For You, Daddy!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Silver Threads Among The Gold







This song is one of many Daddy sang when he played the guitar. It is also a piece I learned to play on the piano when I was 8.



Of all the YouTube offerings, I chose this one because the scratchy vinyl took me back to my childhood and our well preserved gramophone.


This post has nothing to do with that song, but towards the end (of this post), I have used the words ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ because they mean something in this post.



Let’s go for the gold … and silver, shall we?



D’ya remember I ended my last post,

Thank You

with this, um, cliffhanger?


The ‘All of you’ at the bottom of the sheet are not, um, any of you who happen to read this post.


So who am I speaking to?


What kind of lame#ss jerk would I be if I didn’t keep you hanging until my next post by answering your question with one of my own?



So we are now at the aforementioned “next post” and here’s what the … oooh, secrecy was all about.



From the day Mum fell, through her hospitalisation and recovery at home, I kept our family and friends abreast of Mum’s condition with newsletters via e-mail. I may not have a Facebook account or one on any social medium, but I’ll be d#mned if I can’t be in people’s faces with the goings on in my life. ;-)



The following text in brown is an excerpt from the last newsletter I sent out to my family and friends; when Mum was well and truly all grown up. I mean, when she kicked her walking cane to the curb and began speeding along on her own steam.



For you. And you. And you.: I mean, All of you.   

A message for y'all!

A message for y’all!





From Her Heart: Not just the bottom, but her whole heart.

With gratitude and appreciation.




This second attempt is a more clear shot of the scroll that Mum’s holding in the first picture. I’m still pants at taking photographs, and I did not realise I needed to be closer to Mum for you to read, um, my artwork. Look at the camera flash in the mirror? I’m not even amateur level. Oh, and how about my matchstick arms going all selfie and photobomb-ing this shot? L-o-s-e-r! That’s me. At photography. Only. ;-)



Oh, you don’t see your name on that list? Actually, those three people are none of you reading this newsletter. Nope, not even you, Chris, or mJ. Well, you’re mJ, not MJ. Those are other friends of mine and I had requested Mum to thank them for something else altogether. All of you reading this are the All of you mentioned at the bottom of the scroll.



Nah uh. Not so quick with the sulks. Just because you’re at the bottom doesn’t mean you are the least important. All of you have been mentioned in silver and gold. Those shades were by design, not coincidence, me lovelies.



Uh oh. I’m busted? I used the colours silver and gold for All of you, but I don’t like silver and gold jewellery? Um.  Yeah. You’re right. Kinda.



Being an oddball in the family for as long as I can remember, I’ve never been fond of gold (jewellery) even as a child. I took to silver in a big way in my teens. But I stopped purchasing precious or semi-precious metal and stones in 2000-ish. Um, because I jumped the tree hugging bandwagon and tried to do my bit by not bling-ing out at the cost of bleeding the bowels of Mother Earth.



A few years later, I got worse when I Blood Diamond-ed ( my thinking.



And now I’m beyond redemption with my marketisation of society* mania conviction.



*What Isn’t for Sale? by Michael J. Sandel, Harvard Professor



So yes, I may not buy precious metals anymore and I seldom use what little I have, but don’t let that take away from the fact that I consider All of you precious, k?



Your support – in person to those who could and the rest via other means – has helped Mum on her journey back to independence. It wasn’t easy for her, it wasn’t easy for me. A lot of times, it was downright exhausting for her physically and exhausting mentally for me. With prayer, and support from a lot of wonderful people including your lovely selves, Mum is … on the loose again! Ha ha!




Mirror, Mirror

 Me, Sis-in-law, Mum and Big Sis






It is Earth Day ( this month. Tuesday, April 22, to be precise.


You know the scroll that Mum’s holding in the very first photograph? I’ve written  the ‘Thank You’ message on the reverse, blank side of an old calendar sheet.

Did you baulk at the table fan in the last photograph? No? Well, it is 39 years (g)old. Now please baulk.



I’m notorious for squeezing the life out of my possessions and recycling whatever I can get my grubby ‘lil green paws on. :-)






Quoting directly from the site:

100% of the profits from the sale of this limited edition T-shirt will benefit Earth Day Network.











Thank you, Ray Ferrer – Emotion on Canvas and

Stephanie Eusebi Nutrition & Wellness, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, Kitchen Ventures, You’ve Been Hooked!, FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie” and  CLOUDS N CUPS, for liking my last post.




P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


















Saturday, 1 March 2014

Thank You

Filed under: Family,Friends — by For you, Daddy! @ 12:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,







This picture was taken at Big Brother’s who lives 7 km away from our childhood home. We had gone to spend the day with Big Bro’s family as it was their church feast.



This photograph was taken on Sunday, 26 January 2014. At the time, Mum was still using her walking cane.


Which means, she was still not completely independent at the time.  


Which also means, I was still fairly deep in caregiver mode.  


Which eventually means, I used the colours for your names – Chris, Elvie and MJ – with scant thought.



After I saw the finished product, I realised I could have chosen the colours differently; appropriately, if you will. 



To rectify that earlier lapse, when replying to the comments you left after my last post, I have accordingly colour coded your text below.  



Chris, the colour purple comes to mind when I think of you because of the banner on your blog.



Elvie, your blog is a riot of bright shades, so I’ve chosen the closest colour that my Yahoo Compose* palette offers me.



MJ, you of leprechaun descent, need I say more?! :-)



*WordPress does not accept any formatting that I do in Word. I have to format my posts in the Compose section of my Yahoo mail. So I draft my posts in Word, format them in Yahoo Mail and then post into WordPress. Three step tedium. And despite that 1-2-3 tango, WordPress does not allow all of the formatting I carefully select. Well, I get what I pay for, si



Mum, and my family for that matter, is quite used to me scribbling shout-outs like this. My family knows all my friends, so they were all curious about you, Elvie, because they assumed Chris and MJ were my guy pals they have met. I muttered something about you being my Filipina colleague from my Saudi Aramco days. Ha ha!



Then they asked what I was thanking you all for and why just the three of you. Because they knew that when I had sent out the newsletters with the news of Mum’s fall and later, her progress, all my friends and relatives had responded via e-mail or with calls and/or visits. I remember responding a little red faced with embarrassment for nearly being busted, but cannot remember what my exact lame response was. I just remember I didn’t accidentally blurt out about this blog. Whew.



Onto your kind comments and my trademark long winding replies. 





Every single story has a beginning at its end.



>Oh dear! So sorry to see this!

- Yeah, I was very sad for Mum the first few seconds when I realised she had a fracture because she lived such a full life until her fall.



>But, looks like she’s doing well all things considered.

- She is, Chris! She had a beautiful (= no unexpected hitches) recovery and she’s definitely got her mojo back now. Here’s proof.




All set for the stage!


This was taken on Sunday 16 February 2014,

the day of our chapel feast.

Mum participated in the group that sang

(and danced to) folk songs.

After nearly two decades

(looking after Daddy who had a stroke for 17 years

and then, till I returned home),

Mum resumed some of her former activities.

One of them is singing.



When Mum first rejoined this group of parishioners three years ago, she was the oldest. One of Mum’s friends, a former alto, who at 83, is older than Mum by a year, was inspired to join this year.

So this year, Mum gladly gave away her ‘Oldest Participant’ tiara to her pal (not in picture).



Bottom lines:

We are never too old to do things – old or new


We’re never too old to be exemplary citizens.  




>And what a beautiful mommy she is too…

- *blush* Thank you. I think my mummy is very pretty, too. And I’m so glad I don’t look anything like her because I’d positively die with all the comments she gets about her looks! Oh, don’t get me wrong – I love attention!



When I was younger, I basked in praise over my academic and later, professional achievements. Today I want to be recognised for other traits of mine. I’d rather people comment on my kindness, my trustworthiness or my humour; not something as fleeting and superficial as skin deep traits. Fortunately, Mum’s a lovely person as well.




- I’m a bit shy hugging someone I don’t know well, but you come across as a good person, Chris. Oh, and you’re such a cool mummy to have, too. So here ((hug)).





MY WORLD IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR! Paintings of my life’s journey, experiences, cherished memories, emotions, thought, ideas and other interesting stuffs.



>I hope Mumpty Dumpty recovers and back to normal soon.

- Mum’s no longer cracked! *grin* Her X-ray a month after her surgery showed a very faint shadow at the fracture site.



>Praying for you mommy !

- Salamat po, Elvie! I believe in the power of prayer, so yours were among all those that put Mum on the smooth road to recovery. 

Oh, more thing, Elvie – Happy Birthday to you!  
When I went looking for an image to wish you,
as soon as I saw this pic, I thought,
“Elvie bakes, and her doggies take the cake!”
I know your day will be filled with
sweet people, sweet pets and sweet things to eat!
Have an extra slice for me! :-)





MJ Monaghan

“It’s like taking a nap on that little rug when you were in kindergarten.”



>Hey, my friend. It’s been too long since I’ve been commenting on blogs.

- I know! (Screeched like Monica in ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’)



I kid. Since you last stopped by, you and your family, have been through the geographical and emotional wringer.



>So very sorry to hear about your mum. Hope she mends quickly and remains in good spirits. May God be with her.

 - And He was! God, I mean. I genuinely believe He designed her complication free recovery and that’s why Mum mended quickly and remained in good spirits throughout. :-)



>I also hope your life has been churning along nicely

- Churning. An appropriate word.



Renovations of the foyer, living and dining rooms began in September last year. (Preps for the same began a month earlier because we have a 189 year old home.)



Mum fell in November. With our interlude in hospital, work at home got interrupted and ended eventually on 16 December, a day before the first of family arrived for Christmas.



Having recovered from re-settling into those three front rooms, the master bedroom has begun being bludgeoned today. Estimated time to completion: nearly 2 months. Joy.



>and that you are well and healthy.

- Not surprisingly, I am! Not surprisingly because I’m very strict with my meal and rest times. And God has orchestrated the rest of my wellness.



>See you in February!!

- Well, you did see me in February, MJ. But not here; on my blog, I mean.  



I know I said this in my last post:


>Blogs, my own and yours that I read, will continue to sit on the back burner for the next three months i.e. until February 2014. That’s when Mum is expected to function absolutely normally on her awesome ownsome.  



I couldn’t post here on the 1st of February because Mum stopped using the cane that day as per her surgeon’s advice. But I still had to shadow Mum everywhere for almost all of last month. (That’s why I pointed out my headless self in the second photograph above.)



The transition to hands free mobility was expectedly filled with trepidation and protests. So the first two weeks I followed Mum around the house because we have single and twin steps between almost all our rooms. Mum has an arthritic right knee and after three months of comparative inactivity of her right knee joint (Mum fractured her right femur), she’d forgotten how to bend her knee and lift her foot high enough to get onto or over a step. When she didn’t do that, she stumbled. So I have had to constantly remind her to lift her right foot when required.



I had warned Mum not to get used to me accompanying her everywhere outdoors and that I would tail her for one month only while she learned the ropes again. It took Mum nearly three weeks to remember “the rules” without being prompted by my growls. Now she’s truly flying free –  indoors and out – without me in her wake. :-)  



Back to the three of you. In all likelihood, you could not read that sheet of paper clearly in the first photograph because I forgot to save a copy of the original, full resolution image for this post. So here’s a full res close-up that I had taken in case the text was too fine in the early photograph. Good move, Kate! Um, yes, I talk to myself sometimes. ;-)





From my mummy’s heart and mine to yours –








The ‘All of you’ at the bottom of the sheet are not, um, any of you who happen to read this post.


So who am I speaking to?


What kind of lame#ss jerk would I be if I didn’t keep you hanging until my next post by answering your question with one of my own?




Thank you, Tanner Hawryluk , and, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you,  Misslisted, FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie” and MJ Monaghan, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, MJ Monaghan, for liking my last post.




P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.











Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mumpty Dumpty

Filed under: Family — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , ,


Mumpty Dumpty walked past a wall
Mumpty Dumpty had a not-great fall
An orthopaedic surgeon, a team of nurses, and a physiotherapist
Worked hard to put
Mumpty Dumpty back on her feet again.



E-friends, it wasn’t just the saints who came marching in on the 1st of November. Mum was marching along at home, doing some routine chore, when her flip-flop got caught in the track of the patio sliding door and …  and Mum went for a toss!  



Right from the time Mum fell,

through her hospitalisation



Blinged out! Um, in.



to her recovery at home



Thrilled after her first post-op shower at home!



to her first visit outside our home,



In our chapel after Mass with two of her close friends in our neighbourhood.




Mum has been upbeat albeit with the normal anxious moment here and there.




The unexpected path Mum got on has been largely smooth, too, with the expected handful of wrinkles.



(Thank you, God, for averting the many problems that could have cropped up!)



So this is why, dear e-Friends, I haven’t visited your sites or commented all of last month.  



Blogs, my own and yours that I read, will continue to sit on the back burner for the next three months i.e. until February 2014. That’s when Mum is expected to function absolutely normally on her awesome ownsome.



Until then, thank you all for understanding.




Friday, 1 November 2013

Twoo Hoo!





Two years ago this month, I published my first post*.









This image is from

This image is from


This picture up here expresses more than

feeling a sense of accomplishment.

There’s a bit of surprise, too. 




As in, I’m surprised, and very pleasantly so I must add, that I even began blogging! It was not part of the plan years and years ago. Here, let me share what I thought of blogging all those years ago.




In 2008, I upped from China, my last pit stop away from home, and headed back home to be with Mum after Daddy had died. Shortly before I left China, I wrote a series of newsletters to my personal contacts and called it the Made in China series.




The first of the six in that series was titled Made in China: The Prologue. In this, I answered questions most frequently asked by my friends and relatives. Here’s Question Number 15 (I know! They’re a nosy lot! ;-) ) and my reply:  




Personal Contacts: 15. Why don’t you blog?




Me: Being the lazy broad that I am, below, I’ll copy one of my earliest personal responses to this increasingly frequently asked query. In early 2006, I wrote this to my friend who I shall call John Doe:



John Doe, I cannot blog. I just can’t. Put myself on the world stage. Ack!

Extreme shyness (not self consciousness, mind you) apart, I am who I am with people I know, and I’m a very different person around those I don’t know. This split personality, if you will, spills into my writing as well. I simply do not like my views being read by people I don’t know. I think it’s because I feel as if readers who do not know me will get gypped if they are exposed to a mere sliver of myself; a sliver I could very well doctor to come across as [positive personal trait]. We all know that I’m not just [positive personal traits] alone now, don’t we? Hee hee!    




You and almost everyone I know tell me I write well. Thank you; that’s lovely to hear. But you know, a big part of my penning stems from the fact that I can freely express my views to all of you because you know who I am and what I’m about i.e. my great and grungy sides. And you (all) accept me with all that.




I bare my soul in my e-mails and newsletters; be it about things I like, things that get me riled up or things that make me well up. For all that bravado in my mail to all of you, I’m very reserved around strangers or lesser known people. I’m secretive almost of my true feelings with those people, even if they (i.e. the feelings) are not controversial.




With people I don’t know, I can talk about superficial stuff *snapping fingers* easily! And I’m very good at phatic communication. But it’s not something I’m comfortable with. It’s not something I enjoy. In fact, I hate having that game face on. I do it enough in public places on a daily basis and when I’m travelling. There are times I deliberately make myself a supercilious git when speaking to new people, mainly to see how well they handle the offbeat side of me. 




I like writing. I enjoy it very much, but I don’t want my quirk to cramp my writing style. Oh, I do write on two public fora – a travel related one and a teaching one – under aliases. Duh.




I have gleaned a lot of helpful information from both those sites, and my way of giving back is sharing my experiences with others; yes, complete strangers. But on those two fora, I stick to the point when responding to queries and I’m fairly muted when expressing my opinion. I try to remain as neutral as possible, while staying true to how I really feel about whatever it is that I’m writing about.



Sometime last month, I read about websites where people can send their articles about, oh, anything, and they get paid for it. I am blessed that money has never been, and is still not, an incentive for me to write. If I were to take up something like that or even have a blog for that matter, I think I’d feel pressured to write regularly, pen profound persuasions or wax philosophical.



With my e-mails, it’s not like that. I blab about what’s on my mind, throw in a few personal anecdotes and opine vociferously. You know? It’s just like I talk to (any of) you. I spend much more time writing (personal) e-mails to people I know. Communicating with all of you this way makes me very, very happy. :-)





And that, dear e-buddies, was what I thought of blogging back in early 2006. And for the mere fact that I am blogging now (and have been at it for the past two years), I’m glad that I haven’t been as stubborn as I can aggravatingly be about blogging(, too).



I got into this blogging game (it’s never too late, yo!) for the same reasons* I have always written my lengthy personal e-mails, newsletters and contributed on some public fora (albeit always with an alias) i.e. to help someone with something I’ve learned or to make them laugh.



*Why and Why Now 



Before I began blogging and for a short while after I did, I was terribly anxious about privacy in a public domain (an oxymoron, I know), but not anymore. I am happy with the way I’ve maintained my privacy out here with those ugly Paintshop brush strokes across the eyes in images I share. Ugh, I know. You know that I also change the names of the people I write about.



This heard, not seen mode allows me to breathe easily and be myself here. Sure, I don’t share any of my problems with you because hey, what will my personal contacts do if I don’t give them, uh, the privilege the opportunity to worry about me and fuss over me, you know what I’m sayin’?  



So you, Silent Stalker; yes, you who’s contemplating blogging, but are plagued with concerns about privacy; I’m looking right at you. I’ve been in your I so want to, but I’m SO scared to shoes.



Do it.


Just start blogging.


You divulge as much or as little of yourself as you wish.


You choose the pace.



Two years ago, I started off posting fortnightly.  Then, at the beginning of this year, I switched to once a month*.



Reasons for the slowdown here:  

*A New Day Has Come



And nothing bad happened when I changed lanes.


Nothing bad has happened since I began blogging, for that matter.


Wait. Something did happen. Once. I can’t term it ‘bad’ though.



In a particular post, I had written about one of my personal practices. One commenter commented on the way I did a certain thing. This medium is not the best for communicatng, so I cannot say that the commenter meant to be judgmental. But I chose to feel judged by that commenter’s statement.



I know for a fact that I would have expressed the same sentiment very differently. But each person is different, I know, and each of us has our own unique way of getting our message across.



Hmm. Now that I think about it, I doubt I would have commented about something like that in the first place. To someone I know well? Yes. But I’d choose my words carefully so as to minimise the chance of my words negatively affecting the person in any way.



Because to me, different from me ≠ good or bad.

Different, to me, is *shrug* just different. Period.



But would I remark about something as that commenter did to me, even if worded nicely, to one of you or authors of other blogs I read? No. Simply because I do not know any of you at all.



Okay, not not at all; I do know something about my e-peeps.



I know a smidgen more than zilch about the people I hang out with online. 



So, what did I do then? About the comment that I was slightly taken aback with? Well, I approved that comment right away and I responded, too. I calmly explained my action that was judged commented on. 



And then, after I deliberated for a few days, I took this person’s blog off my RSS list.



I had RSSed this person’s blog because this person posted material that I liked. Actually, most of it was about things I am completely unfamiliar with …. which is exactly why I liked that person’s blog! I was learning new things!




When I have a choice, being comfortable in someone’s presence is of primary importance to me. So good material alone ain’t good enough for me to read someone’s blog regularly. The mode of delivery must be (my standard of) good, too.    



In real life, I do not like being around people who make me uncomfortable in any way. Oh, I am always open to all unsolicited criticism that comes my way because I know I have plenty of room for improvement in plenty of areas in my life. I also try hard to rise above the (perceived) criticising tones, look beyond the messenger and listen to the message.



But I grant very few people the privilege of being on the lookout for and pointing out my flaws. Usually, it’s only when I deem them worthy of correcting me.



It is very hard for me to gauge those of you I meet online. Your words are all I have. And in my experience, your words are enough to get a general idea of your personalities.



So when an online acquaintance ruffles my feathers in some way, they meet the same fate as most of the same ilk in the flesh – no second chance.



There, that one commenter who I chose to believe was unduly critical of me; that was the sole bantam blip in my brief bloggy being. Other than that easily ignored bit, these have been far from terrible two years for me.



The rest of my time here has been the exact opposite. People I’ve met here on my blog, and elsewhere via my blog, have been nice, all nice and nothing but nice since I began blogging. :-)  




This image is from

This image is from

This is how I see all of us together.

This is how I feel when I’m out here –

happy to be with all of you. :-)




So go on; O Sceptical One, give blogging a shot.



Everyone has something important to share




Everyone has something important to learn.





You matter.












Thank you,  Julian Sherman,  Marissa Riback,  Project Light to Life and Gotta Find a Home, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, The Ranting ChefMisslisted, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post. 

Thank you, The Ranting Chef, Work Less Live More, Brandye Dague,  Misslisted, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post. 





P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  





Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Cuts Like A Knife

Are you thinking of this? 

F~R~R~R~R~E~E~Z~I~N~G! (As in, ‘The Hot and Cold’ game.)
This post has nothing to do with him. Or even music.
So why is the title of one of his albums (and one of his songs as well) the title of this post?
Swooning done. Time to chop-chop ahead with this post.
Partoku knife.
“Par-what-ku knife?”, I hear you say? Okay, not you; I heard myself blurt that (out loud, too) when, about two weeks ago, I read a review of a set of knives on The Ranting Chef’s blog:  
Food…cooking…eating….tools – What works, and what doesn’t!
This post, to be precise.
Like a whole lotta things I’ve never heard of before, I hadn’t heard of Partoku knives. So off to Google I trotted, and the next nearly half-hour galloped away as I whizzed through a handful of stories of how some knives are born.
I went back to The Ranting Chef’s blog to thank him for introducing me to that fascinating slice in the world of knives. There, as is my usual habit, I read through all the earlier comments. In the last comment, the commenter posed a question about the knives. I knew that answer immediately. And all the pages I was reading about Partoku knives were still up on my screen.
Now instead of being like that annoying kid in class whose hand pops up to answer every question the teacher asks, I became like the even more annoying kid and …. blurted out the answer …. with the URL as well! Proof of my annoying behaviour in the comments section of that post.
To put it in context: I answered a question, about a part of the post, put forth by a commenter, to the owner of the blog.  
That is not proper (n)etiquette. I know that. Daddy and Mummy taught me so. I learned well, too.
So why that fit of misbehaviour? Because I knew I could.
I knew I could answer that question and not worry about getting my wrist rapped.
And I knew I could write this post without giving him a heads-up or seeking permission to mention his blog
I know The Ranting Chef’s a cool dude.
Nope! Just like you; yes, you reading right now, I do not know The Ranting Chef at all. I RSSed his blog nearly a year ago. (I think.) From his posts, I figured he’s a cool dude. Am I clever or wot?! Actually not.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” ~ Lao Tzu
Ever since I began reading The Ranting Chef’s blog, his words have been consistently cool dude-esque. Therefore, I’m pretty certain his character is cool dude-esque, too.
To me, a cool dude is, among other things, a dude* who is down-to-earth, loves his family, never says anything mean about/to anyone, and is kind.
I find that that’s The Ranting Chef, through and through, and I find his posts wholesome. The ‘Ranting’ part of his name is a misnomer, really.
*Incidentally, I think of a dude as a person; not someone of a specific gender. After all, Dawg calls me ‘Dude’.  For his own reasons which are completely different from mine.
The importance of kindness is not often emphasised once we leave the cocoons of our high schools and our neighbourhoods.
George Saunders (New York Times bestselling American writer. Born 1958.) does this in a commencement speech earlier this year.

Wait, there’s more!
The Ranting Chef is so da cool dude, he even thanked me for being that even more annoying kid who pipsqueak-ed the answer to the question before he could!  
To me, someone like that, is non-egotistic and generous in spirit.
And peeps, do I dig such peeps?!     
So this is the reason, I chose to write about The Ranting Chef this month.
Oh, and another reason.
Okay, you know how I’m clever all the time, right? (All together now: “Yes, Kate.”)
But do you also know I can be brilliant a lot of times, too? (Once again, all together: “Totally, Kate.”) 
Well, this is one of those classic times I’ve been so clever and so brilliant that, only 10 days ago, did I realise that I should have told you about Diced! a long time ago. :-(
The Ranting Chef has something called a Diced! competition on his blog and it’s open to everyone.
Essentially, you pick a recipe, cook it, take piccies of the process and the final product, weave it all into a lovely story and submit to participate in the competition. Oh, there are rules an’ all. But those are simple and creatively challenging. That’s why I like … reading the submissions!
(Since I moved back to be with Mum, I have the luxury of help once again. So I let them do their thang because I enjoy cuisine from my childhood days. And I like being fussed over. :-) )
The Ranting Chef‘s blog is in the middle of one such Diced! event, so you can’t participate at this juncture. Worry not though. You could join his legion of seven-thousand-and-who’s-counting? followers to tune in for future competitions.
Or you could be like me, and visit The Ranting Chef’s blog to enjoy learning much more about food-as-sustenance-alone. :-)
::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  :: ::     WELCOME BACK, MJ!  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::
One of my favourite bloggers is back! After months and months and months of silence!  
I know this isn’t, and hasn’t been for a while, the easiest of times for you and your family, MJ. Warm thoughts and prayers from afar.
I’ve truly missed your good-natured banter, tales with a moral and clean humour. You never budged from my RSS list. :-)
mj monaghan
A steeping cup of infotainment.

Thank you, Misslisted, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, Misslisted, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.




P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Age Is Just A Number


This image is from




And for Mum, that word is ‘blessed’.



Mum believes that she is blessed from the time she wakes up each morning to the time she retires to bed at night.



I think, we, her brood, are blessed to still have Mum with us.



Mum celebrated her birthday last month.




Ain’t THAT sweet!

In keeping with tradition, we began Mum’s special day at Mass in our chapel.

Mum outside the chapel after Mass.
Ginger Snaps, the chapel kitty, is behind Mum’s right hand. Yup, I named G-Snaps. :-)




Tradition continued with breakfast at this restaurant that my parents visited even before I was born.




L—>R: Sis-in-law, Mum, Big Sis, me.




On her birthday, Mum gets a lot phone calls and of drop in visitors during the day. That leaves her exhausted at the end of the day. When I returned to the nest five years ago, that first year, I noticed how washed out Mum was just when her celebrations were set to kick into high gear with dinner. The very next year, I began a new tradition.



A sit down dinner with the immediate family on Mum’s birthday itself.




The family that eats together ….




The formal dinner for relatives and friends is later in the year when everyone is back in town. (Mum’s birthday falls on a national holiday during the holiday period.)



At first, there were a few murmurs about the celebration being months after her birthday. Meh, used to ‘em murmurs. My concern is Mum.



I want Mum to be happy having people important to her to celebrate yet another year with us


I want Mum to have the energy to do so.



So having the dinner on a Saturday night during the non-holiday period and when she gets to rest earlier in the day, was the solution.



As with some of my other “madness”, this ‘tradition’, too, caught on with a few other people we know. :-)



Oh no. You know. This post is lame. And you also know why.



So are you jealous? Of all the fun I began having three weeks ago? Preparing for the renovations in our foyer, living room and dining room that will begin in two weeks?



I’m pumped! For Mum’s sake.



Daddy got a stroke in 1990. Our home has not had any touches, none, unless they were absolutely necessary, from the time Daddy got the stroke to the time he passed away 16 ½ years later in 2006. Mum refused to let herself get distracted with trivial issues like maintaining the pretty home she was known for or even getting modern appliances. (Look again at the photograph of our dining room above.)



Since Mum lived alone (with the house help; no family) until I returned, she did not attempt anything on her own either after Daddy passed away. Completely understandable.



Two years ago, before I began this blog, I got the kitchen and Mum’s master bath ripped apart. Mum was delighted to have a gleaming new space with more practical and convenient amenities. Now that she has recovered nicely from that upheaval, it’s time for the three front rooms of our home.



Oh, our home is 182 years …. young, so there’s a little bit of emotional upheaval, too, for all of us.



Now for messages to you, my regular commenters, The Hook and Elvie Rose, since I’ve been silent on your blogs for the past month nearly. Really? Yikes! Time sure flies when I’m having fun! ;-)



Hook blogs at


You’ve Been Hooked!




The Book of Terrible



Hook, I’ve not said peep for a while now, but I’m still stalking ya! I read your posts, look to make sure that all is quiet on the Western front, heave a sigh of relief for all of you and go about my scurrying way.



Elvie blogs at





Elvie, I’m very pleased with all the fun you’re having with your new toy oven. :-)



When I read this line from one of your recent posts:

>This week the Philippines once again experienced the wrath of “Habagat” (Southwest monsoon). Manila and most parts of Luzon submerged in water due to heavy rains.

>Rescuers pulling a rubber boat in Las Pinas City. Filipino Bayanihan spirit in action.  Bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation

- I knew exactly what you meant by ‘bayanihan’, Elvie!



During my time in Saudi Arabia, my Filipina friend, Fleur, and her group of friends warmly embraced me as one of theirs. One of the many nice things that struck me about the Filipino community was your ‘bayanihan’. I was blessed to be part of that community during my years in Aramco.



And now back to y’all.



Thank you all for bearing with my rather flat post, but look, it’s short, innit? Hooray perhaps?





Thank you, Tash Thomas and Equatours, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, Equatours, FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie” and LEAF AND TWIG, for liking my last post.




 P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  

Thursday, 1 August 2013

And The Mountains Echoed




So you know that in June, Mum and I went away for a break. Over three weeks, we visited family in two cities and holidayed with friends in two mountain towns.



We travelled over hills




And rolled across dales.




We watched Liam work his magic with homeless boys

This ‘flow chart’ is what changes a child’s life.
Liam believes, not just in second chances,
but in giving a chlld
seventy times seven chances.




 And gaped at Godbaby twist and not shout during her Capoeira workouts.

Godbaby: Après change of hairstyle




Mum hung out with her girls

L–>R: Godbaby, Mum, Big Sis
Godbaby: Pre-change of hair style




And we huddled around two ageing relatives whose photographs I have chosen not to share in a public space in an effort to afford them dignity that has fallen victim to the ravages of ageing.



I am aware that this is the fate of some of us when we approach certain chronological milestones, and it makes me incredibly sad to see how helpless some unfortunate people are against physical decline that technology has not conquered yet.



This trip was no holiday per se, for me. As I wrote to a friend on return:  



Our trip was a good diversion from routine, although not entirely a relaxed break for me. Mum, 82, is very independent, but since we were in new-to-her-at-this-age places and she does not voice her preferences/displeasures as loudly as I do, I had to constantly think of where she’d need physical assistance and I had to ensure her meals/snacks were on time. Like me, Mother eats every two to three hours. Like me, too, she begins to wilt when she gets hungry. Unlike me, she doesn’t turn cranky. You know what I’m talking about. Yup, I’m still the same. ;-)



Before we left, I didn’t think of this trip as a break for me, so I wasn’t disappointed to not get to do what I wanted to at all times. I’m just very happy for Mum because the change of scene was a good boost for her already active life. .  



But I was away from routine and that made a few things come to light, especially when we were ensconced at Liam’s in the mountains. I’ll list three of them below. 




I. I realised I did not need that break. Because I wasn’t tired.  


Before we left, I had looked forward to getting away because I had not been on a holiday in 14 months. (Extra long weekends to neighbouring states do not count.) I wasn’t exactly tired before I went on the trip, but I did not realise how tired I was not until the third leg of the trip.



Before we left, I was looking forward to ‘unwinding’ and feeling ‘refreshed’ on the trip.



And nothing happened.



I then realised that it was because I wasn’t tired.



And I wasn’t tired because I plan, prioritise and pace all the activities I can when I’m at home.



I literally pencil in simple chats over coffee (for her) and green tea (for me) with BFF Two at my place or hers even though we meet at least once a week.



I feel nothing when I have to cancel plans to catch a movie or a play with friends when another friend calls and desperately needs a pair of ears for her woes.  



I am strict about when my personal contacts can call me for non-urgent matters. Before 8 a.m. and not after 8 p.m. Emergencies excepted. (It’s lights out at my casa at 9.30 p.m. and I wake up at 5.30 a.m.)



I am very strict with myself and the time I spend on line.



Writing personal mails tops my list of priorities. If I find myself interested in a new article or site, I squelch the slight twinge of disappointment that I could not ‘flip through’ some of my daily reads, which are primarily online newspapers.



I’ve RSSed a little over a dozen* blogs. At first, it was awfully hard for me to refrain from commenting on new blogs or even the ones I read regularly. I know how much I like receiving a ‘Like’ or a ‘Comment’ on my blog, but that’s not good enough to spur me to do the same on everyone else’s I read when I’m crunched for time.



I am just as strict with my time for myself as I am with others, be it in person or cyberspace. 



“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ M.K. Gandhi  


*You want to scoff at the miniscule number of blogs I’ve RSSed? I’ll give you more fodder, friends! I do not have an account with any networking site**. Oh, dear. I’ll give you a few minutes to recover from that anticlimactic truth.



**I have access to Big Sis and BFF One’s Facebook accounts. The only time I stroll around there is with Mum by my side so that she can catch up with our relatives/family friends and my school era friends, respectively, around the world. (BFF Two lives in China and therefore, does not have access to Facebook. In any case, she’s like me; prefers deeper interaction with a small group of personal contacts.)



Five years ago, when I returned to live with Mum, people around me here slowly became acquainted with my unflinching firmness that they were not familiar with because I had left when I was a teenager. My rigidness was teased gently by most and I smiled sweetly in response. But stood my ground. I was ridiculed by a few, seethed inwardly in their presence and railed against them to my Core Four (i.e. the four people – a mix of family and friends – I am closest to). But I did not budge.



My body, my life, my rules. Period.



Five years on and I’m revelling in the results. I am not tired nor do I tear my hair at the end of the day. Or even at the end of 14 month holiday drought. :-)




II. I stayed true to my intention of switching to ‘Unplug mode’ and I was okay. I was more than okay; I was absolutely fine being completely immersed in the real world. ^_^ 




I checked mail three times in the twenty days we were away. I had access to a computer everywhere we went, but I just did not feel like checking my e-mail.



I did keep track of my Core Four once a day with whoever’s Crackberry or Smartphone was at hand. But those were not my customary prolonged exchanges. Via a common message, I reached out to check that they were okay and to brief them on the highlights of our day.



Each of the three times, I wrote mails to my friends who were hurting in some way or who were celebrating a birthday that day.



Here’s an excerpt from a birthday mail I wrote to a friend: 



Mum and I are still in [the name of the state we were in at the time]. In fact, this is the first time I’ve checked my mail in 8 whole days. I know! If it wasn’t your birthday, Friend, I wouldn’t have even logged in today. I am enjoying NOT writing as much as I enjoy writing my regular reams!  




III. Before I returned home, I had a pretty detailed plan of what I would have liked my life to be like here after being away a few decades. Some things fell into place. Some did not. Actually, some of the big ones did not. I was angry, frustrated and …. angry. Yes, I know I’ve repeated ‘angry’. That’s because I was angry a lot.  



Three years later, I realised the anger was harming me, first of all, and only me for the most part. Thank goodness, I’m a narcissist. I decided to stop being angry because I do not like pain.



When I calmed down, I began to think of other options to fulfil my potential. And options came my way. Not always the ones or the way I had imagined, but they were options nonetheless.



I tentatively dipped my toes, loved how refreshed my soul felt and dove right in. And I’ve been doing swimmingly ever since. Hallelujah!




I am telling this without a sigh

Not ages and ages hence, but now   

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –   

I took the one not imagined by,   

And that has made all the difference.


Dear Robert Frost, thank you for inspiring me with your ‘The Road Not Taken’.

Also, I’m dreadfully sorry I’ve plagiarised and spifflicated your venerable lines.  




Liam, friend of our family, is a Salesian priest. Recently, he was transferred to a mountainous part of the country where he heads a shelter for homeless boys. His institution also has a fruit and vegetable farm, a chicken farm and a piggery on the same sprawling property.



While each of the four places Mum and I visited on this holiday is special to me, I will share my favourite moments from when those mountains spoke to me. 



1. Feeding the pigs. I used to feed the pigs a snack every day. I’d gather all the ripened apples from the ground in a pail and toss them to the pigs. Oh, I was so very tempted to hand feed them, but warnings from the elders and common sense got in the way of my fun. ;-) 



I called the littlest pig, Babe. Babe was one greedy, little piggy. 



Being the lightest on his little pinkish tinged feet, with shocking speed one day, he grabbed the first apple I threw in. Then he grabbed the second apple as well … with the first still in his mouth! Not satisfied with two apples stuffed in his mouth, he darted between the big pigs and lunged at the third one! What a pig pet!



