Life's like that!

May 31, 2008

My sister, she's comin', we're gonna, have a party...

Yeah! Finally my dear sister and her two kids are on the plane to USA! I can't wait to see them at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport tonight at 10pm. May Allah SWT protect them and save my sister's sanity during the flight :)

May 29, 2008

Any day is a good day...

Yesterday morning I watched an episode of the Rachael Ray show (a cooking show) and heard the following saying:

"Any day above ground is a good day."

This statement really hit home for me. If I had not been in the accident, I wouldn't think twice about it. But I'm just amazed that I could walk away from the car wreck. Like yesterday's phone call from a friend from Massachusetts, Allah SWT is watching over me and gives me a new lease on life to take care of my daughter.

And my dear sister is right about looking forward to future possibilities rather than thinking about what could happen if I were to die in the accident. And I hope that she's right about great things coming my way since I survive. I don't want fame and fortune (as if I'll ever get them), I only want happiness and a place in heaven for my family and friends here in the USA and in Singapore.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers

I'm fortunate to have many good people showing their care and concern and asking about my health since the car accident. All my colleagues at the school have been asking about me, and send their regards to me via Sr. Anita.

Yesterday a friend from Massachusetts called after reading about it on my blog. It was such a great feeling to hear from her. I'm glad that she and her husband and two kids are doing well. We spoke for a while before I feed my daughter dinner. I'm thankful that in this foreign land where my family are a few thousand miles away in Singapore, I can't help but count my blessings to have these group of kind and thoughtful friends here in the USA.

May 28, 2008

I'm thankful to be alive

Our auto insurance company sent a gentleman to assess the damage of the car and he just came here to look at it. He said that since the floor, doors and roof of the car has severe damages, the car is a total loss. I'm still shocked at his assessment because I'm so thankful to walk out of the accident without broken bones.

These few days with my daughter has healed me somewhat emotionally. I'm resting as much as possible but also try to have some play time with her. She is the love of my life and I'm grateful to Allah SWT for giving me another chance to take care of my daughter.

Sweeney Todd - real or fiction?

Happen to click a link that brings me to this web site about Sweeney Todd "the demon barber of fleet street". The dark side of me likes to read horrific crime stories featured on this web site. Read on if you dare...

May 27, 2008

New Year Baby

I just watched a PBS documentary, New Year Baby about the Khmer Rouge - the horrifying regime that killed 2 million Cambodians, including my husband's 3 brothers, 2 sisters, grandparents, aunties, uncles and countless cousins.

The doc was filmed by Socheata Poeuv who wants to search for the answers to her parents' history in Cambodia.

"Socheata Poeuv was born in a refugee camp on Cambodian New Year’s Day, after her parents had fled the Khmer Rouge genocide and escaped to Thailand. She moved to Texas with her family in 1982. Socheata graduated from Smith College in 2002, and worked in network news for four years." - intro from the web site

For some reason, my daughter was awake at 10pm to watch this doc with me. When she's older, Allah SWT willing I will take the time to explain to her this important history so that she can understand her father's life story better.

Husband wants me to drive a car bigger than a sedan e.g. minivan or sports utility vehicle when we settle the damaged car insurance claim. In Texas, size does matters. Lots of people here drive trucks, minivans and SUV. Although I do agree with him that a bigger car would mean safer drive, the price of gasoline these days make me think twice. All praise be to Allah SWT, Target Superstore is just across the street from our apartment, so we can either walk or drive very short distance to the store. But with gas price approaching $4.00 per gallon (last year this time it was just about $2.50 per gallon), it's just unthinkable how much it'll cost us to pay for gas when we drive.

I'm just surprise that the American people have not started a riot on the ridiculous rise in gas prices. The good thing is that yesterday news presenters reported that there is a 19% drop in the number of SUV sales and 37% increase in small/compact car sales. At least people are beginning to think about the hole in their pocket before they get a gas-thirsty vehicle like a SUV.

