OWN words albeit aided by pictures from the net, for which I give credit.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Autumn in Singapore

I love the colours of autumn.  I can be in sunny/rainy Singapore and still enjoy all the beauty and colours of autumn from other parts of the world.

People generously share their pictures on Facebook and Pinterest and it is truly a window to the season of autumn minus the chill in the air.  Googling can also get you to a myriad of jaw-dropping masterpieces that only mother nature can create.

I am always amazed at how easily people share all things that are beautiful.

If I want to have a 2D experience of autumn or any other season.  It is so easy to do.  Get online.  Anytime.  

Pic from here