September 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to my mom...

Today is my mother's birthday.

I remember this day as one where there was a buzz in our house with more phone calls and drop-in visits than one could handle on a particular day.

It was always her highlight of the year !!

Today my mom has no idea that it is her birthday.
Dementia robbed her from the joy and awareness that comes with this day.

But WE know... and we celebrate her life still to this day.

I am so thankful for the wonderful mother that brought me into this world.

I love her.

September 2, 2010

Typhoons and Technology don't go together.

A typhoon was coming... so I heard.

I had no idea what to expect and also didn't even give it a second thought...

Untill I was woken up early this morning with the trees banging on the bedroom window and the electric cables violently swinging back and forth entangled in the top leaves of the trees reaching beyond the third floor of our house.  I heard the wind gushing in somewhere.... this door had flung open at 5.30 am did that even happen??? 

Yes - it is closed now - I don't carry my camera around 5.30 am.

The kids woke up and messages from the school came in from more than one source..
NO SCHOOL today.

Kind of a relief when you realise that there would be no rush to finish breakfast to catch the bus, no responsibilities for the day - since every other person in this town would be doing the same thing...waiting for the typhoon to take its course, move through and then move on.

The power dipped...dipped again and then it was all dark.

With a squirt of foam soap in his hands, my husband realised that there was no water to wash hands...
Kids' excitement of a whole day hanging around where you can watch TV, play games, watch silly stuff on computers soon turned a little gloom when they realised - 
no power = no computers =  no internet = no TV
.....WILL WE SURVIVE this ONE day without ANY technology??!!

You can live without those...that I knew in my own mind....
but when I realised that we also dont have any bread or milk in the house, my mind did start to wander to "what else could I feed them for a whole day if all other foods are frozen or needs a microwave!"

Some days my life flashes before me like a typhoon...a sudden burst of chaos...

But the good coming out of a typhoon is definitely this..

Life stops for a while... you realise how lucky we are every morning to be able to take a shower...have a cup of coffee....or even just wash the smelly fish dish that got left behind last night after the shrimp pasta  I made - when there is suddenly no water.

You realise how lucky you are to have lights by the click of a have computers that connect you to the outside thoughtfully you suddenly have to use your mobile phone to make sure its' battery power outlasts the storm.....or you would be completely disconnected from the rest of the world....for even 10 minutes??!!!  CRISIS.... in this day & age....

You realise how lucky you are to be in a safe house....away from all the sharp objects and tree sticks that are flying all over and have shattered green leaves all over the street in front of us...

The typhoon is over and all I hope is that we would remember all these things and be thankful for all of these....when we start taking them for granted soon as the first light beams out soon as the familiar start-up chime from the computer comes on...and as soon as the first drop of water drips from the faucet again...

The typhoon is over...the technology is coming alive again..

I can blog...we can buy bread and LIFE IS GOOD!

August 30, 2010

So happy to hear from her...

The phone rang 10 to 10 this morning. Perfect timing.

Morning routine done and Pilates just finished. Just grabbed a coffee and sat down in front of my computer when the Skype buzzed up.

I was so happy to hear her voice.

So happy to hear her laughter over the phone.

My neighbor called. I call her my neighbor because nobody moved into the house where she moved out of about a month ago.

Now she lives in another country and the house is empty.

In fact, the whole street is empty after she left and many times I feel the emptiness just from being in my kitchen, knowing that she is not next door anymore. Not there when I need an egg or milk to borrow....not there to quickly come give advice about how to rescue a failed recipe.....not there to go have a cup of tea if the day is running over me....

Don't you just LOVE that kind of neighbor? Do you still get those kind of neighbor everywhere in the world?

I had one...and now she is gone.

But she is still on the other end of Skype.

And what a relief when you know you can answer and put the video rolling - with no make-up, no hair done, before taking a shower, after having done your exercises....and she still answers your "Good Morning" with a "Hey - you look great, girl !"

Oh.....I miss my neighbor!

August 27, 2010

The Land of the Leaving

I live an expat life. ...which is,  for most parts, a very good life.

But it is a huge task to attach and detach to the friends, mostly in the expat circle,  that you meet upon arrival and during your stay -
who then have to pack up and leave again - sometimes without much warning.

...that is if you don't leave before them...

