Sunday, December 30, 2007

Big deal

The last time I wrote about Rupert's spacious new crate, I mentioned how he had gone in voluntarily for naps. