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3 Nov 2014

Where To For Lunch?

Two guys in the lift:

A: So, where do you want to go for lunch?

B: You already asked before and I said I'm happy to go to the usual place. Obviously, you want to go elsewhere

A: Umm.. I was thinking we'll go to that place near DJs. You know, that place underneath Myer, no sorry, DJs... the food-court. What do you think?

B: Okay, sure. So, do you mean the food-court underneath DJs?

I couldn't decide which of the two was the smarter one. "Case of blind leading the blind?" I wondered as I wandered off in the opposite direction. Whatever I decide about lunch this afternoon, it certainly won't be at the food-court underneath DJs. Or the one at Myers. Just in case.

2 Nov 2014

My Top 10 Books

There was a book challenge going around, on Facebook. You list your 10 favourite books and nominate friends who you wanted to take up the challenge too. When I first heard of it, I desperately wanted someone to pick me. Unfortunately, it fizzled out. Maybe those in my friends' list just didn't do it because it came back on. Earlier today, a friend nominated me to list my top 10 books.

I didn't think it would be hard to choose 10 books. I was right, it wasn't hard to pick 10. The hard part was picking ONLY 10. There are so many books I love. There are different kinds of love I have, for books. So, how was I to choose?

I love some books so much that I could read them over and over again. I also love some books immensely but could never read them again. I love some books so much that I can't put them down while I read them. I may read them again but they don't leave a deep imprint in my mind. I've even gone through phases where I just love the author and read anything they wrote.

This was the list I came up with, in the end.

1) Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
2) Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
3) The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
4) Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
5) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
6) A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
7) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins 
8) Harry Potter - J K Rowling
9) If You Could See Me Now - Cecelia Ahern
10) The Old Man and The Sea - Ernest Hemingway

With the exception of the last book, I have read these books more than once. They have each left an impression on me and I could easily read them all again. Maybe I could replace #10 with The Devil Wears Prada, as one that I would read again.

The Old Man and The Sea is an amazing piece of writing but it was heart-wrenching. I knew it would have a sad ending but it wasn't the kind I expected. It was like Hemingway didn't just pierce through the heart but decided to twist the knife as it went in. For just a story about a man who broke his dry spell of fishing with a big catch, it was quite an unputdownable narrative. I couldn't read it again.

I asked the husband if he'd like to list his top 10. He didn't. Then he went through my list and said, "Well, at least we have this in common. Your top 10 list is my top 10 too, except that they are your favourite and I hate them all".

Well said, husband, well said. Which couch would you like to sleep on, tonight?

25 Oct 2014

Through The Glass Doors

I was 10 minutes early, so I had to wait in the reception area. Looking out the glass doors of the studio, I remembered a colleague complaining about the guys at the Pilates studio measuring their customers' waist and weight right there.

It looks so bad. Don't they realize that people on the road can see what's going on inside?

The truth is no, they don't. Most of the time, we don't realise that the people on the other side of the barrier are watching us. We know that they can see us but it's not on our minds as we go about our day. We pretend that everyone is getting on goes with their business, unmindful of what is happening on the other side of the wall. It's like, by putting up a wall, even a transparent glass one, we have created a barrier that allows us to behave differently to those on the other side and the other side won't notice. Unfortunately, reality is far from that.

People inside think those on the outside are hurrying through and walking past without looking in.

Oh they have better things to do. 

Hah! They are looking at you. They are looking, alright.

Those outside assume that they are not being watched because the insiders are busy with their stuff.

Why would they waste time looking out?

Oh no! They are watching you, as if you can't see them. In fact, those on the 'inside' side of the glass wall are always aware of what's going on in the 'outside' world.

Stand against a wall on the pavement and scratch your bum discreetly. You think no one's watching but I bet half a dozen folks from the buildings around you have seen you do that, through their windows or doors. Some of them may even remember your face.

Suppose you take the glass door away. Everyone becomes more aware. The guys at the Pilates studio, for instance, wouldn't be doing your measurements out where every passerby can stop to look. The pedestrians wouldn't blatantly stare or stop to watch.

What changed? It was a glass wall that disappeared. You could see everything before as you can now. Yet, people's behaviour is different when you remove the imaginary boundary separating two sets of people,

24 Aug 2014

Choosing Baby Over NZ

"I love Spring! Can you see how happy I am? Don't I look happier than I have all Winter? It's the Spring, I tell you", I squealed. That was two years ago.

When I said those words, I had no clue that my life was about to change. Scratch that. The clues were all there, heaps of them buzzing in front of my eyes every day. My life was about to take an overhaul but I had failed to recognize the signs. I complained about ageing and took a little pleasure in the weight loss. If someone had said to me that I may be having a baby, I would have laughed (maybe they did and maybe I did).

The only change I foresaw in my life was a career change. I could totally see THAT happening. New job. Excitement. More money. I had a list of places on my place-to-visit board that I could see being ticked off. My biggest question was whether I could afford that big Europe trip, especially as I was travelling to New Zealand the following February. Maybe I could swing it because DH would find a job by then. Surely, with his high IQ and superior skill-sets, he wasn't going to be without a job for long!

Five days after I said those words, I was sitting at the GP's office. I won't go into the details of that argument but it could be roughly summarized like this:

You're pregnant.

No, I'm not!

A blood test should confirm it.

A week later, he was writing me a referral to see an obstetrician. 

Ross was a funny guy. One of the first things he told me was that he offered no refunds or returns. He also informed me that RSPCA would not help me either. Then he warned me not to get overweight or I'd be hard-pressed to lose the extra weight. Truer words have never been spoken.

Fast-forward to the following February. New Zealand was the last thing on my mind, as I lay there telling the annoying mid-wife to go away. No, I did not want to sit on a ball in the shower. I just needed some sleep. Yeah, like that was happening!

Five days later, we bundled the wee little thing into the car seat, buckled her up and drove home. I kept wondering how they could trust that life in my hands. Hospitals should not be allowed to do that! There had to be some rules against it, in the interest of the baby. When we got home and realized that the car seat buckle hadn't been done up properly, I knew I was right!

In spite of the crazy year that at times dragged on and other times flew past, the New Zealand dream was still there. If I managed to keep her alive till then, we would celebrate her 1st birthday in NZ. Just us surrounded by beautiful scenery and unfamiliar faces. 

Let's just say the stars refuse to align for New Zealand to happen as yet. Maybe I should plan Europe. In the meanwhile, I continue to grapple with the changes this new lifestyle has brought for me.