Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hello 2010 you sure took your time getting here but you're here at last

One of the privileges of being a parent of 2 young children is that you have a great excuse to be sitting at home and at the computer on New Year's Eve. In fact, it is in itself a privilege to be sitting quietly at the computer on New Year's Eve, and not passed out in bed asleep by 10pm like I was last year at this time. Or, as The Husband reminds me, as we have been every year that we have been married. Fast asleep snoring in bed whilst all around us people are demonstrating their ability to count backwards from 10. Actually, last year I recall waking up cursing and swearing because of all the screaming from the people on the beach at midnight and the ships setting off their flares in joyous celebration. Then I went back to sleep.

But this year is different. This year I am not pregnant-in-my-first-trimester flat-out exhausted and crawling into bed every chance I get. This year I am awake, everyone else is fast asleep and snoring and I am drinking a little shot of Yomeishu in private celebration while I type out some random stuff for the Internet. Yomeishu? Who drinks Yomeishu? People who don't have any other alcoholic substance in the house that's not turned to vinegar, that's who.

I actually planned something much more cosy and interesting to do with The Husband on New Year's Eve after the kids went to sleep, but unfortunately he fell asleep so I'll have to save the Scrabble game for tomorrow. Rematch!

A girlfriend of mine just asked me yesterday to speak at her wedding in April 2010. Me! I've never spoken at anyone's wedding before, not even my own! I was absurdly touched at the request, and then terrified. It will be a big wedding. There will be many, many eyes all looking up at me while I fumble around on the podium and twist the mikestand downwards. With any luck at all, I will get to the end of my prepared speech, that's the best I can promise her at this point. I can't promise her there won't be a puddle of pee waiting for the next person at the podium when I'm done, or that the speech won't come to a sudden, abrupt conclusion with the bride running up on stage screaming SHUT UP! SHUT UP! Last of all, I can't promise her that anyone else in the audience, other than myself, will laugh at the prepared and carefully handwritten jokes. Maybe we should just bulletproof the whole thing and get the DJ to play a laugh-track.

Who is the person who gives speeches at a wedding? Is it the one who's known the bride the longest? Known her the best? Been a best friend? Where are all the calm, confident best friends with their insouciant smiles and their witty throw-away lines when we need them? I wonder about that now (and the happy couple will wonder about that when I'm speaking). Why does she pick someone who, by their own written admission, is terrified - still terrified - of public speaking? While I don't doubt the bride's ability and willingness to embarrass me publicly, it seems pretty unusual that she might want to do this at her own wedding.

But you're funny! she says. Well. We'll see about that. And we'll have the video to prove it!


It would seem appropriate at this point to round off the New Year with some wise words but I'm out of stock. This month has been the most insane month ever, in the last 5 years of my life, and that's saying a lot, since I managed to deliver 2 children in the last 5 years. I can't provide any factual information, but suffice to say I've moved office not once, but twice, in the last 3 weeks and it is only through my extreme slowness in unpacking boxes that the 2nd move of this month went relatively smoothly since the movers just needed to close up the boxes again before carting them away. So I can safely say that my personal effects have hardly been stressed out by the moves at all, quite unlike myself. I feel like roadkill at the moment (another Yomeishu!) and it is literally and solely through the grace of God that I have come out amazingly well despite the events of the last 3 weeks. I have not just survived, but it looks as though I will actually be okay. And my faith in God has been very much restored over the past 2 years.

I am not a religious person. 10 years in a Catholic girls' school only managed to partially undo whatever harm my atheist parents caused in failing to provide me with any kind of religious foundation at all, in that I do believe there is a God and his name is not Bhudda, Mohammed, or any other name. Actually maybe his name is Jesus (I said "partially undo"). Anyway. I believed fervently in the existence of a higher being who was kind and interested in my personal affairs and development right up to the age of 14 when Something Happened which caused such a major sea change in my views of God that we lost touch thereafter. Most people would assume that such a Something would involve a death in the family, or a death at least, but it didn't. I had a big, huge, massive, enormous, huge crush (oh, it was a big crush) on a 15 year old ACS boy named Christopher Lo. We met through extra-curricular activities organised by uniformed groups in our respective schools. He was hot. Hot hot hot. For a month, I pretty much staked him out the way a 14-year old girl with limited resources, no Internet access, a curfew and a home telephone under 24-hour armed mommy-guard would stake out a 15-year old boy who didn't really remember exactly who she was. That is to say, I sneaked off to a public phone a bunch of times and called him up to "just chat". Then someone who knew someone organised a really awesome canoeing and beach picnic event in Sentosa for a bunch of people, him and me included, and I knew this was my chance to really make an impression.

