Archives for category: Imperfect Everything

But I’ll not be blogging a while.

My photography thing is taking off well and I need to keep it in the air if just to be sane.

Things are not well at home but it will not be this way forever. One of my favorite things I say to people in grief, is this too shall pass. And I am saying it to myself.

Whatever choices I make, I hope you will support me, my Internets. Weak and in pain and vulnerable as I may be now – imperfect to the very last drop – I am strong because I am a Tai.

A little bit like a roach but ever more resilient. I will survive this.

Blog for love and peace, y’all. 

ps. before I go, here’s an oldie but a goodie.

There are photographers, and then, there are photographers.

Jim and his wife Lori wrote a wonderful little story about my blog and a book club I’d started and then the little preschool I helped to found just a few months after we’d moved here to our little town.

Many of you may remember this photograph that Jim took:

River Current News pic

I found out about Jim’s passing a few days ago and he’d already been gone half a year.

I did not know much of Jim, except that he took one of the best pictures of my family (one I’ve enlarged and put on cards and passed around until now). Lori was kind enough to share with me this link to his portfolio and I am humbled.

Here was someone who had dedicated his life to a craft I’m just starting to pick up. Words fail (or maybe I just don’t know enough of them) to describe the mixture of sadness and honour I now feel to have been one of his subjects, even if it had been only a while.

Rest in peace, Jim. I hope you’re still making beautiful pictures wherever you are.

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Summer is here! Rainier cherries are here!

Last summer, we discovered the wonder that is Rainier cherries. We already had our first two batches – and are still hankerin’ for more. They are plump, have that crunch on the skin and are sweet and juicy inside. Yum!

Be warned though. Over-indulgence yields unpleasant results down South…

We were sitting on some kind of field, overlooking a highway. It was dusk because the street lamps were on.

We sat, not speaking, and I looked over at him. He turned and smiled at me politely, his shirt collar flapping a little in the wind.

“I hope it’s not weird for you,” I’d said to him, but not looking at him. Instead, I was staring at the horizon, beyond the highway, the orange clouds, red sun, purple sky.

“No, don’t be silly,” he’d replied, that baritone voice so familiar.

“I just wanted to know why,” I finally asked. “I need closure, you know. It’s been, what? 20 years?”

“My God, it’s been 20 years,” he chuckled.

And then he tossed an invisible speck at the speeding cars. I looked over at him, a little shy because, well, it had been 20 years since I’d talked to the guy, much less sit this close to him.

I was shy, even for a dream.

He said nothing.

I became bolder.

“Did you know? Is that why?”

He smirked, bitter, hurt, as though suddenly remembering how it had felt to be confused, guilty, lost, at 17.

“You…sort of started it, you know?” he said, looking pained, at his feet. He was wearing shiny black shoes. Must be his training.

“Started what?”

“All the…confusion. It was hard for a 17-year old me to figure out why I couldn’t…you know?”

“It was the 80s. It must’ve been hard,” I said, genuinely sympathetic.

“And it was Ipoh. And you know my parentsla,” he said, almost whispering. I nodded, and we both fell silent.

We stayed silent for a while, as the darkness creeped over the landscape. Before I could probe further, someone called from behind. Apparently, the food was ready.

Standing, he helped me up and then looked at me.

“Maybe I have you to thank,” he said, trying to lighten the mood.

“I live to serve,” I responded, wittier than I would’ve been in real life.

Together, hands in our pockets, we walked towards our “friends” (I don’t think we ever had “friends”).

Both a little older, a little heavier and perhaps, a little less confused.

I woke up feeling as though a weight had been lifted – a 20-year old weight. Still, it is scary that something that happened in my teenage years can stay with me for so long, coloring everything I’d believed about myself, despite telling my own daughter that those things should not matter.

They have mattered for a long, long time.

I have been busy.

Busy taking pictures because I’ve decided it’s a good way to make a living (which is a bit of a stretch but one has to keep dreaming).

Busy running a preschool.

Busy taking exams and studying and finishing papers.

Busy writing, again.

