Thursday, August 31, 2006

Somebody's watching

I'm sure it's just the sign that's old and rusty, and that the Neighbourhood Watch is no less alert.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Woman at leisure

I'm on leave from work this week, partly to clear my vacation days by Aug 31 (end of company's fiscal year, it's their policy to clear leave by then), and partly because L and I have a deal to take time off work at the end of August -- it's his birthday and our wedding anniversary.

This year, we're not going on vacation. We've need to replenish our coffers after renovating the new flat and getting stuff for it. So this year, we're just going to stay put and enjoy our new home.

Besides, I don't think I could fly long-haul without hand luggage, without moisturiser, lip balm and most importantly, without reading material. It may possibly now be the safest time to fly now that all the extra security measures are in place but it's probably also the most spartan way to travel. If the no hand luggage rules are here to say, as the airlines suggest they will, it could change travelling for pleasure as we've come to expect. Or even travelling on business. Imagine no laptops on board, and not being able to work for the hours you're stuck on the plane. (Or not being able to play Solitaire -- c'mon, how much work can a business traveller really do?)

The last time I was on leave was when I took two weeks' off for the move to the new flat. It was filled with heaps to do -- packing, getting moving logistics organised and it wasn't over even after the move; because then came the unpacking, settling in and getting all the little things to make the new place home. So everyday, there was something to do and it didn't feel like I was on leave at all -- I had to-do lists and errands to run, and was constantly on the go.

And I probably wore out a path to Ikea -- I had to keep going there repeatedly for this, that and the other that I never thought I'd get tired of their Swedish meatballs. I'm still not entirely done at Ikea yet. Sometime this week, I'll find the time to go back one last time (so help me god) for a couple more shelves that I need. The trouble is that Ikea is at the other end of the country from me. If I take the train, I need to take the North-East Line all the way down to the bottom, than switch to the East-West line and the whole trip takes more than an hour. I can get there much faster by taxi of course but the last time, the taxi fare to and from cost twice the cheap little item that I needed at Ikea.

Still, this time round, I get to do it more leisurely. I could probably spare the time for the long train ride.

Being on leave also gave me the time to do something I've always wanted: get off the bus at interesting places along the route instead of being forced to remain on the bus until it takes me to the office. I've always wanted to check out the cafes in the residential enclaves it pasts, maybe even take pictures of the funny signs that caught my eye from the bus window. And now, I can get off and explore.

I took a few pictures today, hopping off the bus and then waiting for the next one, only to hop off a few stops later. I'll post the interesting pix in due course. This one was taken along Yio Chu Kang Road. It is one of my favourite roads to ride along, and it makes the trip to work so much more pleasant. It is also why I prefer taking the bus to the train: I get to look at the old trees, lianas growing up their trunks and their branches meeting overhead in a green arc. I'm pretty sure nobody would be cutting down these trees anytime soon

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


August 28th, 1998 is the day I understood what a "snapshot memory" means: the time when a camera-like flashbulb goes off in your head and that moment is forever engraved into your memory. I suppos it's how Americans remember where they were and what they were doing when JFK died, and later for the rest of the world, we will always remember what we were doing when we saw on unfolding TV news the images of planes ramming into towers on Sept 11th, 2001.

Eight years on, and I still remember everything about that morning: the clothes I was wearing, the Tshirt that Schwarz snuggled up against when I held him against me when the vet did what he had to do. I still remember the spot in the garden where he last lifted his leg before that last car ride to the vet. He didn't have to but he wanted to pee before a car ride like he always did, he was always such a good boy.

I didn't have all these flashbulb moments down to the last detail with Spock. Maybe with him, I didn't know that was going to be his last day on earth.

A few months after Schwarz died, I could finally see enough through tears to print out all the e-mail messages of condolence that I received from several dog e-lists I was then on. Many people wrote of the courage it took to make the difficult decision to put an old dog to sleep. I never thought of it as courageous, neither did I think of it as difficult -- it was something I knew I had to do for a long time. The only question was when. And that, in the end, came easily. It was the morning you found your old dog huddled up and shivering, no longer able to eat or to move more than a few steps. That really wasn't difficult, you just did what you long knew you had to do. What nobody ever tells you is that real difficult part is the part that comes after that. I was lucky I had Spock then -- the Emergency Backup Dog as I used to call him suddenly became the only dog. So I wasn't dogless. But it was still very, very hard.

