Little Miss-Speak #33 – What You See Is Not What It Is


Me: What’s this, darling? (Not expecting her to know it, just wanting to see her reaction)



Miss: Oh. Oh, Dear. …..Cuck-roach? 

(To be fair I’m not sure I’d know that’s a porcupine either – must be a baby right, where are the spines?)


Me: Who’s this, darling?

(Kindy Application Photo)

(Kindy application photo)

Miss: Missy! Me!

Me: Yup. And who’s this?

(Her old passport photo)

(Her old passport photo)

Miss: A baby.

Me:  This is you when you were a baby.

Miss: No, it’s a baby. Not Missy, Baby. 

Me: Uh, you don’t think you looked the way you do now all the time right? You were once a baby. When you were a baby, you looked like that.

Miss: No. Not me. That baby. Baby not me.

Me: Well, who do you think that baby is?

Miss: A. Baby.   


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Posted in Rockstarisms | 2 Comments

The First Metaphor (Or, A Little Christmas-y Story)

So, both kids are sick. Not ER-sick, just cough/snort-themselves-awake-repeatedly-in-the-night sick, alternating also bawling-with-frustration-at-being-unable-to-sleep sick. (In Rockstar’s case, replace bawling with punching his pillow a few times before diving back down into its depths, a mildly eyebrow-raising phenomenon he has only vague recollection of in the morning. Well this is after all the boy who ski-ed in his sleep when he was last at ski camp.)

The Miss…

This would about sum up the night

This would about sum up the night

She coughed a lot more lying down, which I guess was because her nose was running down the back of her throat – and so I was rocking her upright in a sling. I am exceedingly grateful she didn’t throw up in bed, because she does that quite often when she’s phlegm-y. Sometimes even when not that phlegmy. There you’d be, minding your own business and well, sleeping, and suddenly she sits up, heaves once – and her entire dinner is out. If upchuck were a sport, she would make at least the heats in the Olympics.

In the wee hours of the morning, the power goes out. This has not happened in……. ever?  Once ever? (We would later be told by the night guy in the lobby that the entire building went out “because of an emergency”. Nothing further.) The stillness wakes both the Miss and myself immediately. She wants water, and so I wander out to the kitchen to warm her drinking water.

There are people in other parts of the world who have never had electricity, but as I ineffectively flick switches I get more and more concerned, especially when I look across at the next tower and still see some electric lights on. See, if it’s the entire street, people will probably scramble to fix it even if it is 4am. If it’s just your apartment, then you’re looking at dealing with a night receptionist who is potentially very insensitive to the fact you are already exhausted from repeatedly struggling to put your sick kids to bed (depends really who’s on that night but I say this because when our ceiling leaked we had one concierge who said “Have you asked your maid to wipe away leaks-that-may-not-even-be-leaks before calling me? Because you really need to manage your own helper first.”)

As I walk out into the otherwise dark living room trying to figure out whether to even bother with the fuse box something stands out. The quiet, calm light in the dark place.

photo 2-128

We couldn’t find the right batteries when we bought these decorations from Ikea and earlier tonight was the first night I switched them on after finally locating the right cells.

photo 1-133 photo 2-127

(Why yes, one of our decorations on the tree this year is a little light-up diamond ore square of Rockstar’s.)

This was a few hours earlier

This was taken a few hours before the first blackout

The crazy disco star which is otherwise plugged into the wall was off, but on a whim I had left the battery-operated snowflakes and lamp on (they use only a couple small batteries). Obviously, with the kids sick and cranky, putting batteries in wasn’t exactly a priority. But somehow I’d just done it. The first metaphor.

Now, I love hustle and bustle, lotsa lights and street sounds… I’m a disgusting city person. That night in the sudden silence, with no whoosh of air cleaners, no light from the sockets where our various tech are charging (I know. How first-world-problem is that?), I find the dark and quiet disconcerting. Disorienting. The little hard-to-find-battery operated Christmas lights stand out in sharp relief. What are the odds the Japan Home you have tried several times before (not to mention all the other JH outlets and supermarkets) would literally JUST get a shipment of CR2032 batteries for when you happen to try One Last Time The Very Evening The Power Decides To Go Out Later In The Wee Hours Of The Morning? 

But before I think this, I think I’m Not Alone. We see Him, if only we look. (Usually we don’t. We’re busy checking our iPhones.)

Peace On Earth, Goodwill To All...

Peace On Earth, Goodwill To All…



Epilogue: Oh, and then the next night around 8pm when the Rockstars were fully awake and we were trying to get dinner in them, it happened A. Gain.

This is them entertaining themselves with some swinging light toy

This is them entertaining themselves with some swinging light toy (Rockstar is actually standing right next to her)

Oh, here he is. (Yeah, the diamond ore light didn’t survive til Christmas before getting unwrapped). 3 light settings on the thing, to be sure…

photo 3-101 photo 2-129 photo 1-135



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Posted in Rockstar Shots | 2 Comments

TGI Friday. Maybe.

1) The Fall of Christmas, by The Very Worst Missionary. She does mission trips, writes in a way I can only wish I did……. and was once a teen mum.

“…… I learned a long time ago to hold loosely to the things of this world, possessions and people both, to the degree that I honestly worry it’s too easy for me to let go of the things I love….. For me, it’s easier to pretend not to be sad than to be sad…”

It fell over. Literally, metaphorically...

