Midnight In Paris

Upon the recommendation of my movie-junkie brother, I watched my second Woody Allen movie (the first was Match Point). Allen's movies are not really my type - dragging, most of the time entailing scrutiny, and having to listen intently to the dialogue, if not “reading" it (subtitles). But Midnight in Paris ain’t bad. And the more [what my brother calls] “the big idea” of this movie is being discussed in blogs, radio or between me and him, I'd say I really really like it =]

I couldn’t coin it any better than The Good Dystopian:

That's the beauty of Allen's latest heartwarming installment to his extended love affair with Europe: living in the present doesn't have to be dream-deprived. While a prolonged departure from everyday and unrelenting refusal to embrace daily life can lead to naive delusions, allowing a dose of escapism, and even thriving on it, doesn't necessarily hurt. Or at least that's what Allen's vicarious wish-fulfillment through Gil Pender tries to convey.

A poignant message in an artistic form by a creative writer and genius that is Woody Allen. Live in the present. Embrace it. Daydream a little.


Poems About School

This book caught my eye at the library today. I read the book in one sitting.

This reminded me of those nights you study for tests... so glad I'm done with school.

And this... well said!


New Year Bento

Since back to school I am back to my daily bento fixing. As I've said, it's not always pretty. Most days I just crack my brain for ideas and combinations. And there's always a mix of store-bought, frozen and self-made. Most of the time, I am too hurried I don't take picture anymore. Here's my first batch for the year:
The sushi rolls are grocery-bought. It's the only time there would be rice on the bento, tsk tsk. I'd most often put a cheese slice into the croissants.

I shaped the octopi hotdogs. Potato croquets were baked from frozen.

Chicken strips baked from frozen. Mini tacos from Costco. I stir-fried the king mushroom.

This is my bite-size clubhouse sandwich, using chicken breast deli and cheese slice.

Which fits perfectly into the animal bento box.

I made the pancake with fresh blueberries. That's supposed to be a train. The apples are the cars. The little car container holds the artichoke dip for the carrots.


Chinese Hakka Lunch

When I take a day off and the hub is working from home, we most often go to China Palace. In the absence of the kids, we can have everything spicy. I always order the same thing - Manchurian chicken. The luncheon special ($7.99 +tax)comes with spring roll, Hot & Sour soup and heaping rice. I was fasting for already 17 hours by then so I pretty much wiped out everything... burp!

China Palace (Chinese Hakka)
80 Courtneypark Dr E
Mississauga, ON L5T 2Y3


On Letting Them Be

Sushi as our first born had been drilled on shapes and colours, alphabets and numbers in his early years. I was a stay-at-home then and I was all out. He surprised us when he counted up to 100 at barely 2-1/2, doing mental math at 3 and started multiplication at 5. We’ve been advised by many to have him tested for giftedness.

We didn't and probably won't ever

On one Babycenter.com article I read, I came across a parent’s comment on why most parents think their child is gifted, which I find truly inspiring and timely in a competitive world we live in today, and I quote:

“I don't think parents who question other parent's assertion that their children are "gifted" are rude or juvenile. I think they are responding to a culture of competition and excess, one that does not spare children or even toddlers. I think some parents are so caught up in the wonder of their own children, are so separate from the wide range of child development and want so desperately to have an exceptional child, they will dance over hot coals to insist their Sally's off to Harvard at 2. Both my brother and I tested "gifted" in public school, both were sent to enrichment/gifted stream programs and we're both happy, well adjusted people with good jobs and great lives. Funny thing - both our parents are bright, articulate and interesting human beings with great parenting skills. And my child? Well. Master genius of the universe of course : )) Just keep reading, dancing, playing with bugs and going to galleries. Live your own fantastic, interesting, "gifted" life and right as rain, your little wonder will follow on beside you. I try to ignore most of this stuff, knowing from experience that the kids who make good at the end of the day are the kind ones, the ones that learned to play fairly with true joy and work hard. The ones who were flashcarded, pressured, driven nearly insane by activities, extra-curricular tutoring, language classes, dance recitals, music classes, drawing studios...well. They either rebelled and dropped out, became strangely average or ate their idiotic parents [who were]cooked in a divine wine reduction.”

