Daily

Privacy, To A 6 Year Old

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Me: Hey, stop reading my messages.
Z: Why? I’m just practising my reading!
Me: Because it’s private.
Z: I thought only penises and vaginas were private!

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Room Tour: The 2017 Update

We’ve given others a peek into our home via my previous blog, as well as on Mum In The Making (2012) and Cromly (2015). Several months after the Cromly feature, we decided to do away with most of the coloured walls in our home, leaving only our pink entrance and our trademark striped wall (in the living area).

It was, in some ways, a bit of a chaotic year for us and we wanted to restore our sense of order, beginning with our living environment. Also, Z would be moving into Layla’s room, and I wanted a neutral colour along with a fresh start for them. No regrets, because with whites, you get light and the illusion of space, as well as the freedom to own your canvas by adding visual interest in little ways.

I’m aware that the room is still dominated by Layla’s stuff, but we’re easing towards gender neutral elements, and we’ve carved out some spaces for Z. The Umbra Shadow Clock is our latest addition to the room. It was a gift from Masons Home Decor; I loved it when I first saw the pictures, and even more in real life.

The clock’s graphic numbers are painted black on the sides, so they stand out. Justin from Masons Home Decor informed me that the clock was jointly designed by Alan Wisniewski and Sonja Kresowaty. It’s made from Paulownia wood, which is apparently notable for its strength. Masons Home Decor has given me a lifetime 15% discount code to use, and you’re welcome to use it too: EVELYN15.

Mixing and matching their knickknacks. The hexagon shadow box is from Typo.

The bicycle poster was picked up during a 3LittlePicks sale; we have quite a few items from them.

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Kid goals, or should I say, life goals? This was printed by Stickerkid for me; I was supposed to do a feature for them but the posters (it was in a set of three) arrived several months late and bent in several places. I’ve cut Layla’s name from this poster so it works for the shared room; the magnetic wooden picture hanger is from 3LittlePicks.

Our dollhouses are still around; the house my dad built from Daiso balsa wood is on the left, and on the right is my mom’s Sylvanian family collection, which she gifted to us.

Clearly, we didn’t plan for two kids to work here, but it’s not an issue for now. I’m contemplating creating a new study area for them and claiming Layla’s roll-top desk for my own use. That was from Junkie’s Corner.

They each get a display space to manage.

The wooden box showcases my mum’s folk art painting skills, and we still have our paper suitcases, although some of them are more than a little weathered by now. The “Laylapalooza” poster was designed by my friend, occasional colleague, and one-time bandmate Shirley.

The handmade golliwog was from a delightful shop called Doinky Doodles, which unfortunately is no longer in existence today. The foam hand was a souvenir from this year’s GNR bash.

Making the kids share a room was probably our best parenting decision of last year. (Also, Alf couldn’t sleep on the couch forever, as comfortable as it is!) Layla was starting to feel like Z and I were always in cahoots against her, and it was affecting our relationship. With the new sleeping arrangements, our alliances are as they should be, where Alf and I are a team, and Layla and Z are closer than they’ve ever been.

It’s been a palpable change for the better, and in fact, there were hardly any teething issues in Z’s room switch, except that I’d originally bought Z an IKEA cot mattress that was too small, because I wasn’t sure if he was really ready to shift out of my bedroom. But once we realised that both kids were eager to share, we put the Seahorse folding mattresses that we’d bought to host visiting family to good use. I thought that finding a plain fitted sheet for these mattresses would be an issue, but was pleasantly surprised that the longer IKEA cot sheets were a perfect fit.

I haven’t outgrown this felt butterfly lamp, even if the kids have! We’ve also installed spotlights near Layla’s study desk but I’m not satisfied with the look, so we’re planning to schedule an appointment with these designers to see what they can do for us. We’re also hoping to switch out the lights in our living and study area, and get new fabrics for our couch, so there may be more to update on soon!

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Original Sprout

Original Sprout

A girlfriend told me recently that she’s been plagued by breakouts for the whole of this year. Like me, she’s 40, and I was relieved to hear that from her as the same thing’s been happening to me.

I wouldn’t say my skin has ever been totally in the clear, but in my late 20s and 30s, I enjoyed a reprieve and only saw the occasional zit or two. At 40? I now have a dermatologist that I consult when I feel things are getting out of hand–nothing fancy like Sloane, just good ‘ol National Skin Centre. Currently, I’m on the Retin A-AHA treatment that I’ve seen recommended on some beauty/health web sites, and it is working for me, especially when I remember to be kind to my skin.

When Original Sprout contacted me some months ago to send me products, I didn’t decline, for once. I’ve been using Original Sprout on my face for years, after buying the Hair & Body Babywash to test on Z. I was perfectly happy with it, but I attempted to switch to Cetaphil last year thinking that it was cheaper–and dermatologist-recommended–but it triggered a breakout that warranted a visit to the dermatologist. Subsequently, I was prescribed a cleanser from La Roche-Posay, but my skin reacted to that too (redness, itch). Then everything calmed down until we took a family trip to New Zealand, and the weather changes made my skin flare up again. Continue reading

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One-Hit Wonder

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Z’s best bud Matt is bunking with us for two days, and his mom (my girlfriend Stephii) and I were discussing food options:

S: Do you need us to get groceries?
Me: Don’t worry about it, Alf’s been cooking a lot, and I can make anchovy pasta.
S: Your famous anchovy pasta!
Me: LOL! I really should expand my repertoire.
S: You are specializing!