It is a roller coaster of making friends and seeing them off

.... ALL THE TIME.....

Sometimes there is not even enough time to get to know the other person all that well.

You just know that you truly like somebody and that you wish you could have had more time to get to know that person.

Tonight, yet another friend left..

One of those people who just makes the world a better place to live in.

Someone who just makes everybody have more fun when she is in the room.

We will all miss her. And that is where I got stuck - in the "missing" part.... in how "empty" it is going to be at the next lunch when she is not there anymore....

But then, in saying goodbye - her departing words to me was not - I will miss you....

but "I am so glad I met you !"

And again, it showed me her enlightening spirit - seeing things the way she sees it.

And that reminded me of a key part of this life again
"I am less sad that I have to leave, than to have never come to this place
I am more happy to say farewell than to have never been introduced."

The people we meet and the ways in which everyone teaches me things about this life and about myself and influences the way I see the world and live my life makes this process have both power and meaning.

I live in the LAND of the LEAVING.

We are taking these small steps....

Today this photo caught my eye as I was looking for something.

It is a note from my mom - 17 years ago....
(read below to see what it says)

My mom ALWAYS left notes for me - 
be it when I would get home late after a date and she was already in bed or not there, 
or be it years later after we had left the house many years already.

Next week my dad will be visiting me from an overseas country.
This will be his first time ever leaving the country without her.
It will be his first time going on holiday without her.

My mom, living with Alzheimers, was placed in a home of care, the week after their 50th wedding anniversary. 
 It was a big and heartbreaking move to make.

It will be impossible for her to make the journey to come visit us.

And as I saw this photo, I realised that she will never be able to step into my house again and neither would I in hers.

I have known this for a while..but some days it strikes harder than others....

It was not my idea to have this photo out today to make me sad...but it is my reality.

No more notes from her to me or from me to her
She can neither read nor write anymore and hardly comprehend anything you even say.

It breaks my heart to know that my dad has to come alone - for his sake as well as ours, 
but we need to take these small steps to move on with the important role he still plays in our lives.
These are sad, but necessary steps to take.

It will surely be on his mind when he departs. 
A departure from yet another part of the life he shared with my mom.

But these notes I am forever thankful for and however painful it is to write this and as sad and sobbing as this has made me today,  so happy it makes me that I took this picture that day to remind me of how special she made me feel and how proud she was with this accomplishment of mine....even if she had to do it in lipstick on the mirror !!!

Today she can not be there for us anymore.
But we can still be there for her.

I will miss her on this visit.
But I am thankful for my father whom I can still welcome in my home.

He will be in our home.
And she will be in our hearts.

I will write my dad a note when he arrives 
and I will leave some flowers in his room when he comes.

Flowers......for my mom.

The note translated:

"The first C.P.A (CA) to have slept in this room in 25 years !
Luckily she did not take 25 years to get there...
The C.P.A (CA) was 3 years old when she moved into this room
and 3 years ago she married the most wonderful husband that a women's heart could desire....
Congratulations you two !"

Written by my mom to me (in her own lipstick !! ;-) , the first weekend we went home for a visit, after I became a CPA.
We lived in the same house for 30 years and this was in my room where I grew up.
Typically my mom, she did not only include me in the congratulations, but equally so she praised my husband with this achievement as she knew he was with me every step of the way in getting this qualification. 

August 25, 2010

Where's the missing piece???

If you read this line, you are on my blog.

If you leave this blog before you have answered the question  - you will truly feel bad that you did that to me. Yes, even if you don't know me.

So, please don't be THAT person who leaves without a comment.... 

Because I DO want to know what YOU think?! You read this far, come on...

Do you think that  DAILY ROUTINES are compulsory to keep a household or a person sane/ effective??

If you HAVE the answer - please COMMENT NOW !

P.S If comments give you hassles, please mail me.
If you dont know how to comment - check side bar for instructions I left.
Since I have gottin' almost ALL my comments on this blog via mail, I know I get them..but PLEASE FIRST try to do it on the blog - people reported problems and I need to take it up with Blogger...but wont know if you did not try !!!). PLEASE. THANKS!!

If you are still unsure about the question - read more here:

I am a very organized person - that means my STUFF is shelves... but NOT my schedule!!
Having a tidy, uncluttered environment works for me - WONDERS !!! But that's me.