Something like 7 wardrobe selections and 100 or so hours spent planning and discussing The Event with my girlfriends later, I was well and truly ready. Locked and loaded. I think I was even almost completely pimple-free at that point. The night before The Event, I almost couldn't sleep. I wrote incessantly in my diary. I think his name appeared so often that a casual reader might think it was his diary. I prayed. I wrote out a bullet point list of topics that I could talk about with him. I even practised smiling in the mirror so my braces wouldn't show so much.

It rained that day. In fact, it didn't just rain, it bloody poured. I woke up in the morning and thought it was almost evening time, it was so dark outside. According to the news, there was more rain that day than any other day in the last 10 years. The. Last. Ten. Years. Canoeing and beach picnic indeed. I went anyway. He didn't show up.

I guess I must have had a pretty flimsy belief system back then for it to fall apart over something so small, but anyway, all fences have been mended now and save for the fact that I still can't bring myself to go to church, my faith in a higher power is fully restored. I will however never be one of those people who mention Him all the time or get into a long head of steam over "God's Love". I've asked him for help quite a few times over the past 2 years, and the response has been so immediate and so definitive that it is impossible not to believe there is a higher power. Plus, if you need concrete evidence that God exists, just try this man's Tagliatelle Ragu.

Monday, December 28, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

to finish my mandatory work-related health screening.

Scratch that. Christmas is over but my health screening is not. I just went back twice today for the 3rd and 4rd instalment of my health screening. And I'm still not done yet, there's another appointment in the 3rd week of January 2010.

All I want for Chinese New Year is to finish my health screening.

One amazing advantage of being a child of 2 doctors is that I never once had to go for health screening before this. As the biological offspring of 2 MBBS, I was lulled into a false sense of security that should there be anything even remotely wrong with me, either one of my parents would have immediately detected it. By osmosis, perhaps. Even my dad, whom I last had a decent conversation with when I was 11 and didn't actually speak a single word to from the time I was 13 till the day I picked him up from the airport at the ripe old age of 26.

Now that I understand how truly intrusive a proper health screening can be, I realise how terribly wrong I was. Which is quite tragic since I routinely comforted myself with this very thought when faced with the horrifying disadvantages of being a child of 2 doctors, first and foremost being that I get to enjoy every new vaccine that hits the market before any one of my friends (oh how different my life would have been if my parents had been movie producers instead). Also, contrary to popular belief, I did not get MCs on tap or a free-flow of medical certificates as and when I deemed fit, in fact, I never got ANY medical certificates when I asked for them except for this one time when I was pretty much too ill to get out of bed and my mother finally, grudgingly, passed me a medical certificate for one day's sick leave.

Finally, I don't believe anyone reading this has ever woken up from a deep sleep, feeling a strange pain, only to find their mother extracting a crapload of blood in a syring from their right arm.

But anyway. Back to the health screening. I have to say I almost ran out of the room when the doctor put on a rubber glove, pulled it snug on her hand and grabbed a tube of gel. It was like every bad cliche come horribly, horribly true. And that was not the end of it. I went through a series of eye tests, including something truly unexpected (and by unexpected, I mean unpleasant) bearing the relatively benign description of "ocular pressure test". A gust of air and a scream, is what I call it. Next eye, please.

Throughout the battery of eye tests, the doctor kept shaking his head and telling me, there's nothing wrong with your eyes, there's nothing wrong with your eyes. I wondered what was so bad about that. Finally, he shook his head one last time and proclaimed with some reluctance that my eyes were perfectly fine. Then he stared at me, as though he was seeing me for the first time, and asked what kind of company I worked for. A law firm, says I. Why do you ask? Well, said he, this test that you have just completed is for pilots.