Busy reading Tom Perrotta. And trying to wade through Middlesex (third attempt, audiobook this time).

Busy planning travel plans for the summer. As you know, just got back from Memphis with the hubby. Our third trip without the kids since two years ago. I know I promised pictures but the hubs has posted them on Facebook so I’m lazy to post them again.

We have two camping trips and one big huge fancy schmancy trip to Disneyworld, Florida, just two weeks away. And a trip to Vancouver, Canada. And perhaps another weekend camping. Who knows with us crazy Malaysians.

People often ask me where I find the time.

1. My in-laws are here.

2. My kids go to bed at 7.30pm each evening.

3. I don’t sleep much. It’s almost 2am now.

4. I don’t do these things all at once. Most of the time, I am shuttling my kids to school and back, grocerying (did I just make that up?), vacuuming and cleaning the house. I have pockets of time – when Sky naps and Rae is at school, or when both of them are at the computer, and after they go to bed, and I listen to audio books in the car and at home for the reading.

Does that solve the mystery?

And oh, I have Hermione’s Time Turner ($29.95 from Sharper Image). Useful little gadget.


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I walk down the oddly familiar hallway, because I’ve never been here before. Yet, I know where I’m heading, towards the large common area between the college library and the copying room. Students mill about, leaning on lockers, chatting; sitting on steps, reading, laughing. I walk slowly to the the copying room and take a peek. There he is, all six foot three, brown hair, white shirt with sleeves folded messily, cuffs exposed and flapping, black tie loosened at the collar, blue jeans, brown Land’s End sneakers.

He is talking to a chubby guy with glasses about some textbooks he’d purchased. They both look up as I enter. He gives me a quick smile and a nod, and continues to talk to the man who is clicking a mouse on a computer.

“So I think we need to change those today, before more of these books are returned and we can’t resell them,” says the guy in the white shirt, who moves towards me slowly but his attention still on the guy with the glasses, who is looking more irate with every click. Guy with glasses nods and grunts in agreement. Guy in white shirt looks up at me, smiles his gorgeous wide smile, and pecks me on my lips.


“Ready?” His voice is deep, instantly recognizable, boyish somehow.

I nod, smiling happily and we walk hand-in-hand into the courtyard. It is another sombre day but I feel fine. And then I look down. I see my dirty, light blue sneakers. My worn, stained sweat pants. My white tee has the morning’s peanut butter on it, and think I even smell…what is that? Yogurt?

Oh great. Where are the kids? And more importantly, where can I get a change of clothes?

Guy in white shirt looks at me, his lips set in a kind, contented smile. He doesn’t even notice my clothes, the sorry state I’m in. We head across the courtyard, chatting about something I can’t remember. He notices me looking at the old oil burn at the back of my right hand, an ugly brown scar from a kitchen fire that almost burnt the house down a few months ago, because I’d been making fried won ton.

Guy in white shirt lifts said hand up and kisses it, giving the scar a playful lick. I nudge him away, shocked. He pulls me closer, hugs me to him, and plants a kiss on the top of my head before tucking me into the crook of his neck. And in this tight embrace, we stroll to his car. Me, in my soiled, stained clothes and him, behaving as though I am the most beautiful girl in the world.

Sigh. What a guy.

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I caught a most interesting segment today on NPR called Put Your Money Where Your Girth Is, on how two Yale professors discovered a way to help people lose weight – by taking away their money. Imagine signing a contract with a website that takes away your money if you do not meet your weight goals. Sound far-fetched?

Check Stickk out.

Apparently, a similar program was implemented in the Philippines to help smokers quit.

“Through a local bank, the smokers signed agreements to put their cigarette money into savings accounts and agreed to urine tests. At the end of six months, if the tests showed they had nicotine in their system, their savings were lost — given to charity.”

Intrigued? I am. Let’s Stickk it out :). At the very least, the poor/needy will benefit from my lack of willpower.

“Ma, I wanna record my dancinglah.”

“Ah recordlah.”

“Wah, Ah Seng really can dance ah.”