Thoughts

I can’t decide what I should write on tonight. So many thoughts swimming around inside my head. I’m trying to filter them because well, you can’t be too forthcoming about your personal life online (as in there are limits) and I feel I might be in danger of surpassing what is wise to reveal right now. 

So… rather than not writing at all, let me list down a brief summary of the things going through my head. If at all you gain nothing else from them, perhaps at least it is evidence of how frustratingly complex our minds can be at any one time. And how overthinking can be more of a curse than a blessing. 

1. Mother’s Day is this weekend. I feel like not becoming a celebrity. Last year, my first Mother’s Day was spent in the hospital caring for my sick son. Any peaceful day for this year’s Mother’s Day would be more than fine by me. 

2. Parents. What do you do with them? It feels like the longer I live my life, the less I understand them. And it feels sad and alienating and frustrating. 

3. I always have the feeling I am not doing enough. This is especially true on the home front. 

4. The feeling of loneliness isn’t the worst when I am physically alone, but rather when I feel that, despite being surrounded by people, nobody understands me or cares enough to want to understand. 

5. Poetry. I miss writing poetry. And all forms of creative prose. 

6. “Do I miss my full time job?” This is a question I am forever asking myself. And for which I can never completely answer. 

7. People are always saying how you only live once and that you’ll regret if you die and didn’t do this or that. But is that really so? Perhaps when you do die, you are just content that life is at its end. That for all the pain and difficulties, joys and sweet memories, successes and failures and lessons learned, there is a conclusion to it all. And, for better or worse, you made it through at last. 

8. I worry my son will one day hate me. That someday I will commit a terrible, unforgivable mistake. 

9. People always say spend time with your loved ones so you don’t regret it when they’re gone. But what if I want to spend time with them but they don’t seem to want to make time for me? Will I still regret it? Or will they?

10. Order and cleanliness is underrated. I’ve heard of books exalting the virtues of messiness and that it apparently does some good. Well, for some of us, a lack of these two qualities in our surroundings means we can never feel at ease. Or function at the best version of ourselves. 

11. No matter what we do, our human nature always tends to swing back towards self indulgence and conceit. 

12. Don’t just tell someone not to worry. Give them tangible, solid reasons to believe you. 

13. Why does everyone like Lang Leav’s poetry? And is Michael Faudet a real person? Why has modern poetry morphed into something so plain and lacking the aura of mystery in its wordplay?

14. I am wired to imagine the worst possible scenario. But as grim as that sounds, it sometimes helps. Because I am prepared for the worst. And the worst very rarely actually happens. 

15. Social connections feel somewhat pointless at times. Because people are more keen in talking than listening. I am not excluding myself from this description. 

16. I would love to tell my blog readers more about my passion for arts and crafts and DIY projects. 

17. Do dreams/ambitions really matter? And is actually achieving them the important thing, or is it more about letting it become the driving force that compels us to continue improving ourselves and striving for greater things in life? 

18. It baffles me why a “happily ever after” life will often dull a artist/creative person’s craft such that their creations afterwards seem to be of a lower quality. Must we continue to torture ourselves to produce outstanding masterpieces?

19. My body is troublesome. It is almost always giving me some health woe or another. Why? 

20. I do not seem to have the capacity to plan for my distant future anymore. I seem to be stuck living day by day. Just thinking about what to do next. But never going beyond that. But maybe life is less terrifying that way. 

Alright folks. Enough baring of my soul for now. Goodnight. 

Whoosh. Whirr. Zip. 

Summary of the last 2 weeks: Busy. Tired. But mostly happy.
It’s been a little quiet over here on the blog front lately. 

Well, that’s because we’ve had our hands full with a non-stop list of activities. Deric was on a 2 week break as he was between jobs, so we were trying our best to get as much as we could done while the entire family was together in the daytime. 

What didn’t help at all was that Jamie had to fall sick amidst all that, making it even harder to seize the moment to do the things we had in mind as we had to divert part of our energy and time to getting him well again. Both of us also ended up sick too at the end of it all (albeit in a much milder fashion compared to Jamie, but nonetheless not at our best).

But well, that’s family life, I guess. A neverending stream of activities, needs, etc. Chaos, in some ways. Makes for good memories though. 

Deric’s into his new job now and so Jamie and I are left to our own devices again in the daytime. The break in routine was refreshing, but now begins the task of finding a new one to match the changes in Deric’s work schedule and commute. 

One significant change is the fact that he is trying out public transport to get to work. This is because his office is much further now and in the middle of the city. We are trying to avoid both the horrendous road traffic congestion as well as the petrol costs associated with driving. But this means that Jamie and I have to be up early enough to drop him off at the nearest LRT station. 