It fell over. Literally, metaphorically…

“…Jesus didn’t come to fix it all.  He came to be with us in it all.”



2) An Ebola Doctor’s Return From The Edge Of Death. (He HOPED he had Malaria…) 

In my former life I used to consider mission trips a good way to “detox,” between bank jobs. (As in, being in a place with people less fortunate than yourself – the real ones, not the ones who pretend to be – makes you feel rather ashamed of most of the stuff you whine about every day in your part of the world. Figured it was very good perspective-management before commencing a new job, a new chapter.) Yet even then, those in my mind were of the help-in-orphanage or help-teach-English sort in China or Vietnam. (Having to start new jobs, or finding myself pregnant got in the way – I have never been on a mission trip; and The Purpose Driven Life then gave me the idea my calling might be elsewhere. You know how your experiences, especially the tough ones, are meant as Refiner’s Fire to prepare you for what He plans for you…?)

What I can barely fathom is the incredible selflessness of health workers, doctors who, instead of a cushy private practice choose to risk their lives in areas of specialization like infectious diseases. (Ditto the SARS health workers, when I finally stumbled upon their memorial in a beautifully peaceful part of Hong Kong park.) Many of them have worked hard, gone to school way longer than I have – only to come out and have a bright future of their choosing – risking their lives for others.

What kind of people must they be? 

Dr Ian Crozier

Dr Ian Crozier

““Anyone who was on the ground in Africa and not in West Africa, you would think, maybe we’re missing the bus, missing something remarkable.” …………“And my skills meet the need.”…..”

“…….Dr. Crozier signed on with the World Health Organization — expenses only, no pay………”

“……there were warning signs early on that Dr. Crozier might become severely ill. The viral load in his blood was extremely high, more than 100 times that of the other patients Emory had treated.”

Even as he surprised everyone and recovered, ”…“I thought we’d be discharging him to a nursing home as a cognitively impaired person,” said Dr. Colleen Kraft, one of his doctors….”

Guess what he did next? Yup.

“There’s still a great deal left to be done,” he said.



3) Things You Believed In Your 20s That Just Aren’t True


Could be here solely for #3: Being Good At School Means You’ll Be Good At Work.  In other words, a good student does not a good professional/ worker make. Very true on oh-so-many levels and the reason I care oh-so-much about the Rockstars’ character and social development. You need some academics sure, but people skills are hugely under-rated compared to academics, I believe.

And yet… #5 – (Not) everyone has to like you. Painfully and sadly true. I wanted so badly to be liked, to have lots and lots of friends growing up. Then I grew up and learned that my RMs will infinitely forgive me not going out drinking with them if I still made them and their clients money. One of the biggest privileges I came to value about being good at one’s job (former. Job.) is the prerogative to say no to getting drunk or whatever, to make my RMs like me. (Oh, and I have some really good “foul-weather friends” – everyone reschedules and reschedules around work (and now kids) and we can don’t see each other for months. Maybe even years, especially for those in different cities. But if you’re in trouble, i.e. the weather is “foul” – that’s when their schedule is wide open. I hope I’m a few people’s “foul-weather friend” too.)

Oh, and one more: #8: Competition is more important than collaboration. Yeah I really consider this one so not true. This is one thing I learned from 3 bank mergers (I don’t want to use the word “surviving” because it gives the impression you don’t get slapped around. You still do. (And how.) But in the office people all have to work with someone. That can be you, or that can be your so-called competitor. I would think you’d prefer it to be you. So always be the best you can be, the nicest you can be……. without people taking kindness for weakness. Nope, not an easy balance. But loyalty is under-rated. I had one very much respected yet no-nonsense boss (who btw quit the investment banking market for 4 years to have 2 kids – who went on to top and almost-top the Hong Kong public secondary school exams) who chose loyalty over sheer ability/ ambition (but of course you need some ability and ambition).



4) OK too many words. So let’s do Vet Makes Wheelchair For Disabled Tortoise Out Of Son’s Lego.

'Nuff said.

‘Nuff said.

SO simple - tortoise has weakened legs due to growth disease

SO simple – tortoise has weakened legs due to growth disease



5) Another creative one: Graphic Artist And His 2D Painted As 3D Creations. This is kinda fun – Rockstar’s been doing 2D vs 3D in school for math…


Rockstar would say the difference between 2D and 3D is volume. Ergo, how you paint this stuff theoretically is by faking volume in the 2D picture. But really why it’s here is because this painter has never had art lessons, and he left school at 15. I think everyone is capable of anything – you just really need to want to do it…”

(Of course, you have to find something you want to do…)



6) This week The Rockstars star in Sometimes It’s Just Really Hard To Get One’s Baby Sister Out Of The Coffee Table.

"Maybe if I used a 'Bis-kit'?"

Like so…

"Maybe if I used a 'Bis-kit'?"

“Maybe if I used a ‘Bis-kit’?”

(Don't you know it...!)

(Don’t you know it…!) 

Gonna shoot this out quickly; the kids are taking turns at being sick – Rockstar had a blocked sinus that led to infected tear ducts (not very contagious because it’s a mostly internal infection) and had to be out of school to see the doctor – which is relatively rare, for a child who tries not to touch his face with his hands to cut down the chance of being sick… And now the Miss has a cough that keeps her up at night…

Good weekend dears. Will write again when I’m conscious coherent soon. I hope. 

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Posted in The TGIF Posts | 2 Comments