A Prayer for the Less Fortunate

There have been many tornadoes these days that destroyed properties and killed lots of people in the USA since early spring.

I feel so sad for those unfortunate people who not only lost their homes, but also are going through the trauma of the loss of their friends and family members.

May Allah SWT relieve them of their suffering and grant them strength to overcome this stressful time.


I think I'm having post-traumatic stress disorder from the car accident. I just want to stay home with my daughter and the thought of driving just makes me cringe. I told myself that what happened was not my fault. But if I had stayed home to take care of my daughter instead of insisting on going to work that day, this would not have happened. The same day in the evening, a fatal car accident on interstate 20 highway resulted in 2 people dead. It could be me if the driver had not stepped on his brakes in time. I cannot begin to imagine what would happen to my daughter if I were to die or seriously injured that day. I believe that things happen for a reason, and I am just thankful that I get to live to be with my husband and daughter. I'm waiting for my sister to come to USA on this Saturday to help me cope with this distress, Allah SWT willing.

May 23, 2008

Car Accident

This morning at about 6:25am I got hit by a cargo van at a traffic intersection. When I saw the light turned green, I stepped on the accelerator. The van driver claimed that he saw the yellow light, so he continued to drive on.

There was not a scratch on the van but my car's driver side was hit so badly that I couldn't open the door and had to climb out from the other passenger side. All praise be to Allah SWT for allowing me to walk away from this accident. Someone called the police while I was calling husband.

May 22, 2008

No help? Self-help loh...

Just now husband told me that last night around 3am, my daughter pulled his hands to bring him to the kitchen to give her medicine because she was running a fever. All praise be to Allah SWT, I would never know this because I'm such a sound sleeper. Thank goodness my daughter's instinct for self-preservation kicked in and yanked her daddy for help. Heaven knows what could happen if she didn't do so. So today I'm staying home with her in case her fever comes back.

May 21, 2008

Hot! Hot! Hot! (but good for my plants)

Monday the temperature climbed up to 99 degree F (37.2 degree C) and yesterday it was 96 degree F. Today it's supposed to go down to 93 but it's so muggy and icky outside. Yesterday I let my daughter help to water the plants. I hope to give her opportunities to cultivate her love for gardening. But today I am absolutely determined not to go outdoors unless my lovely purple flowery plants, tomato and bell pepper plants desperately need water.


Sick leave for daughter

My daughter has fever since last night. I gave her Motrin, a fever reducer, but the fever came back. I suspect that it's related to the rashes around her pee pee area since last week. I asked a friend who teaches kindergarten and she said it could be yeast infection. She asked if my daughter has been picking things from the floor and putting them in her mouth and I said yes. She said it's a common problem for girls. Usually when my daughter is sick, I prefer to take the day off work and take care of her. So I called the school office to let them know. The KG teacher called me this morning and I told her about the fever.

All praise be to Allah SWT I called the pediatrician office this morning and Dr. O is available at 4:30pm. Husband left work at 3pm to bring us to the doctor's clinic. On the way there, husband told me that he just got a performance evaluation from his boss. Generally they are quite happy with his performance as a software developer (he is also taking on responsibilities as a database administrator and software engineer), he needs to work on his communication skills (aka English spoken and written skills) with external contractors. I encouraged him to consider working on this during his free time.

Dr. O confirmed that DD1 has yeast infection that could be caused by a virus. She also said that DD1 has swollen lymph node and blisters on the back of her throat and around the tonsil area. I'm thankful that she doesn't have ear infection. She told us that if the fever persists for the next 4-5 days, and the yeast infection doesn't go away in the next 3-4 days, we'll have to schedule another appointment. The cool thing about this visit is that Dr. O is able to email the prescription medicine to Walgreens pharmacy and we just have to collect it on our way home. So this cuts down on our waiting time. The pharmacist said that the yeast infection should clear up in 2-4 days since we'll be applying it 4 times daily.

