Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - DIY Fridge Magnets

For more Wordless Wednesday, go to My Little Drummer Boys. And while you're there, read through some of the entries from this incredibly strong woman.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My oldest and closest friend sent me this link to a New York Times article about why its hard to makes friends after 30. Its all about the fact that many new people enter our lives but most of them leave it without leaving any lasting impressions. Very few new, close, friendships are formed. Why? Because, "Schedules compress, priorities change, and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends"

Thats definitely the story of my life. At least with Facebook I've managed to stay in touch with some of my old friends but even those interactions are probably twice a year and at a very shallow level - in some cases, "old friends" should probably be redefined here as "somebody I used to know". This is sad. Sometimes I feel that I'm always the one that is trying to get old friends together again and nobody else initiates the get together. Do they all have such fantastic lives now that I am the "somebody they used to know" ?

So do I try to "restock" my friend pool? Yes, but I am picky and have a lot of constraints. Which is exactly what the article is talking about. I can't just ring someone up and say "Hey! Lets meet for lunch.". There are so many permutations now that can derail such a simple encounter. Adrian's nap time. If the other person has a child, that child's nap time. Whether either child is sick, has a sick sibling, has gymnastics or some other activity. If the person is single, then chances are I'd be to stressed taking a child along to such an encounter because I don't want to be judge for either being an indulgent parent or a strict parent, and I also cannot focus on making my conversation interesting for a single person if I have my parenting life along with me. So you see, it really narrows the choices down.

Let me take this further. When I finally find a person that I think I'd like to make the effort in being friends with, scheduling a meeting between the two families can stretch out for months. I'm using a real life example here - we have a family lunch date with another family in the second week of September! That was the earliest available weekend.

On the flipside, I have also started to question whether I am good quality 'friend' material. If I'm this picky about other people, then they must be this picky on me too. Sometimes, after a particularly enjoyable get together with new friends, I'll say to Richard "Do you think they like us?" I feel silly just thinking it! Who cares? I suppose I do....

So as a final note on friends, and how hard it is to have any these days, I am looking forward to meeting up with an old friend this Sunday and also next Wednesday. The Wednesday one is calling for a lot of effort from me (90 minute drive each way in between school drop off and pickup) but I want to do it. This person was a close friend in the past and has recently joined the ranks of parenthood so we should have some things in common.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wisdom In Idioms?

I know this wonderful old lady who is 78 years old. She is witty, gracious and humble and I love chatting with her. She is wise too but because of her wit, grace and humility, its so easy to listen to what she has to say. And more importantly, I think I'll remember a lot of it. She uses a lot of idioms when she speaks. My lesson yesterday was "Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone."

Today, my mother used an idiom on me. It is a Chinese one that I have often heard in the past. The literal translation is "Waiting until its urgent before looking for the bathroom." Obviously, this is applied to situations where you've left things to the last minute. 

My brother and I used to jokingly (but probably still rudely) refer to all the idioms that my mother and grandmother used as crap. Many of the Chinese ones are quite funny. For example, dragging the moon to the bottom of the ocean (i.e. an impossible task) and something about water rising up to your eyebrows. I can't remember the specifics I  know that somehow, the meanings from all the idioms are in me. I have a book somewhere that I'll have to dig up one of these days - a Dictionary of Chinese Idioms.

Actually, that day may come very soon because my arsenal of idioms to fire at my own kids is practically empty. I have a total of one at the moment but its not a Chinese one : "Whats worth doing is worth doing well." Oh, and those Chinese ones only work if you say them in Cantonese. This is so strange, how did I get to the point of wanting to become my mother and rattle of Cantonese idioms at Aaron and Adrian?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who Needs Adult Conversation?

Well, I probably should get some practice at it but, but I don't often get that feeling that I need somebody to talk to. Perhaps its because I have many online conversations each day anyway.

The second reason I don't think I need any more conversation with other people is because I'm all talked out by 5pm. Aaron and Adrian talk non stop from the moment they wake up. If they're not talking to each other, they are talking to one of us. If they're not talking to one of us, they are talking to themselves or one of their toys. If we're out an about, they try to make conversation with the people we interact with. 

I try to be present but I'll admit that I'm not always there. They want my opinion on everything! What do you think of a dinosaur with a laser? Would you like to drive a dump truck or an excavator? Who do you think will win, Batman or Spiderman? Is Batman a real super-hero? 

Its not all bad. As long as I get a break every now and then to engage in some of that online conversation I mentioned above, I can laugh through it all. They do say some funny things!

Today, as we drove past a cemetery this is what the conversation was like...