“Babe!” I admonished. “This is exactly how you will land up on a dining table, roasted to golden perfection with that d#mned apple in your gob.” Warning in vain, for sure.  



2. Playing with a glow worm. One patch of the massive grounds had openings in the mountain walls. Those ‘caves’, as I called them, were filled with glow worms. Then Liam picked one up and asked if I wanted to hold it. I froze while the thing wiggled in my hand. Gradually, I began to, um, thaw and I think I managed to stroke it, too. Aww. 



Watching all those glow worms was a treat. Playing with one made me want to flicker, too. I declared that they flickered because they were happy. So was I.  



3. Seeing thousands of newly sprouted wild saplings. One late afternoon, Liam, a colleague of his and I went trekking to the summit of the lowest mountain in the neighbourhood. I opted for the unbeaten, rough slope. I had trekked in that region a few years ago in summer and I knew those grounds are dry and barren at certain times of the year. 



I was shocked and delighted to see how much lies asleep until the rains come and wake them up! I rarely get to see newly sprouted plants. Seeing a huge carpet of them was pure joy. Like the glow worms, I insisted the sprouts were happy (to wake up).  



4. The view from the edge of a cliff. Not too early one morning, Liam took a group of his visiting colleagues, Mum and me for a drive around some of the scenic spots. He took us higher up the mountains towards a dead end. More of a dead drop, if you ask me. He had said the view of the valley below and the smaller peaks that stretched almost into the horizon, was a beautiful one. 



But when we got there to the edge, it was very foggy. Clouds of mist swirled around us and we barely saw land anywhere ahead of us; mostly fog.  



And that’s exactly why I enjoyed that moment. 




I love the mountains, I love the mist.

I had both there.

That magical moment up in the mountains

was my most favourite moment

of all the other non-family/friends times

I spent on this holiday.





::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  :: ::     CONGRATULATIONS   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::


Fresh off the press! Fresh off the press! The Hook got Freshly Pressed!


Here’s the article:


An Open Letter To Ellen DeGeneres


Hook, what I’m most excited about you getting Freshly Pressed is, that this, getting Freshly Pressed, was one of your many little dreams. And it gone done come true! Woo flippin’ hoo!


You’re next, Hook And Family’s Other Dreams! 


Thank you, Shogun 360°, Iaconis and JIMMY 2 HATSfor signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, Shogun 360° Marketing, You’ve Been Hooked! Dog Leader Mysteries and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.


Thank you, WordsFallFromMyEyes, for liking and commenting on my post titled ‘Loves’ Labours Not Lost’. 




P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  







Monday, 1 July 2013

Comment Ça Va?



Bien, I hope, mes amies?



(For those who do not understand French:

Comment ça va? = How’s it going?

Bien = Well/Fine/Good.

Mes amies  = My friends. )



What’s with the jingle-jangled English-French?



Well. It’s Canada Day today. So ‘Happy Canada Day!‘ to my handful of Canuck readers!



Is that why I bilingual-ed ?



Um, no.



Okay. I am too lazy to pretend much longer, so I’ll spit it out – this post is based on a reader’s comment, and I tried to hint at that in the title.



“Huh”, you say?



Right. I’ll explain.



As mentioned in my last post,

Listen to Your Heart

I was away on a 3-week holiday with Mum. Since I got back a week ago, I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to work on the topic that I had slotted for this month’s post.



I like to enjoy everything I do, my routine activities included. I do not like stressing myself out in any which way and I don’t like giving whoever or whatever less than my best. Hence, I’ve mastered the cunning wonderful art of pacing myself and prioritising.



Since I wasn’t in a mood to cobble together a regular post


Since I owed The Hook a reply to the comment he had left on my previous post

Two birds + One stone — Bam! —> This post!

Comment ça va indeed! ;-)



Thank you, Hook, for bailing me out letting me reply to your earlier comment in this post. Take a bow:




You’ve Been Hooked!  

Observations from the trenches….




The Book of Terrible

Shining a Light on Mankind’s missteps…




The Hook and I have a few things in common. One of them – we love dogs. So does Bestie Boy.




Yes, this … this … is my friend.
And that’s the family pet.




Bestie Boy attended a doggie event over a recent weekend. Here’s an excerpt of his experience.



Bestie Boy: The annual Dog Club garden party was one of the weirdest ‘little [Name Of His Country]‘ events I’ve ever been to!  Literally hundreds of dogs running about sniffing each other’s ars#s and gobbling sausages and cake … what better way to spend a Sunday?



Fortunately, my other friend, The Hook, is tame and well behaved.



Hark! Check out ze cutie!




Meet The Hook’s doggie.
Call her Chelsea. She’ll respond to you.




Get this! Chelsea speaks! Like, for realsies, people! Check out her bow wows here:



Two Guest Posts For The Price of One!



Back to The Hook.



Chelsea’s Handler had a medical crisis in the family recently and he has written an uncommon, practical list of battle acquired tips after his too-close-for-comfort encounter.



If you happen to be in the same unfortunate boat, I recommend you head over to

The !ndie Chicks

and read:

The Hook’s Guide To Being A Medical Wing-man



Now, onto the comment and response.



Hook’s Original Comment

Kate, Thank you for the musical therapy, the journey through time, and for just being you. Be well, my friend. We’ll talk soon. The Hook.



My Response

>Thank you for the musical therapy,

- You’re welcome, Hook!


It is fitting that you use the word ‘therapy’. I thought of an article I had read that explained the science behind the therapy of music. Title, link and a key quote next.

Why Your Brain Craves Music

“When we’re listening to music, the most advanced areas of the brain tie in to the most ancient.”


>the journey through time,

- I’m glad that you enjoyed your flashback. I felt good, too, going back two decades while working on that post.  


I was quite a big Roxette fan(atic). Aped Marie Fredriksson’s moves, outfits and hairdos. I stopped at bleaching my spikes blonde though.


>and for just being you.

- Well, yes, I can be nice for the most part. Just make sure you don’t catch me when I’m hungry or angry. ;-)


>Be well, my friend.

- I was, Hook. Still am.


>We’ll talk soon.

- We certainly did! Thanks for putting up with the outta sight chatter, too, especially when you and the family were embroiled in:

The Past is Behind Us. The Future is Out of Reach. So Live for Today.


>Glad to hear you and Mum had fun.

- The fun bits were guaranteed, so to speak, but that our travels across 4 small towns/cities were mishap free is something I am very grateful for. 


 I’ll spare you yet another 1,000 words and let Mum’s smile say it all. 




Still smiling when we landed a rustic town after a 14 hour train ride.

Oh, look! By responding to a comment here, I’ve managed to cobble together a decent post!



A novel concept? Not likely.

Convenient? Most definitely.

Cunning? Um, comment ça va, mes amies?




Thank you, ArchangelTravel and GLENN FOLKES, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.




P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Listen To Your Heart




Oh, hello Internet! Couldja please indulge me while I … I … I’ll be back in five! Wait! I mean, 5:04!



I simply gotta, hafta, cannot NOT listen to my <3 …..



*bouncing off my chair*





Song: Listen to your heart

Artist: Roxette

Album: Look Sharp!

Even here at home, with my little, humble speakers, I can remember the bass thumping the club floors all those years ago.



Thank you, Internet, for waiting patiently while I danced (YET AGAIN!) to that Roxette number in the vid above.




