SIN Bound

30 Jan 2010 – Life with 4 Kids…

Never a dull moment until they are all in dreamland! Fri: Tasted and bought cookies at the Blue Flour**** Katy, Ellie & JohnW in FunZone while Jeff, LinnSophie & I dined at Bonefish Grill*** Sat: Linn & the kids at Katy‘s school fundraising pancake breakfast and I got to cuddle with Sophie. Nancy is safe with her family in Pensacola/FL after 9hrs drive. May should have arrived in OSL’s freezing temperatures after 14hrs of flying time; for me, the usual drill, over 24hrs flying time ahead, arriving SIN 0100hrs Tue 2 Feb, losing 13hrs which was gained upon arrival.

2010 will be full of traveling like 2009. May asked if I am not tired of all these traveling… but of course, who likes flying like this unless you are a pilot and for them it is just a job. Whoever can invent a zapper to zap me from A to where ever I want to be within 5mins will be my biggest hero 🙂

One more night in CAE and then back to SIN for work and more meetings. This time round CAE-ATL-NRT-SIN, less one airport layover for the SIN bound. Whenever such a long journey is involved, I try to think of something more pleasant instead of dreading it! One step at a time and for now, to pack and looking forward to a friend arriving in SIN on the same day as me.

One step at a time is all that is possible, even when those steps are taken on a run – Anne Schaef


27 Jan 2010 – May & Nancy heading home today

Successful celebrations are over but as the saying goes… do not cry because it is over but smile because it happened. Can always look forward to the next reunion. According to Kenson, it will be downhill from now! For me, yes and no. Yes, in the sense that the energy is not what it was. No, in the way about how situations and things are handled differently today. When respect for others, flexibility and learning are possible, there are no downhill issues. Would struggle with certain situations 10years ago, but now, nah… whatever, as long as there are no premeditation to harming anyone and not life threatening.

When Linn & May were toddlers, I would even wake up if they turned in their beds! Now, I sleep thru’ just about everything. The room I am in here is above the garage; the opening and closing of the garage door is not a quiet motion but I sometimes sleep thru’ that, even twice within the hour. Jeff leaves about 0600hr work and Katy 0700hrs for school. Ellie & JohnW have pre-school 3 mornings a week. Also I hired someone to help clean here weekly during my stay. For now, snuggling with Sophie is what I do best, she will probably be downhill skiing and not interested to cuddle on my next visit 🙂

I’m not a real smart guy. But I’ve got enough brains to realize that when I’m 60 years old and play a sport, that it’s downhill – Lee Trevino

Bday & Baptism

24 Jan 2010 – Unforgettable Celebrations

How wonderful to see family & friends together. Was overwhelmed with emotions of joy and happiness. May, Linn & Jeff, Katy, Ellie, John and Sophie– words will never justify how I feel with what you all have done for me; Lock & May from Sault Ste Marie/Canada, Dika & Ike from Chicago/IL, Kat & Greg from Manhattan/NY, Cindy & Nancy from Orlando/FL, John & Lynne from Charleston/SC, Glenda & Franklin from NC.

Pictures from different life stages were hang around the fireplace, bringing back many fond memories. Thank you May for the very good idea. A most enjoyable and memorable evening with great company and Southern food. Am speechless except to thank family and friends who took the time traveling here. The weekend ended with Sophie’s baptism today.

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us – Ashley Montagu

Katy 8years

23 Jan 2010 – Slumber Party

Nancy arrived safely after 9hrs drive. Thank you for being here. Katy‘s 8th bday slumber party with a chocolate cake (dog-shaped) and pizzas were huge success. Movies projected on the wall was a big hit for the grandmothers, aunt, Ellie and John 🙂 The girls were just too busy being major drama-queens! And the parents were busy with the drama!! The weather was too cold for outdoor roasting of mush-mellows.

This morning they get pancakes for breakfast and will be picked up by 1000hrs. Tonight is the celebrations for me completing 60years of life and tomorrow will be Sophie‘s baptism! Admiration and congratulations to Linn who is doing such great jobs being daughter, sister, mother, educator, friend; and to Jeff for being the best son-in-law, father, doctor and friend. As the saying goes about you can choose your friends but not your family, but in my case fate has been good to choose my family as my friends too.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life – Richard Bach


20 Jan 2010 – Safe & happy in CAE

Over 32hrs and 13hrs time difference in 5 different airports, it is amazing any normal person can feel normal! Left SIN Mon 0550hrs and arrived CAE Mon 2345hrs (the only airport I know of with white rocking chairs). Felt like a zombie Tue and starting slowly to function today, Wed 20 Jan (Thu 21 Jan in SIN).