Organizing our activities and daily routines will affect all those around me ! But - it is somewhat chaotic trying to get my kids on bed same time every day

Some days dinner is ready at 6
.... other days at 7 or 8.

Some days I exercise

...and some days I don't!

Some days I take vitamins

...and some days I don't!

So - it is EXTREMELY difficult to keep track of what is happening around me!

I think that keeping ROUTINES - same time to bed each day, same old story each day - will help everyone to get to what we are suppose to do in a day ! And be GOOD CITIZENS of our own health and performances !

But - my FEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to become one of those old people one day who can't come visit because they have to have their "hair" done on Tuesdays...
or those people who yawn at a party because they usually go to bed at 10pm and now it is already 11pm - my goodness?!
or they can't go for coffee...because this time every day they do spinning....
or the kids are running havoc because the hostess is serving dinner at 8 pm and we "forced" ourselves into eating everyday at 6 pm??!!


What if we loose our easy-going, whatever comes, whatever goes type of attitude and become one of "THOSE" people???

THAT is what stands between me and seriously implementing the routines in this house.

I started implementing ROUTINES and STRUCTURE - I think that is the missing piece???
But I am SOOOOOo AFRAID that will ruin things in the long run??!!

I am so worried I will "over-engineer" this household.

CAN you help me out??

Is it working for you??

Tell me about YOUR routines or lack thereof and how it affects you and your life and OTHERS around you?????

PLEASE, PLEASE dont leave without HELPING ME OUT !!
The rest of my life depends on this decision I take today.

And you will be so happy you helped . Thanks.

I need it.

August 23, 2010

Oh husband......Where art thou ????!!

This is what I loved about the holidays...

that my husband was there to take whoever needed to be "removed" from society for a short while ....
for a little "chat" to get them back on track 
to re-think their attitudes and actions !

Back into the swing of things at home and it is THAT time of the afternoon !!!!!
Homework is done and  3 kids plus friends are running wild all over the house.... 
getting into all sort of little squabbles which totally ruins the peace and tranquility I was dreaming about on the beach ....

Well - he is back at the office, having a real job...

I get that!!

so, it is up to me to sort them out amongst a lot of other things i am trying to do.

Oh, the joys of motherhood.

Have to admit that it was a wonderful break to have a back-up parent for the past 2 weeks!

Not that I have terrible children or an absent husband...

But still - wonderful to have him RIGHT there to take care of things when needed...

and he does such an amazing job with the kids !

Hats off to my husband....


August 22, 2010

There are other BENEFITS too... !!!

Our eyes....

The way we see the world

And I guess probably one of the first things people notice about your face.

Not much we can do about our eyes...
I can not complain. I am happy with the eyes I got.
Still no glasses, contacts or eye surgery...

Yes - I did go into panic mode when I realised I neglected to take good care of the areas around my eyes!!
(read my earlier entry about the sagging eyebrow saga in this post:

"Replacing the old with the new..."

Not much we can do about it.

But I swear by MASCARA - if nothing else - plain mascara does the trick for ME!

No matter what kind of emergency or time crisis ....

I ALWAYS make time for Mascara.

Just my thing...even if it turns out little cloggy like the above !

But, WHEN there is time for MAKE-UP, we can do magic and transform our eyes !

It can be work...and so many people neglect....

but it doesn't need to be work if you find the right thing for you !!!

I Found something great!

And if you have a great product - I would LOVE to know!!

About a year ago, I bought this little nifty "all-in-one" eye make-up from 'benefit"..... 

It almost went unnoticed because it is in a cardboard box and not a fancy shiny container and it had almost put me off from buying it - not sure whether it would last!!!

But it DID and after a year, the content was done and the container still in perfect shape !

Last week I picked up 2 new boxes again at the airport!!

And today I just want to say - I LOVE it !!

So I want to do my share of giving them the benefit of having a GREAT product that others might not know of - 

just - spreading the word!

If you have not tried this - it is WORTH giving it a try.

I can not vouch for any other products but I love how they have the perfect combinations in their eye make-up kits - for my everyday use.

Ever bought those sets where you use one or maybe 2 out of the 6 colours you got??

The OTHER BENEFIT is that it comes with complete instructions.

We all know how you start to fall into the same routine ....
and how fun to get a free make-up lesson - without having to go sit in the cosmetics section of a department store on a high chair just to get an update on the "how to" for eyes !!!!