I love having more hours to do stuff (since we are up earlier) but it feels tiring. And while Deric has moved on to return to the corporate life, here I am left with all the remaining mess and unfinished projects at home to work on. The only advantage that I have at the moment is I’ve caught up with work and so am free from the burden of my freelance work for now. But a new month comes soon, and then the mayhem will begin again. 

I’ve noticed far too many draft posts sitting in my blog so I figured I should at least pen something to keep this thing alive. I guess the hopes of writing brilliant posts will go mostly unmet, but perhaps something hashed out is better than none. I’ll try to have more intriguing stories for you the next round. 

Friday, finally

Me at the start of this week. With makeup on. A rarity.
It’s raining! How lovely. I cannot say enough times just how much I love rain. I’ve probably already mentioned this countless times in other posts, but I can never emphasise it enough.

What is it about the rain that I love so much? The sound of water. Pitter patter raindrops on the window. How the atmosphere becomes cooler. How everything turns indoors and inward: More reflective thoughts, less going out, more lounging about with loved ones. That sort of thing.

The other thing that I’m really happy about is that the week is coming to an end. I also really love weekends. That’s because it’s the time when our entire family is together 24/7.

Not that our family is very big (it’s just the three of us) nor are we living apart or anything like that, but things are always better when Deric is around too. I don’t have to feel so alone managing our son, and everything just seems happier and more fun in general (because Deric is the chirpy one in the family).

These few weeks have been especially tiring. I know I must be saying that a lot, but it is all the more so lately.

The outstanding work tasks that I have on my hands has been getting a bit overwhelming. I have been falling sick at least once a week. Jamie has been having an on-off fever thing which we find perplexing.

I am still struggling to keep this bullet journalling thing going, but the habit isn’t really sticking. Plus it feels so self defeating to make lists, especially for the To-Dos, and to only have very few items actually ever crossed off at the end of each day. But at least I am noting down the small events that take place every day. Perhaps that will be good for recall at later times when I can no longer remember what most of 2017 was all about.

Significant things that happened this week:

(Clockwise from top) Outings with Jamie, an old t-shirt to boost my confidence and a temporary solution for itchy little hands.
  1. I wore makeup to church and a meaningful t-shirt to cheer myself up and remind myself that I once was a fascinating individual. The t-shirt being the AJ Hackett bungy jumping one that Deric and I bought when we were at Kawarau river in New Zealand on our month long backpacking trip back in 2010. YES. So long ago!
  2. Jamie and I had two mini mid-week outings in the daytime. Certainly made me feel better. He seemed happy as well. And he settled much more easily into his evening nap.
  3. Discovered we had bought celery of bad quality from Village Grocer and that it was from CHINA. Bah. I may be (Malaysian) Chinese, but I don’t support products from China. Wonder if it is really celery. Anyway, our version came with a free gift: A live spider. Yikes! Still cooked it and both Jamie and myself had some. But never again. Not this brand.
  4. Experienced 2 mysteries in the kitchen and laundry area of the home: A missing fork (Jamie’s) and a missing pair of dirty pants. Found both yesterday, but not without having to hunt for a bit.
  5. Found Jamie’s beloved Duckie sitting atop his toy wash basin. Erm? Jamie’s version of putting Duckie on the potty maybe? Whatever it was, it was funny.
  6. Devised a temporary measure to keep Jamie’s hands out of the open waste bins that we use around the home by placing a disposable shower cap around the mouth of all those bins. Just making my life more difficult, isn’t it?
  7. We also installed a child safety lock on our huge kitchen garbage bin and on the refrigerator doors. I broke the one on the fridge door.
  8. Oh, and I peeled prawns. Last Sunday evening. And I was smarter this time. No deceased prawn exacted its revenge on me. (Tip: Avoid handling the head with your fingers and you can avoid getting pricked).

(Clockwise from top) Missing pants, a missing fork and yucky celery.
And with that, folks, another week is drawing to a close.

(We’re having fishball noodle soup tonight. With homemade fishballs. And since it’s raining and cold, I think it’s a splendid way to meet the weekend.)

Cheerio, till next I post.

Duckie on a toy wash basin. Hehe.

 

Great. Late. Awake.

It’s 4+am and I am awake.

Well, not that experiencing this is anything new, but I haven’t really had this in awhile. And I have never liked it happening.

I guess this took place because Deric and I are both tired. We were both sitting in bed, catching up after a long day when before long… he was asleep and so was I. Pfft.

