"face your fears, retrace the years, ride the whims of your mind"

I miss you
Dear Journal,

I am sorry that I have been away for so very long. It has been a year of adjustment and reinvention, and I really didn't want to talk about it here. But don't worry, I am okay. In fact, I am more than okay. I am excited for what tomorrow may bring, and for the first time in a while, I am happy and content.

I will be back, my friend, please be patient.



I am waiting in this new place that is now home.  The quiet is calming but as I sit, it parts to reveal the presence of construction nearby and birds that live in the dense green hedge that is my cocoon.  This is my new life, my new everyday.  It has rescued me from all that is past and I am so very grateful.


Pretty Maids All In A Row

I have to name these watercolour dolls at some point, and then photograph their male counterparts, and name them too. And then what?

I start these projects, and then like me, they get a little lost along the way - all dressed up, with no place to go. This must be what purgatory feels like, a state of limbo. I have been in this very spot for the last, what, 4 years? Standing still, or simply hanging on, gets tiring; just ask Survivor contenders. But what does giving up mean? It means that you have let your team down, let yourself down. You start to berate your inability to persevere. Couldn't you have gone on another second, another minute?

Answer : No. I couldn't have. If I could have, I would have.

One thing I have to learn this year, is how to say no and how to accept that I cannot do everything. No, I can't draw portraits. No, I can't save you from self-destruction. No, it's not ok that you gave me a latte when I ordered a cappuccino. No, I cannot go on living like this. No, I am not fine. And no, that does not make me a bad person.

But, I am not giving up on the dolls ... I have to give them somewhere to go. So once they have been named, they will be sent to the people they have been named after. Hopefully after that, I will have new ones to send. And perhaps eventually, I will get dressed and find a way out of limbo too.

New Look
I really should stop making decisions while under the influence - this new blog look is a little too ... floral for me. What's with the daisy on a zip? Who beyond the age of 12 wears a hoodie (is that what it is?) these days, much less with a flower dangling off the front of it. Well, the damage has been done, and guess what, the last look isn't available anymore. So ... we're stuck for the moment until something else comes up. I'll just have another glass of wine to take my mind off my folly. All is not lost though. With this new theme I get a nifty "Previous 10 Entries" link at the bottom of each page, which was missing from the last one. It was annoying to have to click on Archive, and navigate from there. Silver linings, you gotta love them.

While I'm on the subject of being silly, today's printmaking class was somewhat a waste of time. It's not the teacher's fault, the hard ground that we applied onto our copper plates somehow took longer than usual to dry. On the bright side of things, I can now tell people that I literally watched paint dry. One more thing to add to my list of accomplishments : Graduate from law school ... check. Get married ... check. Have kids ... check. Watch paint dry ... check. My mother should be so proud.

I should get to bed before I spout anymore nonsense. Goodnight ... and try to ignore that daisy.

Handprint art

This is a a hand-pulled linocut print based on Scott's right hand.  Judging by the number of lines, it appears that he will be a worrywart like his mother.  Already he is constantly worrying whether his time at the playground is up or when his next meal will be served.  Oh, and whether his toy trains have run out of batteries.

Here's hoping that his vexations will remain simple and his heart, light. 

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.


Crime Central

The evidence speaks for itself - I just murdered a book and vandalised its parts.

Before you judge me with your hands tossed up in the air and/or other bodily gestures, you might like to know that it was light on content, and involves a female protagonist who named herself Cleo. In my defence, I'd bought it only because it was on sale, and had a red convertible on the cover - I plead temporary insanity! Or intoxication, in which case, the real culprit is Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2008.

So that its death isn't in vain, I shall endeavour to use the remains constructively. More drawings, some origami and who knows what else will rise from the ashes?

Step by step

When I made a list of things to do post-sabbatical, I was not quite realistic about the time I would need to complete them. I quickly learnt to stop fretting over what had not been done, but focused instead on what had been achieved. I soon stopped checking the lists everyday, now only taking a peek every week or so. I want to slow down, WAY down, because it is something I have NEVER done. I mean, the last sentence required me to hold down the shift key for more than one letter which I never even bothered or felt like I had the time to do before. Typing on the iPad is challenging enough as I'm bound to using my index fingers when I otherwise am used to using all ten (my life has been all about efficiency, as you would have noticed by now).

I guess I have become used to chasing the minutes. How many more till I am late for the next appointment? How many till I have to check on that app on the iPad? How many more till the kids get off school? How many days till my bills are due? How many how many how many? It is as if in trying to live life to the fullest by doing as much as possible, I am setting myself up for failure - I should think the objective would be more attainable by engaging in one thing deeply and fully, and seeing it through to completion, before moving on to the next. There is a reason why people (myself included), choose free and easy holidays over guided tours. Hopping from one city to another every 2 days achieves nothing besides allowing one to say "I have visited [insert impressive list of cities here]", while confessing to oneself, that "I can't for the life of me remember what [insert same list of cities here] were like, and what was distinctive about each of them". Make sense?