Another parent wrote:

“Let me just say this - I was/am gifted. I suprised my mom one day by reading Dr. Suess Mulberry Street. But I have to say this to the "gifted toddler acceleration" debate. Let the kids be kids. You get such a short time in this world to be interested in the intricacies of flowers or the cracks in the sidewalk. Capitalize now on the fascinations that your child will soon be too old to really appreciate. Save the alphabet flash cards for later. That is what I will always thank my mother for - sharing the wonders of the world with me and sparking my exhuberant curiosity in all things. And believe me, you can't possibly be unqualified to teach any 16 month old. A 5 year old can teach a 16 month old, not the same things you will, but things you couldn't. Just enjoy your children. That will be what they would remember.”

Between my 2 boys is 4 years and a big difference in personality and capability, but equally unique and splendid. Sashimi is copying his brother in a lot of things but the above, and mastering his own abilities. It is so easy to let him walk on his brother’s path and follow suit. But we don't. And we don't compare them.  We just let him be. And he has acquired skills of his own that are, just the same, worthy of recognition and praise.

After all the kids will be kids only once in their life (and mine). So I simply let them be.


For the Chinese New Year

New year oranges. I think the grocers leave the stems/leaves on to sell as New Year oranges, and people like me buy them =]

Polka dots for money. But this is for my gadgets. I got this from Stylesense during its store closing.

Glutinous rice balls. Oozing peanut filling.

I tried to make 蘿蔔糕 turnip cake with shrimps, eggs and pickled vegetable. It's got a little mushy though. First attempt.

Sushi's bento. I shaped the apple to look like Chinese gold coins.

I'm also trying to keep up with making misua for the New Year morning.

Tikoy (rice cake). Another sticky delicacy for CNY.

新年快樂, 恭禧發財, 紅包拿來!

Training In Progress

We're getting there.


The Help

Cried a bucket. Wet Kleenex. Wet sleeves.

This scene alone. I thought of Godging, our househelp for over 30 years. She's family to me.

Taken on our recent trip, 2011.


School Bags

This is my niece's schoolbag. First time I saw such bag. It's a far cry but I thought of the ZÜCA. So I took a remembrance photo. We didn't have this kind of bag in my time. But we did bring the same amount of books to/from school and up/down our classrooms. Still now?? This is what we had in our time.

Though I never used one. I used my shoulders. Tsk tsk tsk. I bet this industrial looking stroller is passé.

Backpack is more common here. I am even surprised Sushi can go to school without a pencil case. Just his lunchbag and a Home Connection zipbag containing their Agenda (aka Assignment Notebook). And Occasionally, a library book and/or homework folder.

The agenda is much like a daily planner. The right side is the communication page between teachers and parents.

What a difference eh! That made my aunt quipped, is this going to make the heavy laden kids any smarter than the kids with just the assignment notebook? LOL.


Mickey Handsoap

Cute Mickey & Minnie handsoap from Shoppers Drugmart.

Traffic Thoughts Today

Marathon at crawling speed.
The skunk smell isn't helping.
Should I turn around go back home?
I will be unfashionably late to work. I was.
Why did Miss T keep giving me memo for lateness at KFC?
That doesn't happen here.
Do not skid.
No sudden break.
Keep the distance.
No wide turns.
Remember spinning 360 degrees last winter?
My bangs tickling my eyelashes is distracting
When my pure eyes have to be on the road.
And they think snow is fun.
They didn't see slushy road and skidding cars in snowy Serendipity.
And Kate Beckinsale is not wearing enough layers.

Windchill of negative teens - woah!
Radio says to estimate double/triple the commute time.
I can do 3 blogs right there. I did in my head.
"Dear Lord. Keep us safe."
Borrowing Sushi's prayer every night.


Love Your Parents

Similarly, love your spouse even if they're starting to lose it - memory, mobility, or just tact. We're all bound to get old. Hold each other's hands.

KFC Hopping

I have loved KFC all my life. It is no coincidence that I happen to have also worked there. I really wanted to be part of the team. I landed in the Commissary.

On our recent trip, we tried Hong Kong's KFC. This is their combo sets and choices for side dish.

The mushroom sauce is much like the gravy already.