And so now, I’m up at this odd hour and not too keen on going right back to sleep.

For one thing, my entire body is itchy in various spots. It’s as if I developed a sudden allergic reaction. Or it could just be that pregnancy rash doing its thing again (which would not be hard to believe since baby might be having another growth spurt in there).

I sort of wish Deric was awake with me right now. Then at least I’d have some form of company and won’t feel as crazy as I do now being up alone. Now it’s just me and my thoughts.

Work is bugging me a tad bit . Not that I have a lot on my plate just yet, but I guess it’s because I know there are things I should have completed by now, but haven’t. Sigh. I haven’t really been in much of a mood to get things done since even before New Year’s.

On a different note, I’m kind of contemplating doing some of those 2015 lists that I’ve seen around on Pinterest.

One is a list of various photography themes  whereby you are required to snap one picture a day to meet a specific theme. Another is a long checklist of various book types to read throughout the year. They’re both equally interesting lists.

The only thing about these things is I’m afraid to start them for fear I won’t actually finish them. That’s such a hindrance, isn’t it, thinking in this way?

Anyway, I think I need a shower to rid me of this random body-wide itch. Bye.

Sew in love

I inherited my love for sewing and cooking from my mother and grandmother.
Source: Cherry Menlove

I have come to see that quite a lot of things that make up who we are were actually embedded deep into our souls very early on in our lives.

For instance, my love for cooking, sewing and all manner of homely habits undoubtedly was a result of the influences of both my Mum and grandmother.

Back in the days when I was a kid, I would often have the chance to see both of them at work in the kitchen. I hardly understood most of what they were doing, but I guess some of the mechanics of it did latch onto me and I sometimes find myself recalling now, many years later in life, some of the things they would do.

My sister and I were greatly blessed through the many delicious dishes we savoured thanks to my Mum and Mama’s skillful culinary abilities. Some of Mama’s dishes which I really loved were nasi kunyit and chicken curry, nasi dagang and rendang, and a sweet two layered kuih we referred to as Ban Tng (to this day, I don’t know anyone else who knows how to make this and can’t even find it in any stores).

My Mum had her own specialties too. I liked her renditions of spaghetti bolognese, chicken stew, and a nameless potato and chicken dish similar to the Nyonya pong teh.

I was also privileged to be the recipient of their various sewing projects. Mama would sew countless sets of pyjamas for both my sister and I. She did this for years, right up until the days of my teens. (In fact, my Mum recently informed me that Mama had actually even sewn baby clothes for me. I, of course, do not remember any of that.)

Somewhere along the line though, Mama eventually had to stop sewing pyjamas for us because it had gotten difficult for her to do fine needlework with her hands as she had lost sensitivity in her fingertips.

My Mum, too, in attempts to save money during the years of economic downturn, sewed dresses for me. Not only that, she went the extra mile and even made additional matching accessories to go along with the dresses such as a bag, hat or hairband. Perhaps some other spoilt child might have been ashamed to wear such simple clothes sewn by their own parent, but I loved them.

Over the years, my Mum also often took it upon herself to repair many of my clothes that suffered minor problems through wear and tear. This ranged from issues such as buttons falling off to holes in pants to stitches coming loose at odd places in the fabric.

Now, having been married myself, with our very own home to manage and a child on the way, I find myself drawn to these simple domestic activities even more than ever.

Homemade meals are among the proudest moments that my husband and I share (we often cook together in the kitchen).

And thanks to my generous sister’s gift to me for my wedding, I now own a sewing machine of my very own which I love very much. I only wish I had had one earlier in my life. I have dozens of unfinished sewing projects, but I do try to pick up on them whenever I can afford to.

All in all, I just love most things that are related to home, including mundane things like doing chores. I absolutely love it when the home is squeaky clean and the place smells of floor cleaners and every form of household cleaner you can think of.

To be honest, I can literally be at home all day and just feel tremendously happy. It is my refuge and place of peace and happiness.

And I owe all of these inclinations to the women who went before me in my family line.

Deric and I were told there’s a possibility that our baby is a girl. If that is true, I certainly hope I will be able to pass on this love for the domestic front to her as well. It’s getting rarer these days, and I’d hate to see it lost forever in our bloodline.

Stolen

In every ordinary life, something stupid or unexpected happens now and then. Today was one of those days for me.

Having purchased a brand spanking new iPad mini, I took it out with me during lunch break today as I wanted to buy an accessory for the device (some form of a lightning cable, to be more precise) and also to get a SIM card for it.

