Friday, November 30, 2012

Dear November

Dear November,

got so much done this month and I made great memories. 

What do I want to remember most?

*Prepping home for visits
*Shopping for Christmas stuff
*Esther arriving and spending a night with us.
*My girls coming for a short holiday here.
*Universal Studios for the second time.
*Boat Quay
*Clarke Quay
*China Town
*Orchard Road all decked out for Christmas
*Birthday celebration 
*Cycling along Pasir Ris Beach
*Getting caught in the rain
*Newborns (two grandnephews)
*Mom's last hospital appointment for this year

Yay!  Did I say Yay?

December, I'm so ready for you!

Love from

Thursday, November 29, 2012

9 months already...

If I had conceived 9 months ago, I could have had a baby right about now. It's funny how we measure our milestones by other events even when they have absolutely nothing to do with what we are celebrating.

What am I celebrating? Nine months of being official retired.

Pic from here

The first year is always dotted by the first month, the first trimester, half-year, nine months and, finally, the culmination of 12 months.

Since 2013 is not a leap year, my probation period will end at midnight on 28 February next year.  After that date, I shall consider myself to be a full-fledged retiree.

Those who know me felt that I wouldn't be able to switch from being a  full-time working wife/mom to doing nothing.  Heck, I love doing nothing.

What is the one word that can best describe my retirement so far?  


I cannot remember ever being happier than this.  All the sacrifices I have made, seem to have been worth it.

With the kids now all grown up and working, our life here is different.  But we've had them visit us at different times and we are so thankful for that.

Just yesterday, Stephen said that I should have retired earlier and come over here sooner.  I replied that there is a time and place for everything.

Guess what?  

This is, now, my time and my place.

Pic from FB

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect

I will never be accused of having a perfectly kept house.  Am I proud of this?  Of course!

I have always known that the best kept house cannot be a perfect home. Whether or not there are kids or pets, a house cannot be a home if "there is a place for everything and everything is in it's place."

As a mom, I've allowed my child to have his 'mess'.  As a wife, I've allowed my husband to leave things everywhere.  As a person, I've had my moments of cleaning and clearing which may be in equal proportion to many "bless this mess" moments.   

I'm good at camouflaging the clutter if I hear that there's a surprise visit on the horizon.  But when a push becomes a shove, I can be a genius at doing a thorough job.

Often I can surprise even myself, with the outcome of a space, in just a couple of hours.  Once I get in the mood, I can do wonders.  

At the end of the day, it all boils down to finding the balance between being perfect and imperfect.  I've been told that I'm perfectly imperfect.  And I like it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire....

Pic from here

When we were little, chestnuts were a rare treat for us.  Not only were they pretty expensive, they weren't sold all year round.

If the man came cycling by, my Mom would buy a packet and divide it among the four of us.  I clearly remember a time when my brother and I had 5 chestnuts each.  We sat across each other and looked at it and waited to see who would give in and eat the first one.  We literally considered it a form of entertainment, prying the  nut out and eating it.  We felt devastated if one turned out to be rock hard or burnt.  

Often I see these selling in the Toa Payoh Hub.  I have bought a packet and eaten everything by myself.  It isn't the same when you can have it all.  There is no thrill when you eat these alone.  Tasty or not, the whole idea of truly enjoying chestnuts is when it's shared.

Nice memory this brings today.  :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I dream of Jeannie and Larry

From FB

Facebook is showing all the posts that Actor Larry Hagman, TV's iconic villain J. R. Ewing of "Dallas," died on Friday.

Even though I was a fan of Dallas, I remember him better as Air Force Captain (later Major) Anthony Nelson, the 'Master' of the Genie.  The reason being that I was smitten by him in that role.  I was so young.  :)  I wanted to be a genie, too!

It only goes to show that he was such a great actor.  One who was able to make you love him and, later, hate him when he played the ruthless character in Dallas.

Although I knew he was almost thirty years older than I am, it was still a surprise to learn that he was 81.  May his soul rest in peace now.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

To love and be loved....

Pic from FB
To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

I'm really in the best position now to understand what this really means.  Before I guess I was just too busy being part of the rat race.  Although I knew what it meant to love and be loved, I didn't actually feel it.

Now I have all the time in the world to enjoy it better.  When earning a living gets in the way, it isn't easy to remember that the seconds, minutes and hours are ticking away.  We let moments slip by.

