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Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

I ask myself a lot whether I am a good mother.

I don’t really like to clean and don’t clean all that much.
I don’t stay at home all day with the children and pander to their every need.
Sometimes I don’t answer their questions and tell them to be quiet because I have a headache.
Sometimes I troll them for fun.
And I talk about my work more than I talk about my kids really.
Sometimes I also wished they would go to bed earlier so that I can so stuff I like to do.

Then I find these notes in my handbag at work:

image

…and think maybe, just maybe, in spite of all of my shortcomings I might be actually doing something right.

Heh.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular relationship I was in from age 16 to 17-ish since I returned to my primary school 2 weekends ago to attend a talk about registering Peanut for Primary 1 next year.

The reason why I have been thinking about it is because the boy whom I went out with was my classmate in Primary 6. Also because I was sitting at the piano on Sunday while waiting for my tomatoes to roast and my bacon to render for my pasta sauce reading Chopin Nocturnes when I remembered a certain incident involving said boy.

I guess from age 10 onwards, the thing that defined me most as a person was my piano-playing. I was crazy about the piano. It was the one thing that I was really good at in life, something which no one could take away from me.

My piano teacher then wanted to arrange for an audition for me with [the late] Mr. Ong, in which I was to play Nocturne in C minor [with that haunting right hand cantabile and after five bars of which Mr. Ong told me to return to studio in two weeks with Chopin’s Barcarolle]. I was crazy excited and broke the news to the boy who was waiting for me after my piano class at the bottom of my piano teacher’s apartment block.

The boy flew into a rage. He claimed that he was uncomfortable with me attending class with a male person who will no doubt take advantage of me, in some misplaced sense of chivalry? Male chauvinism? I thought it was really ridiculous. We had a huge fight about it. We eventually made up but I still thought that he was being a complete ass about what was clearly very important to me.

I did the audition anyway. We broke up eventually due to some silly reason or other and I spent a while after that feeling quite resentful about a lot of things linked to and consequent to the fall out. One of the things that stuck with me was that maybe he didn’t want me to go to the audition because to him, my piano-playing was just some extended hobby with no relevance to real life. Maybe he just wanted me to be mediocre forever because what do I know, right? I am just this stupid naïve girl whom he thought was so easily taken advantage of.

The reality is that nothing eventually came out of my music education due to certain other circumstances but the fact that a boy tried to stop me from going after something I really wanted under the guise of “I love you and care about you” really stung. The lesson I learnt from that relationship was that I should never ever be with anyone who cannot support me in my endeavours or have any faith in me.

*

On a car ride one day, I turned to my husband and asked him whether he ever looked back on his past relationships and think: Hey, I was such a nasty piece of shit to her!

That’s a question that I really would like to ask the boy should I ever have the opportunity to in the future.

[Related post: the new year’s eve story]

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From Terry Pratchett’s Raising Steam:

Something struck in Moist’s head, causing him to say, “May I ask, Missus Bradshaw, if your handwriting is good?”

She looked down her nose at him and said, “Indeed yes, Mister Lipwig. I used to write a beautiful cursive script for my dear late husband. He was a lawyer and they expect excellence in the writing and use of the language. Mister Slant was always very…particular about that, and no one appreciated the judicious use of Latatian better than dear Archibald did.

“And, may I add, I was schooled at the Quirm College for Young Ladies, where they are very solid on the teaching of foreign tongues, even though Morpokian rather seems to have become the lingua quirma of late.” Mrs. Bradshaw sniffed. “And in working for my husband I learned a lot about people and the human condition.”

I do agree that working in law teaches you, among other things, an awful lot about the human condition. There is nothing quite like standing aside and watching people argue about stuff, or listening to try to understand what people argue about, how people argue, why relationships break down.

All of that makes me quite introspective about life in general, and very circumspect about the things in life that one should or should not worry about.

So I spend a fair bit of time trying to convince my children that whatever they are fighting about is just sometimes simply not worth their effort. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Pick your fights wisely.

*

The Buddha: What are you doing?
Me: I am soaking out Sentosa Tranquility ink out of my fountain pen.
He: Wasn’t that what you’ve been doing for some weeks now?
Me: Nope. Last week I was soaking out purple. Different ink. Different pen. Different day.
He: It seems like you are forever washing out ink from somewhere. I think you are a bit obsessive about this. Maybe if you just use a normal pen…
Me: That’s like saying “Maybe if you just drive a normal Toyota Corolla…”
He: Good point.

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I was sad for the last 12 to 15 hours or so over the Grounds of Decision which were released for one of our matters.

I am now not sad anymore, mostly because The Buddha made extra effort to cheer me up over lunch and Champagne Truffle took us to this hole in a wall coffee place along the river that had this really kickass coffee that kept me buzzing all afternoon while I devoured all the work I was unable to do while I was sad.

I work with amazing people. I constantly remind myself to be thankful for having them to go everything with. It makes it slightly more bearable.