On the way home, I told husband that I've informed some teachers about my decision not to return to work next school year, and I also told them that my husband is happy about my decision. He reminded me, again, that he didn't want me to work when our girl was 4 months old. Well, as much as I enjoy my time at the school with my colleagues and students, I just want to fast forward the next two weeks (I learnt this phrase from a 2nd grade teacher) and hang out with my dear sister.

Me No Like Cold Dinner

My mother always tell us to eat food while hot, and she would scold me if I were to do other things and delay eating. Now that I am older and wiser, I thought about this a lot. Since the day we got married, I told husband that I would prefer him to put away his work (aka get away from the computer) and eat meals with me once the food is freshly prepared. Now and then he would get so engrossed in his work that he would just ignore me or tell me to go away. Several times I got so mad that I just refused to cook when he did this.

Like last night, specially prepared pan fried tuna, stir fried gai lan and tom yum soup with shrimp, bean sprout, kaffir lime leaves, bean curd and Chinese cabbage. I told him it was dinner time, and he looked at me and said "working time". I brought his dinner to his desk and shut the door. I just hate it when he does this. This morning I didn't even bother to prepare his lunch. We'll see if he shows any remorse for his behavior.

May 20, 2008

Cyber Cafe in the Library?

Nowadays the trend in colleges, middle and high schools seems to be having a cyber cafe in the library where kids can hang out in comfortable chairs with a cup of drinks in their hands as they chat about the latest hot topics. This is a departure from the 'No Food, No Drink" traditional policy. If adults can go to Barnes and Noble bookstores and chill out with a ice blended drink, why can't kids do the same? My only concern is that kids might accidently spill their drinks on the carpet (when they get too excited on a topic or get rough with each other) and we have to rush to get the area cleaned before the stain sets in. Well, I cannot decide to what extent do we compromise on these guidelines in order to attract kids to come to the library. To be continued...

Disco Queens

Dear sister called me at the school yesterday at about 12:30pm and we spoke for about 1 hour. She was having insomnia and needed someone to talk to. Well, this mother of two went to a disco with two of her friends and was a party animal until the wee hours. Back in the days when I was a party animal in the early 1990s (seems like a long time ago), she would scold me for wasting money at the disco. I told her that all I wanted to do was to dance off the fats and not get picked up by creepy guys. I didn't really care what she said as long as mother didn't get mad at me for the late night outings. I have to remind my dear sister that we are no longer 23 years old, she'll have to give her thirty-ish year old bones some rest, or else she'll feel the aftermath of her night out the next day.

Me? Teaching Mandarin? Oh-la-la!

The thought of teaching Mandarin and the Chinese culture at K-12 schools has been drifting in my head for a while. I took Chinese as a second language up to GCE "A" Level, and I genuinely love this subject and subject. Although my family no longer keeps in touch with distant relatives in China, I am proud to be a Chinese and would like my daughter to learn about this half of her heritage (husband will take care of the Cambodian heritage, Allah SWT willing).

Spoke with husband about this last night, and he is supportive of my proposal. Actually when his father heard that husband is marrying a Chinese girl. he was very happy because in Cambodia most of the bankers there are Chinese (Chinese daughter-in-law = smart Chinese girl). Nowadays when I meet someone new, I would introduce myself as a Chinese Singaporean Muslim, because many people (and I mean MANY people) assume that I'm from China. I guess I'm trying to highlight the fact that there are Chinese in Southeast Asia, and Singapore is NOT part of China.

Anyway, going back to the topic of me teaching Mandarin: I want to spread my love of this language around and also wear the hat of a teacher for a while before I decide that I want to abandon my passion for librarianship. I'm definitely not a desk bound person as I love to move around, but working in a library means that I'm desk bound most of the time. Being a freelance teacher allows me to move around places and meet different people. Will enlist my dear sister's help during summer to sort all these issues out, Allah SWT willing.