They also got Portuguese egg tart for dessert

Each KFC has a resident "Food Master" and "Chicken Master" as per below. I'm also a food master... at home =]

In Manila, I like the Hot Shots. I order it with rice on the side.

The best part is the refillable gravy.  Mr. Hotpot thinks it's soup.

Previous post on KFC, here.

Trust In Yourself. Do Your Best.

I used to have a binder to compile the quotations, poems and short essays that I had saved through time. Nowadays I save them in a subfolder in my Inbox. Anything I’d see at random places, I would jot on my notebook or Post-its and stick it up here.

I know, this is ancient. And I need more room. That's my next project. Meanwhile, aren't these wall art clever?

Gotta have it.  It's now up on our kitchen wall. Some good constant reminders.
Yesterday Sushi was having a bad day from school. I asked him to read what's up there. And he felt much better.


Everything I Know I Learned From Him

Last night Sushi was reading his Children’s A-Z Encyclopedia with me. He was cherry-picking the subjects he wants to read, skipping pages of science-related topics (earth, biology, physics) in favour of the more boring world history. Think Holy Roman Empire, Native Americans, New World, Normans, Pirates, Spain & Portugal, Stone Age,… *zzz zzz zzz*

I recall when I was same age, I could memorize the 13 countries (and capital) of South America. In alphabetical order. Off the top of my head - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela. I would make a table of these countries, and their capital, population and land area… with a typewriter (note: 1980s). My brother made me.

He had taught me a lot of things at a very young age. He was the teacher, my sisters and I were his students guinea pigs.  He's a teacher, to this day.  He wrote his own SRA questionnaires and answer keys on reading, language, science, math, Chinese history,... anything. Did I say Spanish too? Although he made it fun, it didn’t feel like school/home work at all, and we knew there was going to be a Ladybird Classic book or Barbie doll at the end of each course. And field trips. Until we were older he still enjoyed taking us to museums and zoos. He even had taken me to Taiwan, Japan, China and USA where every trip was also a learning experience in history and culture. He inculcated in me the fervour for learning and left a permanent trace of influence on me.

In China and Japan

I wish he can impart the same to my kids. But then again, isnt’ that supposed to be my role =] So I take great pleasure in the opportunity for Sushi to bond with his Aku on our trips.

Taipei Zoo; Watching National Geographic, Manila; Page One in Taipei 101; Peking Garden; and Disney Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong

If Sushi asks me something I have no answer to, I'd tell him, I'm sure Aku knows the answer to it. And then, I would "call my lifeline."

Happy Birthday, Ahia!  This post is long overdue.


The Year That Was - 2011

Last year I made a request to cut down my hours at work. Thanks to very considerate management, it pushed through. I lost a bit of income there in exchange for more precious family time. I’ve used the word ‘sanity’ a lot since I became a mom twice over. This new schedule has certainly had me keep mine. In fact it has paved for better much blessed year.

Click Read More for my year 2011 in pictures.


One Day

Not the appropriate movie to watch at the beginning of the year. Because it's sooo sad. Blame it on the musical score. I cried so many scenes - especially the part where the Dad told Dexter to live as if Emma is alive, *sniff*, and that's he has done it himself for the past 10 years, *sniff*. Nice touching movie, but too sad to watch it again.


Eating Galore

If Achie is here we do what we do best - eat.

We go to Summit Garden for Peking Duck.

One is not enough, we ordered two. And we charmed the waiter into letting us take home the carcass to make soup.

After watching Disney on Ice, we went to Smoke's Poutinerie. My niece wanted to have something Canadian on this trip.

Had the Chicken Peppercorn Poutine. Not a big fan of poutine, not especially the cheese curds and that this is really artery-clogging. 

Then of course there's Bubble Republic we will never miss for the siensutsi (chicken poppers), porkchop and bubble drinks.

I always have the Taro Milk Tea with tapioca. He likes the Chiller.

We also took them to Hakka Magic. I love Hakka Hot & Sour soup. To me it's the best.

We always always order the Manuchurian Chicken.

Apparently the chicken wings is pretty good too.

Summit Garden
Winston Churchill/Dundas Street

Smoke's Poutinerie
218 Adelaide Street

Bubble Republic

Hakka Magic