*

“We will probably meet like heaps of lawyers there.”
“Then I think we shouldn’t go. Because, you know, I don’t like other people much.”
“That’s like your cat saying that she doesn’t like other cats much.”
“Precisely.”

But we went anyway and we didn’t run into heaps of lawyers.

*

I was asked last night how my day was and I tried to tell the person who asked me why I felt so down.

I could tell that by my second sentence, she had lost all interest. Then she proceeded to say that maybe I was feeling like crap because the weather was so hot yesterday afternoon.

That is the reason why I never talk about my work to these people anymore.

I hate it when people ask about my day when they are not actually interested in the answer. I don’t want to feel obliged to package my emotions into a bite-size template answer safe for public consumption.

When I have a shit day, I will say that I have a shit day and I will proceed to tell you why exactly it was such a shit day. If you can’t deal with that, don’t ask.

*

I started a little photo project over the weekend to take pictures of the things that my kids stop to look at while we wandered around on our various little gallivants.

It is quite eye-opening. Like the following picture of an olive tree:

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Lion stopped in his tracks and started laughing at the tree, how it has funny eyes and nose. We pass by this tree so many times and I have never noticed that it looks like an Ent.

Or this frog in the middle of a pond by its lonesome self:

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By this time, Peanut and Lion were running out of battery but they still found the energy to stand by that little window into the pond and croaked in unison.

I hope to continue this project on a regular basis. Looking at the pictures at the end of today is doing quite a bit for my sanity.

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regret part 2

For Regret Part 1, go here.

*

What if you had a chance to meet someone from your past again, someone who had once been part of your support network, and say to him all of the things that you should have said at some point in time but didn’t; things like thank you for your time and effort and for everything else you had done for me, and I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend and for not trying harder to stay on the radar, I’m sorry for being young and stupid and for thinking that people were a sum total of the relationships they form and obsessing about these relationships instead of all of the other more important things that made up a person.

Would you do it? Or would you keep silent and live with all of those words unsaid. Then again, are those words unsaid necessarily a bad thing? Are you in the end seeking to speak those words in a bid to resolve imaginary issues that never existed to anyone but yourself?

Those are questions I have been mulling over for the last week or so.

I am a defence lawyer. Rejections are part of my business as usual. So I should not have to think so much about this and just get on with it but I do because over the years, I have become more temperate and circumspect. Sometimes, I yearn for my younger, more reckless self who’d just screw all this thinking and just do it, come what may.

As I’ve always said, knowledge and wisdom does not set one free. They bind you and imprison you in this little black room to the point where no matter how many opinions you get, they are never enough to shed any light on the situation.

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small victories

The father of an ex-boyfriend once told me, when I was in my first year in practice, that I should try to get into commercial / corporate work because that’s where all the big bucks are. He is a businessman so I supposed making money is very important to him.

I remember telling him that I really like what I’m doing; I like litigating my little claims, taking my small victories and going home to bed with no problems falling asleep. I would rather do this small work and make a modest income than to burn my nights and weekends chasing money. Plus, my work makes me happy and that’s all that should matter, really.

I supposed he was probably aghast at how unambitious I am. Many people are. But then, that just means that my priorities are different, not that they are wrong.

The end of the year always makes me a little pensive, a little introspective. Maybe it’s the cold weather, or maybe the impending end of something. This will be my tenth Christmas with the Firm. This weekend, I have been asked to attend an alumni lunch for my tenth year out of law school; without quite feeling it, I have had the same (sometimes shit) job for the last ten years.

And at the end of today, after I have finished a standoff with someone (and won), after signing all of my letters and am gearing up to go home, I realized that I still feel the same way about my work, you know? There are ups and downs but it still makes me happy and excited. Everyday is a new day. I complain about solving problems for people but hey, I really like solving problems, you know?

And that is really all that should matter.

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I discovered the following things about my children while baking gingerbread people with them yesterday in an attempt to distract them from the pain from their mouth ulcers:

1. Peanut likes small details and small things. She is the one who would peel off little bits of dough stuck to the rolling pin and gather them together and try to mould them into small bows and ribbons for her gingerbread girl cookie cutter.

2. Lion is a bit of a production operator. All his gingerbread people are variations on a theme, even when I tried to show him different ways of decorating them.

3. Peanut on the other hand is very creative. She made aliens and angels and girls with belts and necklaces, boys with smiley faces. Anything goes and whatever catches her.

4. Lion is quite meticulous. He will pick out all the parts he needs, lay them straight in a line on the mat before sticking them on.

I also found out that it is possible to make up and sing silly gingerbread people songs for 2 hours straight.

It was a fun afternoon, except that Lion still refuses to eat and it takes great effort to get him to drink anything too. Lion also refuses to talk and communicates with me by sign language. I end up having to keep up a running chatter to make up for the kiddies’ silence, which is really tiring because I am not normally a very chatty person either. The Other Half is far better at this kind of thing. I usually just walk along in silence with the children.

My gingerbread recipe can be found here. We have to make about another 3 or more batches because I have decided to give out gingerbread this year instead of cook jam like last year. That should keep the kiddies busy for a while.

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