May 19, 2008

Childhood Buddy

My daughter's babysitter's son, Mohammed, was born 7 days later than my daughter, so they practically grow up together since she was 4 months old. Last Friday the babysitter told me an incident that showed their bond. She said that a 11 month old baby was moving in her walker when my daughter's foot was accidentally trapped under the walker. My daughter was crying because of the pain when Mohammed came over and scolded the baby with a pointed finger "No, baby no!" and tried to comfort my daughter by hugging and kissing her cheeks. Allah SWT be pleased..... that's so sweet!

I am glad that my daughter has a childhood buddy since I would really like her to learn how to get along with other kids as she is the only child now for husband and me. It's a blessing that she has opportunities to get to see other kids during the week. Allah SWT willing I hope to bring my daughter to visit Mohammed after I stop working to keep their friendship going.

May 18, 2008

Is SAHM (stay at home mum) for me?

Husband seems to be in a better mood these days since I announced that I will not be returning back to work after this summer. He has always wanted to have me stay home with daughter. Part of me want to do this, but part of me don't want to because I have been working since I was 13 years old and have been financial independent since 12 years ago. It's kind of difficult to just let go of this financial security and I do struggle with this. But I know that my husband will try his very best to provide for us and take good care of us. I guess I just have to trust in Allah SWT and my husband to give it a try.

Bring back those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...

Just two more weeks of school and summer holiday is here! I can't wait for it to come and hang out with my dear sister who will arrive in Houston on May 31st, Allah SWT willing. It's been two weeks since I last saw my sister in person (we've been skyping each other since she left) and I just want to hang out with her and her two kids. I'm so glad that she is the one traveling and not me because I just don't have her guts to fly with my daughter for 24 hours. I think now I'm more at peace and not as stressed as two weeks ago.

May 13, 2008

A kiss is not just a kiss

Last Sunday my daughter took me by surprise when she gave me kisses without request. Usually I have to point to my cheeks and say "kiss mama, kiss mama..." before she plants two butterflies on me. When she did it the first time without me asking her to do so, I thought I was imaging things. The second time she did it, I was feeling really strange. And the third time she did it I felt so happy! Her kisses made me feel like a brand new mother! I know now why people always say that children love their parents unconditionally, and I'm thankful to Allah SWT that I get to know how it feel to be a mother who is loved by her child.

May 11, 2008

Calendar Girl by Neil Sedaka

These days I have been humming this song to my daughter on the way to work. The lyrics are quite interesting and I just like the song's melody.

Watch the video:

Calendar Girl - Neil Sedaka

I love, I love, I love my calender girl
Yeah, sweet calender girl
I love, I love, I love my calender girl
Each and every day of the year

(January) You start the year off fine
(February) You're my little valentine
(March) I'm gonna march you down the aisle
(April) You're the Easter Bunny when you smile
Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calender girl

Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year
(Every day of the year)

(May) Maybe if I ask your dad and mom
(June) They'll let me take you to the Junior Prom
(July) Like a firecracker all aglow
(August) When you're on the beach you steal the show
Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl

I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year
(Every day of the year)

(September) Light the candles at your Sweet Sixteen
(October) Romeo and Juliet on Halloween
(November) I'll give thanks that you belong to me
(December) You're the present 'neath my Christmas tree
Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calender girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year


Baby Mine - A Tribute to Mothers All Over the World

Lyrics source:

Watch the video:

From: Dumbo
Music: Frank Churchill
Lyrics: Ned Washington

Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine

Little one when you play
Don't you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine

If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for
The right to hold you

From your head to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me
Cute as can be, baby of mine


Early Childhood Education @ Home

"The human personality, or the care of it, is broken up. On the one side is the home... on the other side is the school... There is no unity of conception." Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Last night I thought of getting a book about teaching montessori in the home for my daughter. Guess what! My daughter brought me this book to me this morning that I forgot I've purchased already! Is this divine intervention?

I think that now I'm pretty comfortable about homeschooling my daughter. Last year I thought that I will not be competent to do so. After spending one and half year working at a private school, I think that I can pretty much handle my child's education. Is it my arrogance or ignorance? I don't know. But I do know that Allah SWT willing, I will plan to attend a homeschooler's conference in Texas in August this year to get a feel of homeschooling.