Schwarz was my first real dog although not technically my first dog. I had a mongrel called Blackie when I was very, very young, about five years old. But I hardly remember him now, it was my mother who took care of Blackie. Schwarz was L's dog -- he still tells of how when he was invited to pick a pug puppy (the breeder was his friend's mother), all the little puggies ran to him when he entered the room. Only one remained where he was, his nap was more important. And that's when L picked the one who had his own independent agenda.

Schwarz lived with L's aunt for a few years when he worked in Hong Kong. When we both returned to Singapore, L arranged one evening with LTL to spend an evening out with me while he took her car, went and got Schwarz, and took him home. When I got home that night, I opened the door to him snuffling and snorting. The next day, he became my shadow and my dog.

He had precious little belongings -- he arrived with just his collar and leash and two bowls, one for food and another for water. When I think of HRH's legion of toys now , I shake my head. But Schwarz left me many things. My email handle and the name of this blog is part of his legacy. The many friends I've met online, some of whom have gone on to become as close as family, I've met through him.

Eight years on, he is still enriching my life with his blessing.

He was a solemn, undemanding, quiet little one-lap dog. I'm glad Spock is with him.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Blooming things

Thought the entries have been all text lately so here are some pictures taken with the cellphone as I was walking HRH downstairs.

The pink flowering tree is the one that grows to the side of our window, it's the bit of green that frames our view out of the window.

The white spider-lily is a border around the grass outside the ground-floor flats to give them some privacy. Guess that would be the view from my downstairs neighbours window.

The orangey blossoms (bird of paradise, I think -- I'm not too good with plant names so if anyone knows what they're properly called, especially the pink flowering tree, please leave a comment) line the side of the footpaths that link the blocks of flats.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lazy Sunday afternoon

I've been working too many Sundays. Even if I don't mind working on Sundays and holidays -- you get to show up in shorts, tees and sandals, and go home a couple of hours earlier than usual if you're lucky.

That is, when you get in. Before you even get in, it's hard going to get ready to go to work in a sunny afternoon when other people are out doing sunny afternoon weekend things.

Today, we thought at first we'd be out like them, doing Sunday afternoon things. Then we decided that there're too many people out there doing them, and too much afternoon sun to do them in.

So, to celebrate a full, normal Saturday *and* Sunday weekend, we are having a cook-in and pig-out. Because we can. An all-day cook-in is luxury when you've been eating Sunday lunch with one eye on the clock so you wouldn't be late for work. We stocked up on groceries yesterday and have salmon, pork chops and cutlets that we're going to slap on the grill whenever we feel nibblish. L has started a pot of chicken kiam chye (salted pickled mustard leaf veg) which will sit on the stove all day. Yumm.

Hope you're having a good weekend too.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bath-tub needs

Before we got the tub, bath time was just stepping into and out of the shower. There's only so long you can linger under a shower. Now, the more you lie in the tub, the more your mind wanders and that's when you come up more bath-time needs than you could ever imagine:

1. Lumbar support. When you sliiiiide all the way down so as to get maximum bathwater coverage, right up to your chin, the small of your back isn't leaning against anything. I'm sure someone must have invented a lumbar support piece meant for use in the tub. Must check those wacky Japanese inventions sites.

2. Yoga asanas you can do in a bath tub. And why not? If you can lie down for a Thai massage which is basically lazy yoga as the masseur tugs you into asana-like stretches, why not water yoga? There is water aerobics after all.

3. Epsom salts. Nothing as crazy as the above and the most prosaic thing ever but let me tell you, they are not to be found in Singapore. I think the problem is that not a lot of people in the tropics spend a lot of time soaking in hot water. In fact, my theory of why dance foam parties were so popular a few years ago, was that those kids didn't have a lot of chance to wallow in bath foam at home. I looked for Epsom salts in the different pharmacy chains, supermarkets, everywhere -- nada. One pharmacist told me they haven't carried it for years. When did something that sat in a corner in my Mum's kitchen suddenly go extinct? Maybe I should look in Mustapha's. If they sell Vimto, they must sell other extinct stuff.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

All for me

It's not every day that traffic is diverted for me. Although in this case, it was under less salubrious circumstances.