You know what the problem with a blog is?

It starts off as a place you can write stuff in, stuff that you can't write down in a diary because someone could find it. Then after a while, it becomes a place that transcends my normal everyday life, where I can talk about stuff that perhaps doesn't really matter but it matters to me in a relatively insignificant way, but important enough that I want to write about it. It's also a place to vent about the small stuff, if I need to vent.

But I can't talk about the big stuff. The stuff that keeps me awake at night. Because that's conduct unbecoming of a solicitor. Because I am bound by rules of confidentiality and propriety.

So I talk about what matters to me, a little. What bothers me, a little. Stuff that bothers me a lot is what I know to keep to myself. Even when I think so much about it that I can't sleep properly for weeks, and sometimes, oftentimes, it bleeds into my dreams and I wake up utterly exhausted, and put on my game face for another day.

Perhaps this time next year I will be far more settled in my mind, or maybe I would have lived with my fears long enough to have learned to ignore them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The 80s Post

I was born in the 70s and I grew up in the 80s. Having done so I now feel very strongly that the 90s and the 2000s were not very exciting in comparison. Particularly when it comes to the clothes.

We had an office party the other day, and it was themed. This is the first time in my life I'm attending an office party that has a theme AND a possibility that people might actually adhere to the theme. The theme was "the 80s". Having just started work in this office, I thought I could lie low, stay under the radar and show up sans fancy dress but after the 5th person asked me what I was going to wear, and after I discovered that my room mate had already ordered not one, but two costumes for this party, I realised I might actually have to put on my game face.

So The Husband obligingly googles a bunch of web pages with people wearing clothing from the 80s. I have to say it was a real blast from the past. We went through page after page of material and there was just so much out there beyond Bananarama and the A-Team that I was dazzled. I forgot how much fun it was to get dressed when I was a teenager. Who could forget the ever-present denim jacket? And the leg-warmers with the faux aerobic gear. Awesome stuff!!

In the end, we knocked it down to:

- a big thick hairband with a chunky ribbon at the side
- a "The Smiths" T-shirt
- a ripped denim skirt
- fluorescent socks
- white canvass sneakers

Having made these rather difficult decisions, I opened my wardrobe, pulled out all the items in question and put them in a little bag to bring to work.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Local Girl Becomes One With Her Apple

So it's the first day for the Smoot in the new office and, through a series of circumstances too long-winded to get into, also the first day in a new organisation. I am one of the new kids in the playground, and I hope to make some friends soon.

It was a bit of a shocker to arrive this morning at my new desk, still strewn with unpacked and unsorted debris from my previous office, to find an apple sitting uncomfortably in the middle of the whole mess. I didn't know who to thank for it, so I thanked no one. Sometime during the office orientation exercise that followed, I was informed that everyone in the office gets a fruit on Monday for their private consumption, so that we can all be shiny happy people together. Another part of the office orientation exercise instructed us on what to do if the apple is still sitting on our desk uneaten at close of business on Monday - clearly not a happy scenario for the apple or the apowner of the apple. So it is with some reluctance and not a little bit of fear that I am now in the process of consuming my apple, having had the unmitigated temerity to wait until half the day had passed.

I now recall with even further trepidation another part of the induction process where we were clearly told not to eat at our desks, which means that my current attempt to follow one office rule has led to my flagrant breach of another one.

Plus I just dropped the apple on the floor dammit

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Smoot Phase Shift

It's not a good thing to dislike moving office. Not only because it adds to the list of my dislikes, but also because it seems to happen to me more often because I dislike it.

I'm moving office for the 3rd time in 5 years, and for the 4th time in 6 years. For all intents and purposes, it looks like I'm some kind of big time job-hopper, but as I keep telling my mother, I still work for the same company and the same boss - I just get shifted around a lot. And no, we are not evading the authorities.

Movers have just arrived!! Time to get my ass off my seat!!