Adrian : Thats where dead people live.
Aaron  : So, is that where you're going to live soon?
Me      : Hopefully not too soon.
Aaron  : Yes, I don't want you to die yet. Maybe in 2015. (WHAT?)
Me      : Aaron, thats in 2 years!
Aaron  : No, its not 2 years. Its 3 years. (Yes, he corrected my addition!
Me      : Whatever it is, I want you to cremate me, that means burn me, and then keep me in your house.
Aaron  : Do we need to get dry sticks or firewood or something? 
Adrian : Definitely, we need sticks. ('Definitely', appears to be Adrian's favourite word this week.)

The two of them really crack me up. I was mostly distracted for that conversation about where the dead live because I had to concentrate but the more you get into a conversation with them, the more you see the inner workings of their minds and the funnier/cuter it is. 

I think I might actually get jealous if the two of them got stuck into conversations with each other and purposely left me out of it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Too Much Customer Service

Yes, usually people want customer service. Unfortunately, sometimes, too much customer service is provided.

I got a big dose at the gym on Saturday morning. They scan my card on entry so its understandable that they greet me by name. Thats alright. But, the manager there must have made it her mission to remember everybody's names and observe how frequently they visit the gym. It shouldn't matter to her since we pay by the fortnight anyway and I am sure she is trying to be friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, each time I see her, she tries to find ways to help me make it to the gym more regularly. She is too helpful! I feel guilty enough that I have fallen out of my gym routine (I only make it there about twice a week) and she was just making it worse.

The second dose came as I was looking for a wedding gift for a friend. She has a gift registry and I had the list printed out to look through. I asked for help locating one of the items but the sales assistant was extremely helpful and took the initiative to show me everything on the list and tell me all about them. All I wanted was to be left alone so that I could decide which gift I could afford.

On a slightly different note, I also got some unwanted customer service from attendants who obviously felt they shouldn't waste their time on me. I wondered around some boutiques because I might need a dress for that wedding. They had big 'SALE' signs which lured me in. The prices were still more than I was willing to pay but I thought the sales assistants were a little too obvious in the way they were looking disapprovingly at me as they came around to see if I wanted to try anything. Was it that faint snotty stain (fresh from my goodbye hug with Adrian) on my hoodie that prompted the brief looks of disdain in their eyes?  Or was it purely that I was not properly colour coordinated today?

Writing this post has reminded me of some of the sales assistants I've come across in Malaysia and Indonesia. Very often, they are so attentive that they will follow you around the whole store. They will literally be 30cm behind you. They don't say anything or offer any assistance until you speak. I have tried weaving between the racks and zig zagging my way around and they will faithfully follow. Uncomfortable, but I think they're just trying to do their job. I've also come across a couple of tactless ones that have spoken in Cantonese to their colleagues to get a larger size because they didn't think I would fit into something. In Malaysia, I am almost always mistakenly identified as a Malay so they never realise that I understand what they say until I answer them in Cantonese.

So there you go, these poor people in the customer service industry get complaints if they are not helpful enough and now also get whinged about for provided too much! Like everything else in life, its all about the balance.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday the 13th - A Good Day

Oops! I forgot to hit 'Publish' last night. So, here is my Friday the 13th post on Saturday the 14th.

I've missed almost all of Friday the 13th because I had no reason to check on the date today. It wasn't until I checked in on Mike's blog that I realized. I've actually had an above average day so I thought I'd try to come up with 13 good things. Unfortunately, I got stuck after 10 so I'm going to leave it at that.

1. I woke up naturally as opposed to somebody either jumping on me or speaking loudly in my ear.

2. Breakfast time was rowdy but relaxed, as opposed to me getting frustrated because certain little ones keep leaving the table.

3. Aaron got to school early.

4. Adrian spent the whole day nappy free and had zero accidents.

5. I didn't need to prepare lunch at lunch time because I was so organised at breakfast that lunch was made at the same time.

6. I also didn't really need to make dinner because I defrosted something that I made a big batch of on the weekend.

7. It has been raining for the past week but we were lucky to have the rain give us a break at both the school drop off and pick up.

8. I have children who think of green beans as green french and eat both with equal enthusiasm.

9. Adrian made me chocolate milk.

10. It has been exactly 7 days since Aaron last chewed on a fingernail. After he lost that front bottom teeth, and then had his tooth extracted last week, he hasn't been able to chew. Silver lining on missing teeth! In my mind, I want him to reach 21 days without chewing because I think thats how long it takes to form a habit.

I hope you've had a good Friday the 13th too. I'm sure Saturday the 14th is not going to come crashing down as Mike has hinted because Saturday is one of the best days of the week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thick As Thieves

Well, the holidays are over and Aaron was back at school again today. I had a really good time with both Aaron and Adrian home at the same time. They must have really enjoyed the time together too because while Aaron was at school, Adrian kept asking to go pick him up. And immediately after getting into the car, I heard Aaron ask Adrian "Did you miss me?" I think it was Aaron that was missing Adrian.