The month of June – past, present and future – has a few things that are important to my heart. Hmm. That’s just like all the other months in the year. Never mind. Since it is June now, I will list 3 of those important-to-my-heart things in the month of June here.



The order of the events I talk about in today’s post is:  

Future i.e. ongoing

Present i.e. soon-to-be present







It is World Environment Day on 5 June.

And you know I lurve ma otha mutha AKA Mother Earth.




Lovely pic, innit?
I stole it from

This picture reminded me of one of the few times in my life I felt my jaw slacken in awe. 

It was when BFF Two and I flew into Ürümqi, 

the capital of Xinjiang Province in North-West China. 

Shortly after the craft had begun descent,

I glimpsed similarly majestic mountains for the first time.







I live with my mother. Yeah. I’m one of thoseA parasite single. Bite me.   



I like hanging out with Mummy. Tomorrow, Mum and I will leave on a 3-week holiday. During this time, we will visit a few relatives who are now housebound owing to age-related incapacitation, and we will spend a week in the mountains with friends.



I ought to be anxious about this trip because this is my first long distance trip with Mum since 2006. Mum is bearing down on 82 now, and predictably, has slowed down a good deal since we traipsed across the Far East 7 years ago. Two years ago, Mum visited The Holy Land and parts of the Middle East with friends, but this unholy Jane did not tag along. Mum did very well on that trip and that is probably why, I am more excited than apprehensive about travelling with my older parent now. Meh, I won’t mess with my head-in-the-sand brain. ;-)




Mum singing ‘Tennessee Waltz’ at her 80th birthday do nearly two years ago.
This song is one of many that Daddy and she enjoyed waltzing to.




Oh, since we’ll be outta here early tomorrow morning, if any of you* leaves a comment, I will only approve your comment, but not respond until we get back. I switch to ‘Unplug Mode’ in general every chance I get when I’m on holiday. Thank you for understanding.  


*I’m looking at you, Hook, and Elvie Rose. :-)



Hook’s, um, hooked up at:


You’ve Been Hooked!  

Observations from the trenches….




The Book of Terrible

Shining a Light on Mankind’s missteps…



Elvie Rose blooms at:



MY WORLD IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR! Paintings of my life’s journey, experiences, cherished memories, emotions, thought, ideas and other interesting stuffs.







Below is an excerpt from the newsletter  I sent out to my (personal) contacts in June 5 years ago. To be precise, I sent that newsletter on Friday, 27 June 2008. That date is significant to what I’ve referred to in the excerpt next.





Guess who’s my latest Hero of the Day?




This image is from ‘All Things D(igital)’.

When looking through Google Images for a picture, this one cracked me up.




Bill Gates. Yeah, THE Bill Gates.



I’m a decade too l8, you sneer? Oh. Actually, I didn’t much care for him during his reign as the human Uncle Scrooge.



[In the last annual listing of Forbes Fictional Richie Richs, Scrooge McDuck takes the top spot. 


The Forbes Fictional 15


( ]



Sure, Bill opened the floodGates in terms of technology in our daily lives and I tilt my hat appropriately to that.



But he’s landed on my ‘Wow’ list now because today, Friday, 27 June 2008, is his last working day at the almighty Microsoft. (Apologies, MacUsers!)




Nate’s a Mac user. It’s his birthday this month.




As you all know, Bill Gates is leaving that daily grind to focus on his charitable foundation. And that’s what elevates him in my eyes.



Why should he care about the underprivileged around the world?

I mean, why should he care as much as he does?

Doesn’t he have the world to run? 

The top rung to keep warm on that Forbes list? 



Those things might have been important to him earlier on, but apparently, not anymore.



There must be others like me, who cannot believe he’s chucking aside all that to pursue something less glamourous in the eyes of the business world mainly, but I admire him now for having the courage to follow his passion and go after what’s important to him.



I’ve got to add, that I believe, that what he’s going to do now on is no more significant than anyone who places their own personal happiness over the perceived standards of the world.



For instance:


A person who chooses to give up a powerful position at work to become a stay-at-home parent. 




A jet-setting professional who gives up a lucrative career to live on a farm. 



To me, (the examples of) the two people I’ve cited above are just as heroic.




I believe


the most important thing


for me

to direct my listening inward,

tune in to my heart



what my little ticker tells me

is likely

to make me





While doing what makes me happy, be it something elementary or eminent, if someone else can benefit, too, even better, me thinks! 



Bill Gates is yet another person I know of who listened to his heart.




For opening the Windows of the world to us




For being yet another person to propel me to listen to my heart,


‘Thank You’,




‘Good Luck’  

With your new “career”, Mr.Gates!





Thank you, Taking Back Earth, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 





Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Loves’ Labours Not Lost

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , ,



Today is International Workers’ Day.



May 1 is also called Labour Day in some parts of the world.




This image is from




Last May Day, I wrote about some of the wonderful people who toil to make my life comfortable. That post is titled:


With A Little Help From My Friends




This post is about a few others who earn their living by making my life easier.



And it’s about what I try to do to ensure they receive a little additional gratitude. Hence, the twist of that Shakespearean story in the title of this post.



I am a little biased towards helping people I know personally. There is a need everywhere in the world, but I have found that, when I enforce my ‘Charity begins at home’ mantra, the personal interaction with my clients (as I call the beneficiaries) fulfills a certain emotional need in me.



Remember I said this a while ago?



I will share some details of my work with my cousins in a future post. Oh, don’t worry about making me cross my heart. I will brag. :-)



In my first post of 2013? No?

That post is titled:

A New Day Has Come’.

Not even the faintest of tinkling bells? Oh well. You’ll just have to take my word for it then, won’t you?



Nearly 5 years ago, I gave up a high flying job and lifestyle and … whatwho?


The Monk Who Sold Her Ferrari?

Do I look like a person who has COMPLETELY lost her mind?

Why on this climate changed earth would I sell a Ferrari if I owned one?

Ditch those wheels to trudge up some mountain?






And to think, that you thought, that I was the ridiculous one. Ha.




So let’s get back to the point, shall we? I worked at a few companies in a few countries and I was happy. Until I grew a pair had the courage to admit to myself that it was ephemeral happiness.



Nearly 5 years ago, I moved into the slow lane. Seeing the difference in my life overall, towards the end of last year, two of my cousins decided to weave in and out of that lane.



Being the lazy wench that I am, I will copy the rest of the background story about my cousins from my earlier post.




Late last year, when I went away on assignment, September-October, to be precise, two of my cousins gave me a wonderful surprise. The timing is uncanny because these two cousins are not related to each other.



One is Mummy’s younger sister’s son and the other is Daddy’s younger brother’s son. Both are from different parts of the globe and though they have met each other on occasion over the years, they are not in contact with each other. But they both came up with the same thought, and they both approached me with the same request, at almost the same time.



They both wanted to do something about, what I call, their Personal Social Responsibility or PSR for short. Since I switched careers to social service 4 years ago and am thriving* in it, they decided to seek my guidance.



*Not in terms of salary earnings, but the emotional millions I’m raking in.



So there. That’s what’s been eating my time since October last year. Because this is completely new to both my cousins, and I work alone with each of them via Skype, I have had to spend time I didn’t quite have.


I call the cousin who is older than I am – Gun.

Because it’s his high school ‘street name’ for his biceps back then; which he only used to peacock around with, not beat anyone to a pulp.

Gun calls me ‘Chick’.

Not because I’m female, but because I’m the younger of two sisters. Chick is not offended in the least. She cheeps in delight, in fact.