The devastating consequences of the earthquake in Haiti and freezing temperatures in many regions have been headline news the past week. Reuniting with the family and seeing them all healthy and thriving helps me not to think too much about the sad news and also a reminder again about how fortunate I am, so far! Was so touched to receive 60th Bday greetings and presents from Norway, Canada and the USA. Will do my snail mail acknowledgements when back in SIN. Too much going on here at present.

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future – Alex Haley


17 Jan 2010 – 5 Airports in 30hrs!

Fri: thanks to Leonard SHOH for lunch at Bugis Junction. There was no Barney at the whole of Bugis but there is a recycled Christmas tree with Valentine’s decorations. Also thanks for being such a good sport to help me find the only Barney at Toys R Us in Suntec where the CNY decorations are up… Raise the Red Lantern 🙂

There is a new signpost at SAM. A country with courtesy & smiling campaigns and now Flirting Point signpost… what kind of message is this? Some years ago, there was this incident when my grand children (Katy was 5 and Ellie 2 then) were visiting and they got wet playing at the fountains… Linn & I decided to take off their wet clothes and just let them continue enjoying the fountains in their underwear. Some passer-by commented to her child, shame shame. I had hoped that my grand-daughters did not hear that. This might explain why my fellow SIN are the way they are or perhaps it is me who is unable to relate to this mentality?

Sat: Isabelle 2nd Bday party@The Rivervale function room… such an adoreable child and how she cuddled Barney made the search effort worth the while. Thanks to Lee & Adeline for including this grand-auntie. Apologies that I was not able to be the photographer as my pictures will not justify the function.

Flight will be leaving for the USA 0550hrs Mon 18 Jan and this will be a tiring journey. SIN-NRT 6hrs 50mins, NRT layover 1hr 10mins. NRT-MSP 10hrs 50mins, MSP layover 3hrs 35mins. MSP-DTW 1hr45mins, DTW layover 5hrs. DTW-CAE 1hr 45mins. About 22hrs flying time and 10hrs of layover time before I arrive to my destination, Columbia South Carolina! Ouch. .. how many more of these trips will I be able to survive!!

The trouble with our age is that it is all signpost and no destination – Louis Kronenberger


16 Jan 2010 – Memories

Christmas 1968, you only 18, arrived in our house in Langnesbakken in Tromsø. I can still hear all the laughters, jokes and many nice moments. I remember us driving in the Renault 4 across North Norway, fishing at Hella, skiing in the mountains, picking gresslok and adding it to the bujong togehter with garlic powder. I remember your sweet and sour dish, together with slightly raw fish, very good!  I can hear you asking:  what is “kattunga”?   As I think about these nice memories I can not believe it is more than 40 years ago – Morten Hald

Photo credits to Morten HALD. These were taken between 1968-1970 and it is I who should thank Morten for the fond memories which I will always cherish.

Wiser… perhaps!

15 Jan 2010 – 60 years behind!

Washington Irving said that after a man passes 60, his mischief is mainly in his head, so thank goodness I am a woman 🙂

Thank you Kenson for his charming company and for yummy dinner at Amoy Street’s Huat Kee**** He said that 60 is an important age for the Chinese as from now on, one is supposed to be wise and respected! My comments-

Older definitely wiser – perhaps  respected… hmmm

Today I received a most touching email from Morten HALD (Linn & May‘s uncle in Norway) and that stirred my emotions that he remembered and took the time to write such kind compassionate words. He was only 15 when I first met him and today he is a renowned geology professor at the world’s most northern university, U of Tromsø. Thank you Morten for what you were and are. So blessed to know him and my children are lucky to have him as their uncle. Thank you everyone for all your greetings.

Today also marks the completion of 60 years of life. Will be flying to Columbia SC, USA to be with Linn & family. May will also be there from Norway. We will all be together for Katy‘s 8th Bday, Sophie‘s baptism and to mark my 60th Bday. Now if that is not CELEBRATIONS then what is?