It works wonderfully !!

I got this new one (well - new for me!) and am looking forward to give it a go today...

You can find it here:

LET ME KNOW how it works for you - 

OR if you have any other BEAUTY products that goes a little "unnoticed"
but has worked wonders for you !!

I would love to know your secrets.

August 20, 2010

Blogging benefits

Somebody totally randomly checked my blog and sent me the most fascinating links and info that I checked out.!

Keep doing that !!

I love learning new things and keeping life worth living for!!

Had a fantastic holiday! Now back in the swing of things at home, but posted the ones I did and had no time to, the most of August so far has been holiday snaps...

A new year ideas..

THIS TIME MY IDEA was to have a great holiday and the REALITY turned out to be EVERY BIT in line with the expectations we had..and even more !!!

The beauty and the beach...

By now - we all know the drill...."how to put our own sunblock.."

.....well, kind of ...?!

You dont need to go to the beach to be needing it - 
no, the beautiful sun is great but also vicious...

even at the FARMER's MARKET !!

We went to check out what the locals produced

loved browsing around

especially if the locals are this colourful !!

and how beautiful are these veggies?!!

yum !

not to mention the flowers..

is it possible that things are just more beautiful on an island ???

All that browsing worked up a thirst.... so it was off to 

THIS place - which is apparently the best place for 

decisions, decisions.........

the land of CHOICES !!!



HOW fun to get all these duckies in your bathtub??!!

"Can I have them mom??"

(there is one in the mail for a lucky friend and one for a relative....mmmm.....wonder who that may be??!)

We just strolled around in the town of HALEIWA...

and met the COLORFUL CROC family !

Maybe this will be us one day ...

I thought they would be seriously having second thoughts after showing them "BLUE CRUSH"...

but, it only inspired them......

so, I might go watch the PIPELINE masters one day?!

Don't think Dad still has aspirations to be the guy on the billboard - but...
ye never know, ye know...??!!

Oh, loved the local vibe around here

.....kind of felt sorry for these guys after I met so many of them still alive at this morning's market??

I hope this guy isn't one of them?? 

Just met him this morning...??!

oohhh...naughty....don't let the people at the market see this one - this is anything BUT homegrown or organic...

but if you don't get it in you own country...well, then if you're a kid... you gotta buy .....a whole LOT ...

Does Vanilla Coke make your feet grow..? 'cos I want this one !!

maybe it is just because this guy is selling them...

and we've never bought anything from a guy that looks like this !!

But it's not only the shoes that are oversized...

MAN!!!!! Is this a burger or WHAT????

This is the only turtle we saw in town....

so we decided to go hit the beach again and go look for some more...

Had to go take one big dive before time run out

the water here is amazing !!

How fun not to be in the office today !!
You get a whole new perspective down here...

But it is cool up here too !

Actually, anything is cool when you can do it with your dad !

Yep - think he agrees...

way more fun when dad joins in !

and hanging out with dad is super cool - especially HERE !!

One last paddle out... 

and time to take our stuff...

and go...

The sun has set on our vacation...

It is 1.30 am 

and Honolulu is not exactly the most glamorous airport to hang out this time of the morning...

Not often that we have to catch a plane to get to school...

but this time we made it....

18 hours later since we left our holiday home...our car parked at the school at the exact minute we usually arrive from home!!

On time for school - on the MINUTE 

(except that we were a day late?!)

Oh well - anyone noticed??? Neaaaah....

We had a great time !!!!!!

August 19, 2010

Hit the road Jack !

By now, we have become one with the creatures out here...

So, after a is a good time to hit the road !

Time to go choose a car so the rubber can hit the road.

Oh yeah... this could work...

Definitely can work !

Only problem - he's a little young to drive.

So, we got the JEEP again and let dad drive.

Left this wonderful place .....

where you daily see a bride and groom on the beach...

OOPS ! - did not see that coming !!

And the cool lifestyle....

and some weird people up the trees

to the part of Hawaii they call NORTH SHORE

and there we found...

well - 

this guy

and this guy 

and this little eat-out...

and we found that here people are as laid back, playing guitar anytime, anywhere....

and they also have BEAUTIFUL sunsets here

So...we knew we arrived at another piece of PARADISE !!!!

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.