Over the last few months, Stephen and I have walked around Singapore.  For him, it is revisiting but for me, it's sightseeing.  Everything is still new to me.

This was just two nights ago on 22 November 2012 when we went to the area near the Singapore Flyer and walked from there to Marina Bay Sands.  The lights were so beautiful.  The night was lovely.

Yesterday we had an exciting outing by cycling along the beach in Pasir Ris.  We rented bicycles and, if not for the impending rain, we might have stayed till sunset.

Friday, November 23, 2012

In honour of my two girls

I live in a Housing Development Board (HDB) apartment here in Singapore.  So I choose to believe that I have a garden in front and out back that is taken care of by invisible people.  The grass is always cut and the place is always looking nice.  Flowers bloom all over and the trees look lush and green.  Walking out and about every time, gives me a sense of satisfaction that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Then last week, my two girls came to visit and when they left, I noticed two new plants.  The earth around it was still fresh.  Who came to put them there?  I wondered about it.  Was I so busy that I hadn't noticed?  Yes, I was out almost every day that the girls were here so I missed this.

Now that the girls have gone back, I have christened these two new plants 'Sha' and 'Vay'.  When I mentioned this to Stephen, he  immediately went to check them out.

Then he did the most unexpected thing!  He made me write their names so he could take these pictures.

Now when we are out, we can see these new plants. I am sure they will grow into beautiful trees.  

This morning when we passed by, he wanted to take a picture so that we could compare the height of the trees and see their progress. 

I'm guessing we'll be taking lots of other pictures as they mature into strong, tall and shady trees.  Already they are taller than he is!!!  

By the way, I just want to mention that these girls already have parks named after them.  :D

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

Pic from Pinterest

I believe that giving thanks is one of the nicest ways to remember all the things that we have in our lives.  Oh, I'm not talking about a big house or cars in the garage.  I'm talking about the things that really matter.  Things like love and respect that can't be measured in terms of money.

There's nothing like giving thanks for people in our lives.  

*The ones who take time to write to us or send an sms.
*The ones who cheer us on with their words of love.
*The ones who email us daily.
*The ones who visit us and catch up.
*The ones who hug us in real life and in the virtual world.
*The ones who poke us on Facebook.
*The ones who 'like' what we share on Facebook.
*The ones who just stand by.
*The ones who are always there for us.
*The ones who care for us everyday.
*and most of all, the children who love us.

There is no greater blessing than to have children in our lives.

Pic from FB

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The one about the turkey.

Pic from FB
Yes, I know I'm not living in the U S of A.  Yes, I know Thanksgiving doesn't exist here.  So what???  It's now a borderless world! There are people who think that if you aren't in the US, you can't write or comment about anything in the US. In their heads, they've bought the exclusive rights!  Heh heh heh.  

Anyway, moving on to reality, here's an anecdote about a turkey since Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Often when I visit my mom-in-law, we talk about things that she remembers from her youth. At 76, she is still able to vividly recall the days when the kids were growing up.  Her mind is not as sharp as it must have been 5 years ago but she can remember a lot of the happier and older stories.  

The one about the turkey is her most recent recollection.

I don't know how we came to the topic of turkeys.  Anyway, she mentioned to me that when Stephen was a little boy, he used to play in the neighbour's garden.  He didn't know that she had a turkey at the back.  
Pic from Photobucket

He was about 5 years old and when he saw that turkey and he had such a fright.  He ran to his Aunt C and said that there was a Red Indian Chief at the back.  Hilarious!!!

This almost forgotten memory made my mom-in-law laugh out loud.  Seeing her enjoy this old story made me happy.  More important is that, if not for our chatting, I would never have known this snippet from Stephen's childhood.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twenty Eleven Twenty Twelve


In Asia, we use the dd-mm-yyyy format.  It's not as exciting a date as last year when it was Twenty Eleven Twenty Eleven (20-11-2011) but it still has a nice ring to it.

For me, it's a date when I can pay tribute to someone who celebrates another glorious year.  This will be the first time that I don't have to juggle my time-table and/or schedule just to be in Singapore.  Previously, work commitments often prevented me from being here.  Now I can just breathe easily and know that I don't have to worry anymore.

Since I retired, there have been so many 'firsts'.  This is one of the special ones that make me feel so blessed that I no longer have to work for a living.  Working was fun while it lasted and it also provided me with a nest egg of my own.  However, the times that I couldn't be with my loved ones always left an ache in my heart.