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Up, up and away...

Gas price is at an all time high these days. Yesterday it was $3.65 per gallon. I'm really surprised that Americans have not taken to the streets and hold rallies to get the government to react. Many people who drive long distance to work in big gas-thirsty vehicles e.g. SUV and minivans are facing financial crunch time now. With summer vacation approaching soon, it is really going to be expensive the travel on the road for middle and low-middle income families.

The baby is mine!

Finally after one and half years, I paid off the car and can now claim the ownership of a 2000 Honda Civic sedan! It's been a stressful one and half years, and to think that I could survive the stress! Sometimes I got worried that we couldn't pay in full and the car could be repossessed by the dealer. All praise be to Allah SWT for providing us with financial stability during this time, and to let us enjoy the comfortable and safer car. I think that I will not be buying a minivan soon since we really don't have a need for it. Since gas price is now at a high of $3.65 (last year this time it was less than $3), we should just be happy with the sedan since it generally meets the needs of a family of three.

May 10, 2008

A Good Management Tip

Yesterday I spoke with a teacher, Sr. Mazida from Malaysia, and got to know that she was a head of department at a big stock exchange company in Malaysia. She shared with me her management skills and how she was able to work well with 10 men who worked under her. I learnt that it is important to once in a while take your subordinate out for lunch to find out what is bothering them if they do not seem to be performing well at work. I believe that if you take good care of the people working for you, they'll go the extra mile for you. I'm so glad to get this wisdom from Sr. Mazida.

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!

My dear sister is coming to visit us this month! She's bringing her two kids and Allah SWT wiling they'll touch down in Houston, Texas on May 31st, 2008. They are going back to Singapore on August 21st. I hope that they'll have a safe trip to the US.

May 08, 2008

Now's the time to say goodbye...

Here's the ending song that I remember from the good old Mickey Mouse Club broadcast on Singapore TV in the seventies:

Now's the time to say goodbye
To all our company
Through the years we'll all be friends
Wherever we may be
Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse
Forever let us hold our banner high
M-I-C - See ya real soon!
K-E-Y - Why? Because we like you!

Library Makeover - Jiru's Edition

Finally my wish for a library makeover came through this week. All praise be to Allah SWT with help from various people, the library was transformed from clutter/store room to a spacious/comfy place.

Actually three years ago this was how I wanted the library to look. But the principal at that time had a different idea, so I went along with his instead of insisting on mine.

I'm glad that several people found the transformation refreshing and timely. I hope that students and teachers will enjoy the library even more now.

May 06, 2008

Library Makeover - Extreme Edition

Yesterday I spent the whole day moving library shelves, tables, chairs, cabinets, and miscellaneous stuff in the library for a makeover. The school's consultant, a superintendent from Houston, came by in the morning to give some suggestions on how to make the library a more inviting place for teachers and students. This is also to make sure that the library is presentable for the accreditation review team's visit this Thursday and Friday. I was going to get this done last week but was out sick for three days. Sr. Anita had to leave at 2pm, and she had a high school math class for one and half hours, so she couldn't help me much. Today since she's not teaching, she'll try to stay late to help.

My supervisor said we can rent a climate controlled storage space to keep unused items, and she is going to get a u-haul truck to move these items there. I plan to recycle as much stuff as possible by giving them away to teachers, putting them in the the recycling bin and let students take what they need. Honestly it's been long overdue for the need to make over the library. I have been letting the library become a dumping ground, but it's because I don't want to throw out things unnecessary. Since the superintendent made it clear that unused items must be moved out of the library, we'll just have to get this done by Wednesday latest.

Honestly I'm quite happy with the way the library is arranged now. I think I might have the potential to become an interior design consultant :)

May 01, 2008

I'm back! Since the password access for my web site is having some unresolvable issue, I've decided to switch back to this blog for now. Stay tuned...