Happy Bdays to Angie SOSA/USA and Snow, a well-trained, well-groomed and beautiful Samoyed. Samoyed are nomadic reindeer herders and was used for sledding, herding, guarding and keeping their owners warm, thus good natured. Do feel sorry for SNOW as his habitat is not in the tropics, but he is throughly compensated for by his owner, Angie LIM’s loving care and attention.

Fridtjof NANSEN believed that the use of sled dogs was the only effective way to explore the north and used Samoyeds on his polar expeditions. Roald AMUNDSEN used a team of sled dogs led by a Samoyed on the first expedition to reach the South Pole. And I shared my Bday cake with a Samoyed! Angie, thanks for the delicious cheesecake and appreciation to Adeline & SunSun (Isabelle’s nickname and she will be 2years 18 Jan) for organising a picnic at the SIN Botanic Gardens.

Life is like a dog sled team.  If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes – Lewis Grizzard

It’s Complicated, Hear Me!

13 Jan 2010 – Jan Movies

It’s complicated, hear me, not without you mother 🙂

It’s Complicated*** Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin have a delightful chemistry on this script. This story is an antidote to all the stupid stuff that’s being shoveled out of Hollywood. Steve Martin plays a great foil to Baldwin’s character. Streep has a genuine dilemma of riches with these two. If she would have to choose, how could she? In different ways, equally appealing, these guys wear their hearts on their sleeves. A humorous movie that won’t bring you down nor insult your intelligence. It’s refreshing in what some of my favourite actors can do when all the ingredients are there.

Hear Me*** about Yang, who single-handedly takes care of her sister, Peng, a swimmer-in-training for the Deaflympics. Yang meets Tian Kuo, who delivers lunch boxes to the swimming pool where Peng trains for the upcoming Deaflympics. Although Yang and Tian Kuo communicate only through sign language, their love for each other transcends the gap through voiceless communication, creating a light-hearted romantic comedy about life and its possibilities.

Not Without You*** Black & white movie based on a true story in Taiwan about a father’s sincere love for his daughter but did not have legal rights over her.  The law in Taiwan doesn’t permit the biological father of a child to be legally registered as the parent if they were not married to the mother. Even though Mei’s mother disappeared long ago, Mei’s father, Wu-hsiung cannot be legally recognised as Mei’s guardian. The portrayal of the bureaucracy is very realistic. Quite a touching movie and one cannot help feeling sorry for Wu-hsiung who was portrayed as a good loving father.

Mother** Korean flick about a widow, Hye-ja and her obsessive love for her son who is mentally incapacitated on some level, which she seems to ignore. In the aftermath of a terrible murder, the son becomes the prime suspect. Hye-ja, distraught and convinced he is innocent, searches for the real killer, uncovering many secrets from the townspeople… with a twist to the ending.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you – Kahlil Gibran


11 Jan 2010 – Last weekend before turning 60!

The tarot is a pack of 78 cards used from the mid 15th century in various parts of Europe to play card games. From the late 18th century until the present days, the Tarot has also found use by mystics as a map of mental and spiritual pathways. There are different styles of tarot decks and designs. Many popular decks have modified the traditional symbolism to reflect the esoteric beliefs of their creators.

The deck in my possession is Rider-Waite-Smith and I have had it since the early 1980s but have not taken it out until Sat! Have forgotten the meanings of most of the cards but fortunately there is a book to explain the cards. Met up with a group of novice readers to discover that there are some dim memories of the time when I used to do readings for fun in Norway. The owner of Tarot Chaos, Istari Nox is a good reader. Thanks Ann CHUA for the introduction and would like to see her Shakespearean Tarot deck which she cannot relate to.

Thanks Les & Ivy for lunch in Tiong Bahru’s famous Ah Peng Bak Kut Teh***/pork ribs soup, Jo for making dinner at Sentosa Cove and SueLynn for the delicious chocolate cake. A nice relaxing day in Sentosa watching TV & reading the papers with the serene of the sea in front of the living room. The sunset with the constructions in the background from the back bedroom are signs that development is still on-going. Not surprising considering that non-SIN citizens are able to buy property on this island but not across the bridge in SIN!

Good luck to Les‘ new toy, a white Porsche and always drive safely. Safe journeys to Jo & family who will all be heading for their holidays to Perth/Australia.

The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
Writ in remembrance more than things long past – Shakespeare