This is the part that I enjoy most about having to deal with the two of them. They are little terrors a lot of the time but they can be so sweet too. And I think right now, they really are each other's best friend. Having said that, Aaron recently had a bruise next to his eyebrow because Adrian swung a broom at him, on purpose.

And even better than the both of them being such good pals - they think I'm the best. They fight over who gets to be my best friend! So, all three of us are thick as thieves'. *sigh* These are the simple things in life that make me happy. I wonder how long thats going to last. According to Bilbo's Mothers' Day posts, all this love and attention for me might start disappearing when they get to around twelve.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Iron Man Teeth

Aaron is almost back to normal today. On Friday, he ended up having one filling, one pulpotomy and one tooth extracted. Those were all expected. The mini surprise was that the second pulpotomy was not needed after all.

Here he is right before we went into the operating theater. He had spent the morning reading a good book and as we were waiting in this holding area, they put on a video for him. So he was happy. And excited!

What I would have liked to have taken photos of was the operating theater - so many machines and big lights about. I remember thinking to myself how great it would be if they would all just stop and let me get a few photos for Aaron to look at afterwards. But of course, I wasn't silly enough to do something like that - its just these phones with cameras in them that tempt me all the time I was only in there to hold his hand until the General Anesthetic took effect and then they ushered me out and I had two absolutely quite hours to myself. Apart from them calling every 30 mins to let me know what they were doing, I was uninterrupted the entire time and, I'm not ashamed to admit it, I welcomed and enjoyed that time.

He wasn't quite so happy when he came out. In fact, he was miserable from both the after effects of the G.A. as well as the work that was done in his mouth. We stayed another 90 minutes in the hospital before going home. He was tired and slept the rest of the day and still had an early night. Since then, he's been enjoying an incredible amount of pampering from me.

When he finally remembered to look in the mirror, he got quite upset. "I don't look nice anymore" has been repeated many times this weekend. The crown he has is stainless steel and so is the spacer. The crown is on the bottom left so when he smiles, it is visible but its going to be something we all have to get used to. I'm trying to tell him its Iron Man Teeth but that doesn't mean anything to him because he's not into Iron Man. Hopefully he'll get used to the way he looks soon because he's been trying not to open his mouth when he smiles and speaks.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Monkey Magic

When I took this photo, all I saw was that their jumpers and vests were co-incidentally color coordinated.

And then, when I looked through the photos on the computer, I noticed the rake and the broom and they reminded me of a favourite TV show that I haven't thought of in eons.

I know I haven't spent the time to cultivate a larger following here but, does anyone recognize this group of travellers? 

Maybe not, it was a Japanese production that was filmed on location in China and subsequently dubbed into English. The BBC produced the English speaking version and I think the shows were screened in the UK and Australia in the 80s. Its now a 'cult classic' and supposedly, it had a larger following here in Australia than in Japan!

I've watched many versions of the classic Chinese story "Journey To The West", about the monkey king that accompanied Tripitaka to India to fetch holy scriptures, but this is definitely the best. Initially, the dubbing made the show strange because Monkey had a husky voice and a very exaggerated Asian accent (does anybody know what I mean by that?). And the whole time, I wasn't sure if the monk was played by a man or a woman, it had me guessing the whole time! But after awhile, it was because of all this 'strangeness' that I became addicted to it.

There was a lot of fighting against monsters and evil but I don't remember it being violent. There wasn't a lot of blood and there was always that lesson of goodness by the end of the episode. I'd love to get a copy of this so that Aaron can watch it. 

Here is a clip of the opening of each episode.

It would be good if I had some of these episodes handy for the weekend. Aaron spent the day at the hospital having his teeth fixed up and is quite sore and grumpy after the whole ordeal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

FIFO Teeth

We've had a totally unexpected event today. The story according to Aaron is that he was tearing up some paper and he accidentally hit himself in the mouth and his tooth came flying out and landed on the floor. We've been focusing all our attention on that molar of his that I didn't notice that this tooth was wobbly - and he never said anything.

I dug through my archives to find a photo of the first tooth into his mouth and its the same one! I didn't know they followed the FIFO rules? He also cut two teeth at almost the same time (you can see the second one vaguely in the photo below) so does that mean that he's about to lose that neighboring tooth too? By next week he could be short of three teeth. EEK!

His friends have been talking about the tooth fairy. And the other day, I found out that a tooth is worth anything from $2 to $5. The tooth fairy never visited me so when he asked me if anything was going to happen tonight I told it to him straight "The tooth fairy doesn't visit us." He made a little snorting sound at that answer and said that he knew it wasn't real and that parents were doing it. AND, that he didn't expect me to. Phew! (Parents, don't worry, I told him not to tell the other kids. Just in case.)

I guess these are the final bits of his 'babyness'. Once all the baby teeth are gone, nothing about him will be a baby anymore.