This is why I have an inflated sense of self-worth… my friends are always making me feel good! But the truth is that I have been unreasonably faithful to one recipe all year. It’s a wonder that protests haven’t erupted at the dinner table, and I still get thanked. And it’s not even my recipe but a Gordon Ramsay knockoff–I’ve been cutting corners lately by omitting the capers and olives. Here it is in its full glory, if you want to try it too.

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Father’s Day

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I showed Alf a Father’s Day post that I found particularly touching, and reminded him that I’ve cleaned up my Facebook feed to mostly follow the best writers, thinkers, and creative personalities that I’ve come across, in the hope that some of it will rub off on me. As an afterthought, I added:

“Oh, and I also married you!”

“Well… we all make mistakes.”

“No, I’m actually very selective.”

My mother always told me to choose a guy who’d make a good husband and father, and I have to admit I never followed her advice when dating–I had other things on my mind! But my mother also told me I was born lucky, and when I look at the husband that I have, and the father that he is, I think that must be true.

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Togetherness

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My husband asked me a few days ago, “What do you like about me?” The correct answer to that, of course, is “Your body.”

But I also told him I’m often reminded of him when I read about yet another everyday hero who’s restored our faith in humanity with an act of grace or courage. I’m past the point of needing my husband to rescue me, but if you should ever land in a dire situation and find yourself standing next to him, count yourself very lucky indeed. For that, and for loving me—imperfectly perhaps, but unconditionally—our early anniversary lunch is on me today.

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Choose Your Own Nightmare

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My friend Pat sent me this article today, along with the question, “Still want to go to Seoul?”

In the classic novel Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, the protagonist tells the tale of his steamboat voyage up the Congo River to a destination of unimaginable danger. Having to choose between unavoidable evils on his journey, he tries to pursue the lesser one, recognising that he has to be “loyal to the nightmare of (his) choice”.

The US Navy’s aircraft “supercarrier” – the USS Carl Vinson – and its accompanying fleet of warships that constitute Carrier Strike Group 1, currently steaming their way towards the Korean peninsula, is unnervingly resonant of that story.

My answer was a resounding “YES.”

As I told my friend June over coffee, it seems appropriate that I would find myself in Seoul at this juncture, as I take stock of my life so far and decide on my trajectory for the next 20 years or so, if I’m lucky enough to have time on my side.

In a worst case scenario, if something were to happen during my solo getaway next week (and if I managed to survive), I would think to myself, “This world is so screwed, but I’ve never felt more alive.”

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News & Sadness

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“I think you should pray.”

This, from my husband late last night, as we were settling into bed. I was curious as to why he would say that now, as I’ve been spiritually adrift all my life. It transpired that he too was especially affected by the stories coming out of Syria over the last couple of days. To quote my “grandfather figure” Dan Rather:

Take a moment to pause in your day. Do not skip past this story as part of the background noise of our modern world. I believe we should force ourselves to at least consider the implications. Look at the pictures of the dead children. We are witnessing a sheer slaughter on our watch. It is a situation that doesn’t lend itself to easy answers, so the world chooses to look the other way.

Read his full post here.

I’ve been getting a fuller dose of the news on my FB feed–a result of active curating. It makes everything else seem trivial; sometimes I don’t even feel like sending a message to someone to say hello or to wish them a happy birthday, not when there’s all this tragedy and injustice swirling around us.

This is part of the reason I’ve scaled down all personal updates and done away with blog-promotion efforts; to me, status updates and blogs are just a step up from gossip–they’re there to satisfy our need for a peephole into someone else’s existence. Of course I’m honoured that friends and even strangers are interested in my life and my thoughts; for a while I was hooked on my Google Analytics stats as it was logging reads from places I’d never even heard of, lasting up till well over an hour! But if I were to rank reads by priority, it would be a good book first, followed by news and quality reads such as the NYTimes, followed by anything remotely educational or thought provoking (e.g. Brainpickings or the much-maligned School Of Life/Alain de Botton) and then daily life blogs, and finally gossip–my only vice, and it’s a cesspool.

My point is, there are much more important stories that need to be told right now, and they’re not mine. I do think that those of us who believe in it should pray, while trying to find a way to help. There is a site, Charity Navigator, which seems like a godsend as it evaluates the reliability of charities and gives each one a rating. This is its Syria page.

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Flashback

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Sometimes I’m glad my friends aren’t as unsentimental as I am, i.e. they’re not always tossing or deleting everything in their path. When I reverted to this blog address and decided to let my .com go, I did save over 300 posts in the form of screenshots, but I didn’t think twice about trashing all the online evidence. That said, it does make me smile to find bits and pieces of the past still floating around, like these two guest posts that I wrote for my favourite local bloggers, Justina and June. One’s about motherhood, and the other’s about movies.

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