I noticed as soon as I crossed the road to the bus stop that there had been an accident at the cross junction some 100 metres up the road. A car with its front smashed in on the driver's side was angled at the kerb -- it looked horribly like how Silver Surfer looked after our accident last November, down to the angle it was pushed to the side of the road after the collision. The other vehicle ended up worse -- a van flipped over onto its side. I don't know if anyone was hurt. If anyone was, must have been taken away. By then, it was just a policeman and a tow truck, trying to clear the road.

The policeman directed all traffic coming down the road to turn right at the junction because when the tow truck got into position to move the van, both vehicles were blocking all three lanes of the entire road so no one could drive straight across the junction.

That's when my bus appeared. The policeman waved it to turn right. The driver must have protested because I saw him leaning out of the window and having a talk with the policeman. If he had turned right and rejoined the road at a later stage, like going three sides round a square which was how the policeman directed all the traffic, he would miss the one bus stop 100 m down, where I was.

If I could see them from the bus stop, the bus driver could surely see me. Only one bus service stops at that bus stop, so clearly I was waiting for his bus. I saw the policeman turning to look down the road, at the bus stop and I waved back at him and pointed at the bus. That's when he shrugged, jogged over to the tow truck and got the driver to move off a bit so the bus could manoeuvre between the truck and van, and make its way down the road to the bus stop.

All for me.

And all this time, I again forgot to take pictures with the cellphone.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Names, part 2

Ran into a quandry while subbing a story out of Hong Kong. Does Jacphanie Cheung take a Mr or a Ms on second mention? Obviously, no one had the definitive answer to that, so I went with Ms, reasoning that Jacphanie is to Jack what Stephanie is to Stephan.

But everyone sure had a lot of opinions on Hong Konger names. In the brief period I worked in Hong Kong, I had a collection of name cards with unusual names. I don't know where it is now and I can't remember most of the names -- which sounded really made up -- but one sticks in my memory: Cinderella. I'm not making this up. You can't make up a real life person with a name like Cinderella. I've always wondered if she found her Prince Charming. Or if she ever met Snow White. I wouldn't put it past there being a Hong Konger with that name.

Back in uni, there was a student called Hedges. You come across a name like that, of course you gotta ask how he got it. He said his Dad got it off a cigarette packet. And that there were two names on it but Dad thought Benson was too ordinary so he picked Hedges. Hedges wisely used his surname instead of his first name all his uni life but it didn't stop me from calling him Trees, Shrubs, Bushes etc for three years.

And then there was Margarita. A perfectly normal Hispanic name but you wonder why a Cantonese girl from solid southern Chinese stock born in Hong Kong whose family speaks no Spanish is Margarita and not Margaret. She said her father was drinking margaritas the night she was born. Thank god he wasn't drinking Stolichnaya.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What's in a name?

The spam has been getting worse lately but even so, it's almost entertaining the names of the purported senders. I've got e-mail from:
Herewith Mickens (must be an Amish chap, brother of Theregoes Prudence Verily)
Hitachi Maxtor (new merger, I suppose though as a person Apple Lenovo sounds more like a pop star)
the Fifth Third Bank (and why not the Last Two Hundred and Sixty-second Bank?)
Neal Ayala (does he know who the Ayalas are in the Philippines?)
Hippolyta Mastrangelo (must be sister to Archimedes Eureka)
Catahecassa Schrick (who is friend to Catchupwithyalater Smith)
fydaJUrikzcp Tarrancer (must be a Polish first name)
Cummings (can't be from ee, this guy uses upper case)

I used to think the most fun job would be to invent names for lipstick and nail polish colours. Now I think it must be to invent names for spammers.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Taxes and death

As sure as the above, the deduction plan to pay my income tax by a monthly Giro instalment arrived.

I don't get it. In early 2005, my monthly deduction was $55. It crept up to about $70 by the end of the year. Starting this October, it will go up to $107. I am paying twice what I paid in early 2005 but I sure as hell am not earning twice as much as I was then.

And on top of that, the tax rate after the first $10,000 has dropped (from 9% to 8.75%). So I don't know how that adds up. And should I even start counting on my fingers and toes, a little addendum at the bottom of the notice: "You have to pay this amount whether or not you have any objection."

