The unbearable anxiety of living

Today, my very sweet husband drove me from my office in the east to a tiny showroom all the way in Alexandra, just so I can check out a sample sale. As I browsed through the racks, he stood outside and waited patiently as I stood in line to try out the clothes and then to pay. And then after that, we went for lunch together.

Just us, hand in hand, in conversation and with much mirth.

Now, this is not a post bragging about my amazing and wonderful partner. Oh, he is amazing but seriously, he has his flaws (as do I) and sometimes he is quite the arsehole. But oh well, for better and for worse and all that jazz, right.

What I am trying to say is that I had a lovely time and I loved connecting with him. And it was a good break.

Truth is, we are in the midst of a transition around here. It’s not something that I want to talk about publicly but let’s just say that it kind of rocks the stability that I am used to. And I am someone who needs stability in my life.

There’s a fair bit of uncertainty hovering around us now and I am not used to that. I am not someone who can jump off a cliff without knowing that there is firm ground beneath me – I have not been brought up to take risks. I couldn’t, not when I had to be accountable for my mother.

So this is making me feel unnerved. I’m frankly a little worried and anxious but it’s also something that is beyond my control. I can only go with the flow and try not to be in the way.

But yes, I worry. I worry about living life in Singapore, where the sandwiched middle class such as us is constantly struggling and fretting. I worry about my kitchen, which is slowly falling apart after six years (the developer clearly did not use good quality materials). I worry about my kids’ education. I worry about our retirement.

I worry, worry, worry.

Imaginary Friends by Melanie Lee

I first heard about Melanie Lee‘s whimsical and sardonic e-book Imaginary Friends: 26 Fables for the Kid in Us a year ago. But I didn’t grab a copy then because, frankly speaking, I had neither the energy nor the time to read then.

The e-book has since then transformed into print and Melanie kindly offered me a complimentary copy – how could I say no? So during the weekend, when the little man was napping and the chores were done, I sat down for the first time in a long, long while and read the book.

As I plunged into the stories, I started smiling at first, and then laughed out loud. I love that the highly satirical stories were not explicitly funny, at least not in the crass HAHAHA sort of way. Rather, they were out of the world, ridiculously imaginative and exudes a sense of humour that is hilariously dry. I must admit, though, that there were a few tales that were lost on me and which ended oddly to me. But by and large, I enjoyed the stories very much and loved the truth and wit behind them.

I mean, you cannot disagree when the moral of the story is “in the hustle and bustle of life, we all could do with more sleep”, can you?

At the same time, the stories were superbly matched by the illustrations of Arif Rafhan, a Malaysian-based artist. He had taken the characters created by Mel and given them a visual identity that was so distinctive and, well, sort of mad. The characters have bulging eyes, thick lips and slightly bloated, misshapen bodies – not quite cute and yet oddly endearing. My favourite of the lot is Elly the Egotistical Eraser: what a badass she is!

I will definitely grab a few copies of Imaginary Friends as gifts to friends who may be in need of a good tale (or 26).

You can connect with Mel and Imaginary Friends on Facebook or grab your copy at Books Kinokuniya and MPH Bookstores for $10.80. You can also purchase it at BooksActually or from its online store.

Chasing the sun

Over the weekend, we went chasing after the sunset.

It was a very impromptu affair. We were on our way home after celebrating a dear friend’s birthday and the birth of his daughter, when I saw that the sun was hanging gloriously low in the sky. Told Mr Thick to drive to an empty field near our house so that we could enjoy the sight of the setting sun when he one-upped me by taking us to the reservoir instead.

Armed with our packed dinners, two canned drinks and a picnic mat that’s always left in the car, we parked ourselves by the waterfront and enjoyed this spectacular view.

All throughout dinner, I kept repeating to husband, “Wow. Amazing. So beautiful.” And it WAS AMAZING! I don’t know how to explain the feeling or the sight. It felt like a miracle, being able to see the setting sun and catching the changing colours of the sky. When the clouds lit up and turned fiery red, it was almost as if my heart had stopped and I was gasping for breath. I felt like I was so close to the edge of the horizon and yet so far at the same time. The feeling is indescribable and the view was simply incredible. Absolutely incredible.

