Chicago on my mind. And donuts.

Chicago skyline at sunrise

Chicago skyline at sunrise. Awesome!! (Image via Wikipedia)

I’m already in Chicago on my vacation/family wedding as you read this. But before I left, I put together this story I heard recently to share with you. It had some impact on me. Perhaps it may be of some meaning to you too:

A woman bought a bag of chocolate donuts while waiting for her train to leave the station. Looking around for a place to sit, she found a place next to a man reading a newspaper. He seemed to be in his 40s and was obviously engrossed in his paper. She set down her handbag and settled down to take one donut out of the bag on the table in front of her. Just as she took a bite, the man with the newspaper put his paper down and took one donut too! He didn’t even say, ‘excuse me’! She was so irritated. She continued chewing her donut and tried not to show her annoyance at the man’s rudeness.

But with every donut she took, he leaned over and took one until there was one left. How infuriating! Surely, now that there’s just one left, he will back off. Well, no. He leaned forward and picked up the last donut. He tore it in half, leaving a piece in the bag and eating the other. She was speechless. The nerve of this guy!!!

Soon after, the announcement for her train departure came and she put her things together and got on the train. She was thinking about how annoying the man had been and cursed herself for not telling him off there and then. A few minutes later, the train conductor came around to check the tickets. She opened her bag to retrieve her ticket. In her handbag, unopened and uneaten lay her bag of donuts.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I’ve been in a state about what I thought someone said or did when all along, THEY were accommodating ME. Hmm. Some food for thought.

I’ll be back before you know it! Ciao!! :-)

To the task mistress with love.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America (Image via Wikipedia)

I wrote a letter to myself this week. I plan to read it next year. It has a kinder tone than I expected. A year ago, It would have been a much harsher, irritated tone. I wrote the letter following my post, The luxury of being average and after listening to a TED talk by the historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin. She spoke about the lives of  two past US presidents: Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. You can find the video of her talk here. I understood that I have been imbalance between three realms: work, love and play. Especially play. As you will see from the video, Lincoln appears to have found this balance leading to a fulfilling legency, while Johnson did not. Doris is a great storyteller, a skill I always admire.

In the letter, I tell myself that I’m good-natured, clever and fun to be around. I remind myself of how blessed I am to be alive, healthy and surrounded with the goodness of love. I also try to persuade myself to be less judgemental of my failings and to aspire equally for play and love as I do for achievement (work).

Maybe the older I get, the wiser I’ll be about these things. I’m glad I got to write this letter although I feel some sadness that I hadn’t written it before. Or perhaps someone else should have looked out for me and told me these things a long time ago. Well, maybe somebody did. I was probably too busy beating myself to death about the small things. I’m pleased that I’ve finally arrived in this place. Thanks for reading :).

A special thanks to Kaushic Kalyanaraman who inspired me by sending the TED video to me.

How do I cover my butt in this dress?

I bought a Charas one-shoulder dress a few weeks ago. From the picture on the website, I couldn’t tell how short it was – honestly, it looked like normal length with the model riding it up. See the picture below. 

My brother-in-law is getting married in Chicago next month and this looked like the perfect dress. It was a nice bright colour (I can get away with brights) and it was rather edgy too. But alas, the dress came in the post and I was dumb enough not to try it on for the next one and a half weeks. Well, finally I try it on and guess what? It turns out the model isn’t riding it up herself to keep things steamy. The dress is really short on one side! Goodness, she’s probably hiding her butt from the camera with that right hand. So here I am with a dress that is a little more edgy than I wanted. I left it too long to try on and missed the standard return/refund timeframe. I’ve bought a more modest dress now and tried to get rid of this one through my office sales bulletin board but they aren’t any takers. My penultimate option is you.

How can I carry off this dress in the event that I can’t get rid of it? Can I wear a pair of tights with it? Leggings? Jeans? Perhaps I can take it to a tailor to attach some material to the exposed “regions”. What do you think? Is it a lost cause? I say, ‘penultimate option’ because the option of eBay still remains. I do love this dress – but I don’t think I’ll get away with my butt hanging loose when I bend over to pick up my 2-year old for instance.

Can someone suggest how I can keep my butt covered in this?

Photo credits to: http://charasdesignerwear.co.uk

The luxury of being average

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been preoccupied for the past two weeks.

Now and then, I wrestle with my fear of being average. I worry that I’ll live an average life that won’t be worth remembering and be just as good or worse than the person that came before. I always want to be better.

This is why I’m perplexed by people who are easy-going. They don’t hustle for anything and they are happy to just be. I’ve actually found them annoying. I can’t even look at someone who dropped out of school or escaped with a mere ‘pass’. I can hear some folks booing me now but I’m just being honest. I admit that till now, I find the motives of the Un-ambitious very difficult to process. However, my seeming annoyance has turned into envy because of my losing battle to be the best at everything. It’s left me permanently exhausted, ungrateful and sadly missing the point of life in general.

It can be argued with the nurture-nature debate. Was I born with a phobia for mediocrity (perceived mediocrity) or was I brought up to loathe it? It’s possibly a little of both. It’s a damning realisation that I can blame on every unpleasant experience I’ve ever had and every person who’s made me feel inadequate. But passing blame won’t help me now. All that matters is: I want to be content with my achievements and not look for the next mountain to climb at every turn.

A few lines from a song I love sums it up:

‘What good is it to gain the world but lose your soul? What good is it to make a sweet sound but remain proud?’

Part of the problem is depending on my ability to excel and forgetting where my true strength comes from. I don’t want to lose my soul – and God forbid that I be proud! I have to ask myself what I’m striving for and if my motives are in the right place. The world measures success by career advancement, wealth, looks and so on. Keeping up is overwhelming and I’m embarrassed that I try. There’s probably nothing wrong with being ambitious and successful. But it appears I’m not built for that kind of pressure. I get exhausted and I turn on myself, always my worst critic. So this week, I’ll be asking myself whether it’s so bad to be “average”, and whether what I’ve long considered to be a curse is really a luxury I should aspire to…

The making of a mini beast (Primary One project)

Some people have called me ‘creative’ but when my son came home with a school project, I think I went a little too far. He was required to make a ‘mini beast’ from junk materials around the house. I immediately thought ‘tomatoes’. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. I’m like that sometimes – I hear a word, an idea and my brain instantly comes up with a matching solution. I start to run with this, sensible or not.

After much deliberations (and convincing my boy it was a good idea), we decided to make a ladybird out of tomatoes. It made sense! Tomatoes are red so all we’d need to do is make black circles on it. We would use straws as feet and some blu tack for eyes and mouth. Genius!

Excited at the coming together of the plan, we went to the shops and got:

  • Blu tack
  • Permanent black markers
  • Super Glue
  • Tomatoes

*We had straws at home.

You may have guessed by now that our attempt failed. How was I supposed to know that super glue won’t work on a tomato? And how was I to know that if tomatoes are cold (we put them in the fridge), the black markers just leave wet marks that never dry…

We waited and waited but the black circles were fading instead of drying! With heavy hearts, we had to dispose of the faceless tomato. Enter Plan B (I always have one of these – life saver).

I rummaged through my son’s toy box and found a small ball. I got some paper and asked him to colour it completely red. He loved contributing to this (It was turning into my project until this point). With the red paper complete, we made black circles and covered the small ball with it.  A little glue and tape created the beginning of a ladybird. Then we added eyes and a smiling face. The legs went on and Tada!!!!

Welcome Mr. LadyBird the Mini Beast. Cheers all round :).

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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