To cut to the chase, it's Stephen's birthday.  It's an occasion to celebrate.  

Almost every year I will ask him what he wants and his reply is always the same, "just love me".  

How do you not love a man who only wants to be loved? 
World's Best Husband, Gold Star Award Trophy Photo Cut Outs

What do you give a man who doesn't want anything?

I figure that you can give him an award! 

Hence, this is my 'virtual gift' to him.  I'll probably have found the "real gift" by the time this blog post is out.  

and, of course, we cannot miss the traditional birthday greeting
to you, 
 with all the love
that your heart can hold,
and then some.....

From Mrs Grosse and the 4 kids in our lives!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More than we asked or imagined

It's not yet Christmas in any part of the world but already we have received the gifts that fill our hearts and minds with so much joy and love.

Our girls are here from November 14 - 17.  Okay, they aren't our biological children but they are, in every other way, our children.

Sometimes when they sleep, as they are now, we look at them and feel this unexplained feeling that our cup is overflowing.

These girls who are all grown up now, and still wanting to be in our lives, make us count our blessings twice.

They won't be here for Christmas but somehow it will be enough just to have them with us for these days.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas is in the air!!!!!!

Yes, I know that Deepavali is just around the corner and it's not right to think of Christmas just yet.  But I can't help it!!!!

We were at Orchard Road last night and there were already the signs that Christmas is in the air.  I know there's still a lot more that is going to be done and I shall be here to watch it happen!

So many shops were selling Christmas stuff and every year I buy something new to add to my already huge collection.  This year is no exception.  Stephen was just as excited to help me fill my basket with goodies.

It's my first official Christmas celebration since retirement.  I'm going to love it.  There will be no rushing around year-end madness in the office.  

This Christmas is going to be special.  I can feel it in my bones.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

She's got a ticket to ride...

I travel the KL-SG route infrequently now.  Before it was every other weekend and I was beginning to tire of it. The same movies on show, the same music offered, the same scenery, well, you get the picture. I guess retirement came by just in time.  

While it was good, it gave me the only chance to be still and think but my thoughts were always all over the place.   

On my way to Singapore, my heart would be with my loved ones in KL and vice versa.  Having two homes meant everything was doubled.  As I head to Singapore, I'd be thinking of the things I need and want to do and the reverse took place when I was going to KL.

I've always been able to get a ticket easily.  My friend will get me a single seat and if possible, she will get me a double seat if she knows that there will be no one next to me.  It's good to have the right contacts and  I always have a ticket to ride.

This journey seemed different.  I no longer have to rush and I have learnt to slow down. I find that I didn't want to read (as I sometimes did).  I didn't have to create a to-do list in my head.  I didn't have to brainstorm work issues.  I didn't even want to watch the new movies!  I just wanted to look out the window at the beautiful greenery, the clear blue skies or the puffy white clouds and not have a care in the world, except to enjoy the moment.

There is a peace and serenity that comes from not needing to do anything and when all is calm and all is bright (Christmas is just around the corner), I know.  

I just sit back, soak in the view and watch as nature winds down to a sunset.  It is a fitting end to my long ride. 
Singapore Checkpoint - Tuas

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Barack Obama wrote to me!

All through the election period, I received mails from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and some celebrities that supported him.

Yes, I know they are auto-generated.  I usually delete them after reading.

But it still gave me a thrill to see their names in my inbox!

However, I am saving this one that I received, about 10 hours ago, to remember this Election victory for President Barack Obama!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A human need

Pic from FB

There was a time, a long time ago, when I was caught in a huge storm.  The rain beat down so angrily on my windscreen and I could barely see the road.  The wipers couldn't clear the raindrops fast enough.  It took sheer determination not to pull over by the side of the road and park because my house was just around the corner.  

When I got home, I was glad to see the garden gate open (ahhh those days when it was still safe to do that), drove under the carport (open garage) and sat for awhile.  The wind howled and it seemed like the storm was just over me.  

When the thunder and lightning passed, I took that chance to run into the house with just enough time before the next rumble and flash of light in the dark sky.

Once I locked the door behind me, glad to be home, I realised that there was no one who would wonder if I got home safely that day.  I still remember that sad moment.

Hurricane Sandy triggered this memory and I wonder about all the people who have no one to worry where they are when they don't come home at night.

Now when I'm missing on Facebook, I have people worrying about me.  :)

Friday, November 02, 2012