Sunday, September 30, 2007

Enjoying Grandma's Table

KM's been at the table since he woke up. From before brunch, to after brunch, to tea time, past tea time... We're supposed to get ready to go for an afternoon swim at my parents, but he won't budge from the table! Waiting, waiting...
Seafood Picnic in a Bag!

We decided to have fish and chips at that nice little seafood place at Greenwood Avenue yesterday, but the seafood platter KM wanted was only available on their takeaway menu. So, armed with our picnic table all ready for such emergencies, we got our platter (fish, squid rings, scallops, prawn and chips) and clam chowder, found ourselves a small park nearby and had ourselves a wonderful, picnic lunch! Weekends should be like this.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My grandparents' marble dining table

It finally arrived this morning. I'd asked if I could have the table after my grandma passed ("What? That dirty, old table?!?" was my Uncle's response when I asked for it), and the Grand Council of Aunties and Uncles said I could.

It's not a big table. Measures just slightly more than a metre in diameter. The edges are chipped from normal wear, and the legs have been replaced once already. The current stand the table top is on now is very rusty and will have to be replaced again. Once we get it restored, it just might get a little smaller than it is now, but small as it might be, we somehow managed to get quite a number to sit around it at meal times, at least that seemed to be the case when we were little and the table looked so huge then.

Just about everyone in the family has had a meal there at some point in time. It excites me to think that soon, my baby will get to eat at that table too. And probably play under it like we did when we were young.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Experiments With Food :D

Salmon + Mushroom Melt

Yumms... Today, it's a muffin melt, simply because. :D Well, truth is, our maid's now here and since there's someone to clean up after my mess in the kitchen, why not cook more? Horrible me, I know. But lazy I am, and admit it I shall.

Anyway, melt was great, if I say so myself. And if you're thinking the picture looks like everything was slanting precariously to one side and could topple over, it's cos it really was. The tray was resting on my pillows.

The Countdown Begins!

At our gynae visit yesterday, we got the bed booked, and a "NUHMum" goodie pack from the hospital, with one free diapy (wah...), some magazines, instructions on what to pack to bring to the hospital, emergency numbers to call and charts to monitor fetal movement.

The countdown has started! And I'm beginning to feel the weight on my tummy (and back!). Owww...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dreaming Up To-Do Lists...

...that have absolutely nothing to do with work. Happens to the best of us I'll bet, but really, the longer my to-do list at work gets, the more I add to my other to-do list. And then, in an attempt to get all on the list done, I end up doing nothing, cos I just wanna sleep. Yes, that is the constant state I am in now. The state of wanting to sleep. All day, everyday. It's amazing how much I can sleep these days, but I have come to the point of NO GUILT. Heck it. The constant state of slumber helps with dreaming up to-do lists anyway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Impossibly Tired

Just when I think I've had enough rest, I would feel all sleepy again. This is getting to be impossible as Lauren gets bigger, I get more tired, and work gets more frentic. Sounds like a bad state to be in, though I won't say it upsets me very much. I'm just mostly contemplating all that has to be done (both at home and at work) and wondering (with great incredulity) how on earth they're all to be completed. In 10 weeks too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a tragedy.

I love mooncakes and look forward to having them once a year, but with baby being as fussy as she is, anything sweet makes me hurl now, so I have to pass on them this year. *sob* I'm looking longingly at the box of Tung Lok mooncakes my colleagues just got me to fish out of the staff room fridge now... *sigh*

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Out of Order

Dylan, being industrious as he can (occasionally) be, decided to help out at Por Por's wake by taking orders for drinks from visitors. He drew up a list of drinks we had and went round asking people for their orders. At our table, my friends requested Honey Fig juice. He came back shortly with the order and as he put the drinks down, confidently declared, "You're in luck! Those were the last 2 packets of Honey Fig juice. It is now out of order!"

Monday, September 03, 2007

More Memories...

While at my grandma's wake today (3 Sep 07), I recounted some stories of my childhood with my Por Por to my 2 younger cousins. Some of them took place at The Club. My cousins had not been born yet, and therefore had not the privilege of knowing that part of Por Por's life which I was so lucky to share.

Jade Bangle

Por Por is to be buried with her jade bangle which she had worn for so many years, it was practically permanently etched into her wrist. I remember having one too, when I was little. It was something I had asked for because I saw Por Por with it, and I simply had to have one just like hers. The ownership was a shortlived one though, because it broke soon after when I tripped and fell playing at The Club, and the jade bangle broke. I cried when that happen, not so much because of the fall, but because my 'Por Por Bangle' was no more, but Por Por told me that at least it was the bangle that broke, and not my arm. Good logic.

Butter Sugar Toast

One of the best treats Por Por would make us was buttered toast with LOADS of sugar sprinkled on. Por Por would take out blocks of cold butter from the fridge and with a knife, cut a perfectly even slice of butter from the block, laid neatly on a piece of toast. Then came the sugar - YUMMY! Cold, sugared butter on hot toast melting in your mouth was the best kind of teatime treat any kid could have.

Double Chin

I always enjoyed reaching out to touch Por Por's double chin. So soft and squishy, and so nice to play with! My parents used to scold me for playing with Por Por's double chin 'cos I guess, really, it was kind of rude to do so. But Por Por always let me, and she would laugh whenever I did. Just the kind of positive encouragement a kid needed to keep at something.