And below that, in bold letters, a chirpy "Thank you for your contribution towards nation building!" (with the audacity of the exclamation mark!)

Am too grumpy to respond nicely, not even a semi-automatic "you're welcome"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I see dogs

Through the bus window yesterday, I saw an old man, shirtless in the afternoon sun, walking his brown dog on a leash. The bus went past a petrol kiosk and I momentarily lost sight of them. After it went round the station and I could look into the field behind it again, I craned my neck to catch sight of them but they had disappeared like they were never there.

I don't know why I keep seeing dogs or running into them. I've written about Yellow Dog before and the Stray Guy who got the pizza (we haven't seen him since his pizza feast, and I keep thinking that the next time we order pizza, maybe he'll come back).

Last week, at the bus stop across the road from our development, a black dog came ambling down the sidewalk. He was all black but his muzzle was a grizzled white. He was quite nicely filled out and it was only when he passed that I realised he had a collar. So maybe he wasn't a stray after all but I do wonder where he came from as there are no flats on that side of the road and in any case, he's too big to be HDB-approved. (HDB is public housing and you are only allowed small-sized dogs, mostly the toy breeds.)

I minded my stranger dog manners, turning away from him so I wasn't facing him head-on as he approached. And he minded his own business, walking straight ahead before clambering up the grassy bank into the field behind the bus stop, then headed for a clump of bushes to mark them.

It was then that I remembered that my newish cellphone has a camera and I could take a picture of him. Sometimes I still forget that this phone does more than make phone calls! I fumbled with the cellphone but by then he was too far away. Anyway, just at that time, the bus arrived. My last view of Black Dog was through the bus window as we pulled away. By then, he had gone behind the bush and it was so small and sparse that I could see his head sticking out on top and his long curvy tail poking out the other end, making him look like a dog-shaped topiary. It looked rather amusing and I'm beginning to fear that what I thought was a giggle in my head was done out loud because people in the bus started to shift away from me.

If only I got the photo...

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Today I have grown taller form walking with the trees.
- Karele Wilson Bake

But what if there were no trees?

In which case, most Singaporeans would be shrivelled up.

It's bad enough about the trees in "our" field being cut down to make way for an exercise station, it's even worse raping the remaining grass to lay down a cement path leading to it. Three paths, actually, on three sides. At the narrowest width of the field, it's only three feet of grass to cross to get to the exercise/fitness thing. You'd think anyone going to use the exercise equipment would have sports shoes on and can walk across a bit of grass.

I don't know what it is with this Singaporean aversion to greenery. Recently, a Sunday Times columnist remarked that Orchard Road wasn't as bright as shopping districts in other countries and surmised that it was because there were too many trees! Cut down the trees, he wrote, and you'll be able to see the building facades, the lights will be brighter, the shopping ambience will be more vibrant. And this is a chap whom I know and is a perfectly reasonable fellow -- he once wrote a brilliant piece on why Annabel Chong should be designated as a Singapore icon.

But all is not lost. has a lovely photo essay on Singapore's greenery -- click on Our Trees, I can't find a direct URL to that page.

I can feel myself shrivelling already. I've never considered myself a tree hugger -- despite the several pair of Birkenstocks I own :) Maybe I should now.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Somewhere to rest my head

When L ordered McDonald's delivery last night, HRH's chin rest of choice suddenly became Daddy's knee.

We've sunk to a new low with the Big Mac delivery. Now, our phone number -- and our address -- is on the delivery database for McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Canadian Pizza. Is there any other junk food on wheels that we haven't covered?

Thursday, August 17, 2006


The biggest buzz in the last two days is that of the body of a dead newborn found in the staff locker of the supermarket near the office, a supermarket I sometimes go to. The supermarket staff couldn't bear the foul stench emanating from the locker, used a master key to open it and found the baby. The police don't know yet if it alive or dead when it was left there.