But today, I am happy to report that I am sitting on a bench in the Botanic Gardens, lakeside. I had an actual stroll. Languorous, slow, with no destination in mind. A few minutes ago, Indian music was playing from somewhere. In the air I catch snippets of conversation in languages that are foreign to me. Of course no excursion is complete without the rattle of our mainland Chinese friends and their DSLRs, hacking through the peace, no? But as quickly as they appeared, they have shuffled on to the next photo op. And I can hear birds chirping again.

This is nice. Me, a breeze, my sunglasses, children being fascinated by swans. Time passes and it is fine. It is really fine.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

I fully realise that I am tardy with this update, but if it helps, it has been at the back of my mind all through the holiday season. So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Back To School, everyone!

In the weeks following my post about having to unlearn productivity, I am pleased to report that I have slowed down somewhat on the activities. Out of the following list of activities / errands, I am averaging about 2 a day, down from what seemed like 5 or more in the first 2 weeks.

- going out with kids
- breakfast with parents
- art class (for me)
- classes for kids (we have swimming, gym, chinese)
- gym
- coffee / lunch / drinks with friends
- art and craft at home
- experimenting new recipes
- chiropractor with mom
- bank / insurance company
- corresponding / meeting with people for New Projects*
- swimming
- piano lessons (I'm trying to teach them)
- sourcing products / services for New Projects

(*New Project - something that fell into my lap, and may possibly be a godsend as it has been something I've dreamt about doing for a long time)

Of course, regular life takes place in between these activities, which leaves me completely exhausted but happy at the end of each day. When the kids go to bed I watch some TV shows, jot down notes for New Projects, diligently empty my wallet of receipts, tidy up my desk, and though I am loathe to admit it, grow crops and mix potions in my Level 13 Smurf Village.

It is a busy life. My next goal is to make it a healthy life too. In last week's yoga class, the instructor began with a series of simple breathing exercises. Would you believe I had to struggle with taking long breaths? By the time she said "exhale" I had already taken 2 other short and shallow breaths. How worrisome that the very act of breathing, upon which life depends, was a challenge. So, in ensuring that my life does not also end up short and shallow, I am going to breathe deeper, exercise more, eat better.

Time to check on those crops now, be back soon.

Look up

Even with full knowledge that we were standing under a shower of foam, I could not help but be amazed by this sight. Sometimes, we have to take a break from worrying about keeping our feet suds-free and clothes from getting too wet. You'll find that if you take a moment to look up, you may just be left breathless with wonder.

Back to school
Today marks 2 weeks since the break from work started. Take it from me, time does fly, so fast that you can just about make out the blur of its near invisible, but distinctly pearlescent wings. If you are lucky, you get momentarily distracted from whatever you are doing, looking up to catch what caused that whisper of a breeze, only to see the faintest of shimmers fading into the distance.

They say it takes 7 days to form a new habit, and 21 to break an old one. So I have 7 more days to unlearn productivity. To shake off the urge to plan 10 things to do in the next day, to stop plotting the exact route to my next destination and what I can do on the way. To start going with the flow, to take time to just breathe. It is difficult.

I have spent most of my adulthood realising that I may have wasted away my teenage years - lots of should-haves and could-have crowded my idle moments. Yes, you heard it here first - I should have listened to my parents. I should have pushed myself harder, lived more. So I tried to make up for lost time; as someone recently told me, I am living the equivalent of 3 lives. But that, is unsustainable. Some things gave. The balls would not stay up in the air.

You would think that once work was out of the equation, I would be free and relaxed. Au contraire, my friends.

I stay up late because I don't have to go into the office the next day. I cram projects into my day, or at least think about them while driving. I make lists, I cross them out. I get antsy if we don't do anything on those lists, I get antsy if we don't make new lists. Today, I had precisely 1 hour and 15 minutes between appointments. As I was at the first, I started thinking of how I could maximise the gap - eventually, I ran 3 errands and managed some Christmas shopping in between. Don't forget the 2 phones that I now carry with me. I have Whatsapp, Blackberry Messenger, SMS, email (work AND personal) and Facebook - I read, I delete, I reply, I forward. And I haven't even started about the kids yet.

BUT ... there is hope yet. At least I have turned off my daily alarm. I have slept in more, napped some. I have read a magazine, completed Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad, watched all of Vampire Diaries, watched some Glee / Madmen / Gossip Girl episodes. Now, let's try doing that, without surfing the net / writing letters / crafting simultaneously.

7 days. I will report back then.


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