Well, not only did I fail to get both those items, I actually ended up losing my tablet due to absentmindedly leaving it behind on the payment counter of a McDonald’s outlet that was situated right in the very part of Petaling Jaya that I grew up in: Section 14.

The fast food joint was particularly crowded at the time when I joined the queue. I hesitated for a few seconds and actually contemplated whether I should go elsewhere to get some food. But for some reason, I decided to stay. And to play a game on my iPad mini as I waited in line.

As I waited, a girl who I’m guessing is probably either a college or secondary school student entered the restaurant. She stood behind me and asked me if I was in fact standing at the back of the line.

I said “yeah” and gave her a look indicating my exasperation.

Then I spotted what I believed was a shorter queue and turning to her, I said, “I think there’s a shorter queue over there. Let me go check it out and if it is, I’ll let you know and you can come join it too.”

So I do just that, and I signal for her to join me. And continue my game on my iPad mini afterwards.

We did not speak to each other again, and soon, my turn came to place my order, pay up and collect my food. I placed my iPad mini on the payment counter and put my handbag on top of it. I was fully aware of what I did, but somehow registered in my mind that I will put it back into my bag after I had paid for my food.

But alas, somehow I forgot all about the iPad mini and left McDonald’s without it. I only realised it was missing when I had parked my car back at the office, and plunged into a state of alarm once I recalled that I had last had it with me while buying lunch.

Zooming back to the place I last saw it was of no avail. No one had apparently seen the device, although after making a police report and returning to the McDonald’s outlet to request to view the CCTV footage for that fateful hour when I lost it, I discovered that the person who had taken it was in fact the girl who stood just behind me in the queue.

From the video, it was obvious that she noticed the device and left it there for a good few minutes till her food arrived before she promptly picked it up and left with it.

I do not know who she is but it is obvious after so many hours that she probably intends to keep what isn’t hers in the first place.

It’s sad that there are people out there who are selfish enough to take for themselves something that doesn’t rightfully belong to them and worst still, did not even appear to care, just for a split second, how the actual owner of the property concerned would feel.

Yup girl, I was awfully nice to you and the least you could have done was to pass the device to the management at McD’s so they could give it back to me when I returned to ask about it.

Shame on you for taking it. I hope you get what you deserve for being so dishonest.

I shall refrain from voicing out any unnecessary rage or curses on the person concerned. Nevertheless I am extremely upset that I lost something that was merely a few days in my possession and which cost me a considerable amount of money. Sigh.

Well, guess I can’t say my life isn’t interesting.

Faraway fan

IMG_0444
© Susanna Khoo

Being a fan is tough.

First of all, there’s all the fuss about keeping up with the latest information regarding the artiste concerned. Then you’d actually have to listen to all their songs, and memorise the lyrics by heart.

Well, if you want to be considered a truly authentic fan, that is. (Some go through the additional trouble of buying merchandise to prove their undying loyalty, but to me, I guess that is optional).

Then, of course, there is the issue of distance. While some fans are awfully privileged to actually live in an artiste’s hometown or at least be able to catch them in concert every once in awhile, there are those of us who are cursed to never ever be able to catch a live performance of the said artiste throughout our lifetime. (Or for the duration of the artiste’s career – whichever is shorter :P).

Being a Malaysian, I happen to be one of those unfortunate fans. So many of the bands I love would likely never ever step foot in my country to perform. (Thanks to the awfully selective decision making tactics authorities. I suspect it’s something to do with their own music preferences. Or lack thereof).

So I have to resort to YouTube to get a glimpse into what these favourite artistes of mine would usually do at a live concert. Well, at least there’s that. We make do, us fans. But of course, wherever the budget affords, I’d travel overseas just for the chance to attend a concert. (Which is really going out on a limb for the artiste since he/she/they probably don’t even know where Malaysia is, and probably don’t even care or know that they have fans here).

However, there are some experiences which, for us starved foreign fans, may someday cause us to vehemently decide to relinquish our fan status for a particular artiste once and for all.

Here’s my personal list:

  1. Being unable to download mp3 tracks that are offered to fans for free on iTunes with the reason being that it is “not available in your country/region”.
  2. Realising that you can’t buy an album directly from the official website because they don’t ship to your country.
  3. Dropping a comment on an artiste’s social media page (be it Facebook, Twitter, etc) and never getting a reply of any sort.
  4. Writing fan mail and never getting a reply of any sort.
  5. The artiste is openly arrogant or disrespectful to others.

Okay, I’m not one who likes to rant online so I’ll leave it at that. But I can tell you that one of my most favourite artistes has done at least two of the above.

It’s sad that they may someday lose the fan they never knew they had.