The supermarket is so close by, the photographer got there in time to take a picture as the police took the body away -- in a cardboard box used to pack vegetables. I suppose that was why the reporter asked some supermarket customers what they thought of the find. I suppose he couldn't get to talk to anybody else. I would have thought you'd probably want to talk to the guy who used the next locker, for instance. Of all the people the rep picked, it was a couple of sixteen-year-old students who said the baby's mother was "heartless" to have abandoned the baby's body in the locker. First off, I don't know why he asked a couple of teenagers who clearly can't think out of their own experience. They obviously couldn't empathise with someone who had a baby she wasn't prepared for, may never have wanted, who, for nine months didn't know what to do as it formed within her. She probably delivered it on her own, scared half to death with the pain, with what she was going to do with it, maybe it was dead, maybe it wasn't. So frightened, so alone, with no one to turn to, nowhere to go, she left it in a locker. And let's not even go into post-natal depression. I think they were the heartless ones discussing someone when they had no idea of what it is to walk in her shoes. There's one life slipped between the cracks, one baby slipped away. Oh geez, this is a depressing post. I think missing Spock is still hanging heavy on me. I'll try and write something more fun tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Today is the fifth year anniversary of Spock's passing. The Chinese mark death anniversaries but I don't really know what they do. Me, I just hold his collar in my hand, hug my little gangster dog in my heart, smile a little, cry quite a bit. Five years and it still cuts deep, the heartbreak you feel when you see your normally spunky Jack Russell still and weak from the tick fever that claimed him.

August is a bad month for me. It will be Schwarz's eighth year death anniversary in two weeks.

Run like the wind, my wild little boy. I miss you.

millywlly wrote this eulogy five years ago:

Spock --

Ambassadoggie par excellence
One pooch neighborhood alert system
Ear washer for old doggies
Lover to Miss Sadie
Snoop and beggar rolled into one small package
Leaper of tall tables in a single bound
Cherished friend
Adoring younger brother
Beloved son


They do not go quietly, the dogs who've shared our lives.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006


At the Ikea cafeteria last week, a girl in the line behind me to her friend: I didn't bring my wallet, can you pay? Her friend does.

At the next table at Forum Galleria food court today: I forgot to withdraw money. Can I borrow some? Her friend fishes out a $10 note and off she goes to get her food.

Two little things that wouldn't have stuck in my head had they not happened almost back to back. I'm almost dumbstruck. Maybe when you're young, you always get help when you ask for it. Or maybe it never occurs to you that people may not always help. I don't know. Growing up alone and an only child made me self-reliant to an extent that I never get caught out without money. I always have an emergency $50 note tucked away somewhere. And if I have no money on me, I just don't eat till I get home.

Anyway, the two girls at the food court: One just got home from London and was complaining about the shopping. The High Street brands are at the most just S$30 cheaper than what they cost here, and she couldn't find any XS. This XL (in Singapore size, British size 16) hates her already.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kiss The Sky

It's a poor picture because it was so magnified. The little lizard is only about 4cm long. He's usually behind the shelving unit but last night I saw him on the ceiling, in the bit where the retracted false ceiling is painted to look like sky. We haven't named him yet but I guess I now have a name for him -- Jimi.

In the old flat, we also had a resident lizard. That one was named Tshirt because the night we saw him, L (or me, can't remember now) was wearing a Tshirt with a gecko picture on it.

Hawaiians say geckos bring good luck to the houses they are found in. That's nice. I just like having them around because they get rid of mosquitoes and all the nasty flying buzzing insects.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

National Day

It's National Day today and I'm working. I'm sorry to be missing C's picnic -- I want to see and play his new puppies so bad. But I'm not sorry to miss National Day. I used to like watching the parades when I was a kid. But I was a kid then, when marching columns, mass displays and jet fly-pasts were a wonder to watch. But now, they don't do anything for me. National Day has been reduced to a bunting of tiny red and white flags outside the office window.

Oh, the stack of boxes have there forever. One day, someone put up a sign "Box Office" (well ha ha) on the wall and I guess that means the boxes will now stay there forever.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


This is not a nice sight to wake up to... :(

Couch camouflage

The difference between the dog and the cushions is that one moves... a little...

If I had done like M and got a couch in colours that match the dog, I might never see the dog again. M's idea is that shed fur would show up less. He's lucky his dog moves fast and frequently.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


The neighbours next door are having a party. They're an Indian Muslim family and probably that's why HRH (okay, we: dog + humans) hasn't been invited because she's not going to mingle too well with the guests. She is protesting by alternating between low growls, shrill barks and muted woofs at their comings and goings that she can hear through the front door.