It reminded me of the Omni-Theatre and the movies that we used to watch there during our primary school days. I loved the Omni-Theatre! Anyone remember watching the volcano movie “Ring of Fire” there?

I have a feeling we will be having more picnics at that park. How lovely, lovely!

The crisp, fresh air

One thing that I missed terribly about Sydney was the proliferation of gardens within the city itself. The pockets of greenery nestled among the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of city life was so welcoming and warm. We walked practically everywhere and took breaks on park benches whenever we were tired.

Back in Singapore, however, Mr Thick has an aversion of getting sweaty and hot. I know, TEH IRONY. We live on a tropical island! But well, that’s him, he hates being stinky and all. The humidity doesn’t help. Plus, Mr A inherited his father’s ability to sweat buckets at the slightest increase of the temperature so the warm and sticky air makes him cranky.

Recently, however, the weather has been so beautifully cool that we decided to make walks and exploration of parks/beaches a routine. After running errands at nearby Vivocity last weekend, we decided that breathing in some fresh air was a necessity.

It was hard work pushing the stroller up slope, I can tell you that. Such a good workout, especially with our monster of a stroller! We opted to skip the baby carrier and let the little man get a plush, comfortable ride. Lucky fellow. He just didn’t realise how lucky he was! Most of the time, he was quietly observing his surroundings. That is, when he wasn’t busy trying to reach for and destroy the foam fan that we had attached at the foot of his stroller.

(He did destroy it. The fan valiantly pushed on with just two of its three foam blades remaining before drawing its last breath. I tossed it out summarily.)

What a wonderful home our island makes! The lush greenery, rustic parks, beautiful view…we have it all. Since A is kept indoors most of the time, I am hoping to expose him to the great outdoors as much as I can. Poor little fellow is still terrified of the crashing waves at the beach and of walking on sand and grass. Hilarious!

Hmm, maybe we’ll check out a goat farm on our next excursion.

Gardens by the Bay

This week being my last week of maternity leave, I was keen to do something with my mama before I head back to work. Coincidentally, she was ‘on leave’ from her full-time job as caregiver to my nephew since the sista and her family are currently holidaying in Melbourne. My mom loves all things flora and requested to check out the newly opened Bay South Garden of the Gardens by the Bay so off we went on Tuesday afternoon.

It being a weekday, the garden was thankfully free from crowds. This meant that we could stroll at leisure and take our own sweet time in taking pictures (and plenty of parking lots for me!). Since I was carting the little man around with me, we decided to skip the paid conservatories and just focus on the exterior gardens.

The rain in the morning made the weather blissfully perfect for strolling outdoors. It wasn’t humid but was cool and sunny. Which was fabulous because towards the end, Mr A needed to nap and he would not do so in the stroller, which meant he had to go into the Boba baby wrap.

As a new mother, I very much appreciated the availability of nursing rooms littered around the grounds. Plus, the architects had incorporated lifts and wide, gentle slopes into the design, which meant that it was very wheelchair- and stroller-friendly. I could pop Aidan into our monster of a stroller – the UppaBaby Vista – and still have an easy time maneuvering it.

I loved, loved, loved the open space and it was like a piece of serenity in the middle of our bustling city-state. The gardens is a gorgeous, carefully designed piece of art and the view was, of course, spectacular. We enjoyed exploring the grounds and finding different angles to the same sight. And when we were tired, there were benches thoughtfully placed on the grounds for us to rest our aching feet.

After dinner, we were treated to a delightful light show at the Supertree Grove. Unfortunately, because it was way past the little man’s bedtime, we left before it concluded.

All in all, it was a wonderful day spent with my mama. The only thing that marred the experience was a terrible tea break at the Hill Street Coffee Shop. We got there slightly after 4:30pm hoping to get a cup of tea and some toast to fill our tummies but was told that the kitchen had stopped serving bread at 4:30pm since the bread menu was only meant for breakfast. HUH. The only food available were heavy (and overpriced) items like rice and noodles. Worse, my iced teh-si was watered down and bland and cost me a princely $2.20. What kind of lousy coffee shop is this? AVOID.

(More photos here.)