Never had being called "stupid" seemed so funny and not the least offensive. My Hainanese has always been just plain pathetic, and if there ever was one, singular word I knew well in the dialect, it would be "Bong-gahng" or "stupid". Now, in normal circumstances, being called "stupid" would most certainly upset a child terribly, possibly even leaving a deep, psychological scar. But Por Por never made me feel silly, stupid or dumb for not being able to speak or understand Hainanese well, even though relatives would often comment that "this one can't understand Hainanese, ah?" In fact, attempting to communicate with Por Por in Hainanese was always just so funny to me, I would often end my English-Mandarin-Teochew-spattered Hainanese (not forgetting frequent yells for help with translations to my dad) with giggles and a highly apologetic, "Nong di Bong-gahng" ("I am stupid"), to which Por Por would always say with a laugh, "Du di Bong-gahng!" ("You are stupid"). Never failed to crack me up. And I dare say this - I believe I inherited the love for languages from Por Por.

My Sister's Memories of Grandma

"If there is one word to describe my Ah Por, it would be “LOVE”.

"One image forever etched in my memory, would be her round face and double chin topped with her cheerful smile.

"My Por Por was such a loving, warm and generous Grandmother to me. Although she loved all her grandchildren equally, I always felt I was more special. Not because Por Por was ever partial, but I always felt like her only princess. With Por Por, I was always good and clever. She gave me so much confidence in myself and somehow made me feel I was capable of anything.

"Last night, I was trying to answer many of Dylan’s (my 8 year old son’s) questions about his Great Grandmother. I reminded him of a photograph in our family room with him at 2 years, sitting on his Great Grandmother’s lap watching TV together. I told him how lucky he was to be the only Great Grandson to have had that privilege for shortly after that, Por Por became too weak to sit up on her own. Dylan simply said, 'That’s because I was born earlier'.

"That very much echoed my own thoughts about how exceedingly blessed – you could even say unfairly blessed - I was to be my Phor Phor’s eldest Grandchild, just by being born earlier than the rest of my cousins.

"I spent much time in my early childhood with Por Por at the canteen she used to run in the Civil Service Club at Tessensohn Road. It was there I learned to take orders, collect money at the cashier, make and serve coffee and tea and toast. Ever so often I would go home with money in hand, generous handouts from my Por Por’s hard earned money. It wasn’t a good habit but Por Por was always so generous she spoilt me rotten.

"Some nights, I would sleep over in Por Por’s room and be awaken by the crows of chicken at dawn. One unforgettable morning, I woke up early and wandered to the games room all by myself and found myself starring eyeball-to-eyeball with Bobby the watchdog! I screamed and raced like a bullet train, shouting 'Por Por! Por Por!', with Bobby barking and hot on my heels. And of course, Por Por appeared just at the right time with a stern 'Sh!! Bobby!' and the stupid dog halted and shut up in an instant.

"My favourite memory of Por Por will always be of me sitting with Por Por and playing with her double chin. It was sure to bring a chuckle to Por Por and I loved the feel and bounce of her chin! Visits to Por Por’s house were always filled with hugs and kisses.

"Por Por was a fiercely determined woman who always worked and kept herself busy. In her last years, she was sadly bed-ridden after a fall but you would never hear her complain or give anyone a hard time. Because she first loved, and loved so much, she was deeply cherished and adored by her children and grandchildren. Because she first gave, and gave so much, she also received much and was highly respected.

"Though Por Por went through heartbreaking and painful moments in her life, she was always the bulwark for the family and never one to grumble. I learned so much from her character as I grew up watching and listening to her manage the family affairs (some of the issues were beyond my full understanding those days). She was always just, always compassionate, always considerate, always generous and sacrificial.

"I am so proud to have Por Por as my Grandmother, so blessed to be her Granddaughter. I spent time whenever I could visiting and praying for her when she became less mobile. Even in my limited and broken Hainanese I could say 'Por Por can I pray for you?' and Por Por would nod her head. And today I am at peace, knowing that she is safe and comfortable in Jesus’ hands.

"I love you forever, Por Por."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Another Passing in My Family

Grandma had been bedridden for many years now, following a fall she had after she'd stopped working at a hawker stall she used to run. In the last few weeks, I heard she'd been down with a bad flu, but was told not to go visit in case I got sick too, so I didn't. :( Grandma had also been non-verbal for a long while now, after a stroke some couple of years ago too. Any my Hainanese is just about non-existent, so most visits were spent just holding her hands and telling her all kinds of nonsense in my broken-Hainanese with all other possible languages and dialects I knew thrown in, much like I used to when I was little.

I never actually spoke much to Grandma, cos of my poor Hainanese, but my Grandma was quite the linguist. She always understood me anyway, whatever language I spoke. I guess running a hawker stall meant she had to understand a wide variety of tongues. Grandma could speak Mandarin and Malay, and understood English well enough. And she loved us lots.

As a little kid, I remember going down to the canteen she ran at the Civil Service Sports' Club every other day with my parents. She kept a huge black dog (which my sister was terrified of) at the sleeping quarters there where she spent most of her nights, and every time we went, she would make us thick slices of kaya and butter toast - the authentic type on a charcoal grille, better than any you'd get from killiney or Ya Kun. One of my fondest memory was going out on a trishaw ride with Grandma and my cousin on one of those visits to "The Club", as we used to refer to it, to do some marketing. My cousin and I returned with Herbie - The Love Bug - toys. Of course, my parents would always scold us for making Grandma spend money on us, but I'd always smirk in glee when Grandma scolded them in return. Grandma had all the right in the world to spoil us.

My paternal grandmother just passed on. My uncle, her primary caregiver, had called only a while earlier to tell us Grandma was very sick and we should all go over as soon as we could. Barely 10 minutes later, my mum called again to tell us Grandma had gone home. I'm just glad that she had, a few months before, accepted Christ. Nevertheless, I feel miserable that I never got to see her before she went. I'd been feeling so ill and tired the last few months, going down to visit her always seemed so difficult. How awful of me. :( And grandma never got to see baby Lauren too. :( This has just been a miserable few weeks.