It's a big split-level party. They've laid out the food and some tables at the common deck area downstairs, and some chairs at the stairwell landing next to us so there are people are wandering up and down the staircase to get food, people spilling out of the flat to stand about at the stairwell. HRH disapproves of it all.

The party started mid-morning and crescendoed to a buzz at lunch time. It's now died down and a lot of people have left, but others are starting to arrive. Looks like it's the wave for tea time. Karaoke has just started but far from being perturbed, L is highly amused because someone is attempting Elton John -- his favourite singer of all time.

L thinks we should be neighbourly and wander over to mingle. I wonder if they need help with the leftovers. :)

Fetch it yourself

Last weekend, we took HRH's ball down with us when we walked her in the field downstairs. We tossed the ball, she flew across the field to retrieve it and it won her a following of kids who tagged after us, all wanting to take a turn to throw the ball for the dog. She kept on running to get the ball. But she soon stopped returning it.

We thought we should upgrade the ball to a frisbee. I mean, frisbees, running dogs, grassy field all kinda go together, right? And not just any old cheap China-made plastic disc for HRH but a Canadian-made, vet-approved (yes, it said so on the label), soft-to-the-mouth designed-specially-for-dogs frisbee. It's that red thing on the couch next to her -- it isn't a solid disc like the classic frisbee design, the little cut-throughs are meant for dog jaws to clomp through in a leaping catch.

It flies perfectly. It sailed fluidly across the field. Watched by a Schnauzer who made no move to run for it nor to retrieve it. So there we were, L and I tossing the frisbee too and fro, while making encouraging noises to HRH to join in while she just stood there and looked.

Anyone wants an almost brand new frisbee? Vi? Toby?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The green is gone

How is cutting down a few trees an improvement project?

Ever since we first viewed this flat, there was this banner in the corner of the field proclaiming that an improvement project was coming our way. There will be fitness corner coming up. I guess the town council needed to feel that it was busy doing things with our money to improve our lives.

So yesterday, workmen put up hoardings all round the centre of the field, leaving just a little bit of green at either end. Luckily, we still have the remaining little bit of green visible from our window -- the green that attracted us to this flat in the first place.

But that wasn't all the green that we were losing, as I realised, when the hoarding was up and the buzz of chainsaws started. They were cutting the trees in the middle of the field!

Now, at least three leafy, shady trees are gone. Presumably with whimsical sculpture of a metallic dolphin fin coming out of the grass since it's hidden behind the hoarding where dreadful things can happen.

In their place will be three senior citizens' fitness corners and three exercise corners, says a notice on the side of the hoardings.

I really don't know how an inclined plane for sit-ups is an improvement over three leafy trees.

Mr Toesies get busy

Mr Clumsy stubbed Mr Pinky-toe on bad, bad Mr Bed Leg. And it's all Mr Bed Leg's fault for being there. Where it's always been. On that same spot. Forever and ever, amen.

Mr Pinky-toe and his neighbour are a glorious technicolour now so the photo doesn't do it justice, the colours didn't develop until yesterday morning. Mr Pinky-toe here is being iced while HRH had her paws full trying to look after two sickie parents. (She has to do it in comfort, with a chin rest. It's a royalty thing.)

L very generously allowed me to take this picture since I "might need content for the blog".

On Monday, along with the cough mixture and painkiller for the respiratory tract infection, the doctor also issued anti-inflammatories. Let's just say that with the swollen toe now, the anti-inflammatories are doing a two-in-one job and L is getting his money's worth.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

His n hers

If it's not one thing, it's another. I've succumbed to the bug that was going round the office and on top of that, passed it on to L. He gets bugs really easily. I don't usually but this one must have caught me with my, err, knee down.

Which means L is much sicker than I am. I only have a bottle of cough mixture and anti-inflammatories. Everything else -- especially all the candy-coloured pills -- are L's. The Strepsils was a desperate -- and useless -- attempt at self-medication over the weekend until we saw the doctor -- together -- yesterday.

The thing about being home from work for a few more days is that you don't want to be too sick so that you can actually enjoy your time off work. A cough that a suppressant can take care of and a low-grade on-off fever works just about fine -- sick but not so sick that you can potter around the house, cook a little, actually taste what you cook, toss a few toys when the dog demands it, and best of all -- watch more TV.