I call the cousin who is younger than I am – Dawg.

Because we both like dogs. That’s a lie. But I really can’t tell you why I call him that.

Dawg calls me ‘Dude’.

Because I spent 5 years in my earliest career in his city, and during that time, I spent a lot of time with him and his (then) school and college bloke buds, who are still his closest mates today. I was (and still am) like just another dude to them.




I had a few ‘rules’ for my cousins when we discussed this project. The two biggies I insisted on were:



1. The clients be people I know personally.


2. Gun and Dawg would have to meet the people they help when they visit Mum and me. Until the visits happen, I would send them detailed reports about my interactions with each individual/family every time AND that I want feedback from each of them.



Both cousins requested anonymity with the clients (and in general) and I respect that, but I stressed that they must visit the families the way I routinely do.



Years ago, I’d found that writing cheques and giving cash donations to organisations made me feel good about myself, but interacting with the clients, especially in their homes, makes them feel good about themselves. And whoa! Don’t even ask how I feel when I see the unbridled delight over my visits to their humble dwellings!



Gun doesn’t travel very often on work, so I usually Skype with him.




Three years ago, Gun and his friends travelled across a few seas.
So did I.
We spent a few days being the kids we refuse to stop being.




Dawg has, what I call ‘ants in his pants’ i.e. he’s a globe trotter, so we communicate more frequently via e-mail.



Below is an excerpt of my mail to Dawg when I introduced some possible clients. He gladly adopted this group.




1. Gisele: As in Gisele Bündchen. That’s what Mum and I call our tribal banana woman.


We call her Gisele because years ago, when Mum told her she (Mum) wanted to get her (Gisele) a new pair of flip-flops to replace her well worn ones, she had told Mum she preferred the Havaianas* brand because she had heard that they didn’t hurt the feet. She walks around with a basket of bananas on her head. She’s pint sized and a very chatty old woman. And yes, Mummy did get her a very colourful pair. Mum said Gisele’s face glowed just as brightly as the new pair of Havaianas on her feet when Mum gave them to her.



*As you know, Havaianas  are originally from Brazil. Then they, like Gisele Bündchen, made a splash in the world of fashion.




2. Grumps: Our tribal veggie woman.


I named her that because it took me three years to get her to crack a smile. She used to be very serious, almost sullen. My ‘May God bless you’ in local speak, which works as ‘Thank you’, and ‘May God grant you a good day’, a typical parting line, were ignored the first three years. A year and half ago, she began grunting a response. A few months ago, she began to reciprocate more coherently; sometimes, not always. And she even manages a hint of a smile on occasion when I gently tease her.



Giselle and Grumps are a dying breed of door-to-door salespeople. They don’t have much longer either because nearly all the tribal women sellers are a weathered, wrinkled lot.




3. Smiley: Our baker.


Smiley is a very pleasant person and I bestowed that monicker because of his bright and ready smile to all his clients. I think he’s in his late twenties. He looks after his sickly mother and Smiley himself suffers from kidney stones. The boys at the traditional bakeries lead very hard lives. :-( 




4. Dormouse: He is a quiet, skinny, um, insignificant worker at our grocery store.


He has a 7 year old daughter. He hails from a very poor family, and he is oh-so-humble, Dawg, it makes my heart ache for him. :-(





The above mentioned four people and a few other families now enjoy the blessings (as I call the monetary assistance) from both Gun and Dawg every month.

Dawg is a Financial Consultant and has founded his own company in a country far from where I am now.




Dawg ‘n me
when his family and mine
went on a little holiday two years ago.




By January this year, barely three months in, Dawg developed a virtual umbilical cord with each of his clients. He was so thrilled with how well this had taken off, he got greedy. As in, he wanted to go for scale with this venture. So he dangled a delicious carrot.



Did this bunny bite?



Read on to find out.




Dawg: Yo, this gig is going great guns! I love reading the reports of your visits. It makes me feel like I’m right here with all of you! So I began thinking. What say we go global? Come on, Dude! Think about it. No, do it. Whatever you decide will become our CSR initiative and you will be officially appointed as the (Company Name) Brand Ambassador for this. :-)



This is your project, Dude! Make a plan and let me know!!! 



Me:  Great stuff, huh? Not so fast, sez me.



CSR? No. I’m still for your PSR.



Brand Ambassador? No. No pictures of me on your website.



Well, I took on the PSR project with you because I really could not resist something so tempting. Sigh! But I ain’t signing on no dotted line, Dawgbert, because like it or not, I am grounded. I’m done with slavery work related overseas trips.



Hmm. I would like to think that you made me this offer because you think I qualify to take this on. But that’s not why I think you did it. You’re just jealous of the fact that I only traipse around the country on work now whereas you still do those crazy around-the-globe stints.


You know the me-of-old would have seized a juicy challenge like this, but, dear cousin, I am completely unaffected by your dazzling offer because I know you. You are so from the Dilbert world. Fancy shmancy title for blood, sweat and tears disguised as Air Miles. Keep ‘em f…lying miles, Dawg. 




Least concerned about his masking his intent, he shamelessly (as ever) returned volley with this cartoon clip.




This image is from




Still, my PSR work, right here in my own state, is not without its travails. As I wrote above, I meet and interact with the clients who mostly live away from my city. After I meet all of them each month, I send detailed reports to Gun and Dawg.



And then, there’s the accounting. Arrgh!



Me: Attaching the Excel sheet I’ve made for [client’s name] account.



Will send you the estimate for [another mini project] when my head stops hurting. You can work on it when you get back from … Singapore? Finland? Brazil? Japan? Where the heck are you this time, Dawg? Oh, stuff it. Who the eff cares? ;-)



Dawg: Dude, I am really cool with you handling this as per your  judgment. What I am saying, O Cranky Cuz, is that you don’t need to keel over an Excel sheet with all the itsy bitsy details and then send all those details to me. Keeping me in the loop is good, but not if you tear your hair in the process. Leave Excel and numbers to the accountants, and do what you do best. :-)



Me: You know how to tap into the best of a slave an employee!



Yes, you’re right. This stuff really freaks me out! I swear, you are the third* and last ‘money donor’ I’m taking on. But I want to do all the accounting myself because one of my big concerns with organisations is transparency/accountability.


*Big Sis was my first ‘money donor’ three years ago. Now Gun and Dawg have joined that club.



Second, I need to keep track myself, although my abacus era methods are foolproof. Then again, I’m the fool, so yeah, no jazzy formulae with me. 



Third, Daddy had taught me accounting* and this is my nod to him. Okay, this last one doesn’t make sense. But I feel nice thinking he approves of the colourful stuff in the spreadsheet.

*Daddy was a (Certified Chartered) Accountant.




Thank you, Sekhar Chakrabarti, for permitting the use of your image.


Readers, are any of you (postage) stamp collectors?

Then head over Sekhar Chakrabarti’s blog 



peruse your little philatelic hearts out!




I do not think the clients I help Big Sis, Gun and Dude with have the luxury of the second and third sections in the above photograph. I hope that the blessings they receive from my relatives and the time I spend with them help correct that imbalance in some manner.



And so, this is the reason, since the start of this year that I chose to further decrease my publishing schedule to once a month.



Working with Big Sis, Gun and Dawg means I don’t always read your posts upon publication.



It also means I comment far less than I used to. But when I do mouth off, by gad! It’s like I never left, yeah?



Oh, then you wish I would leave?



I can take a hint, people.



*storming off*




Thank you, The Ranting Chef, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!





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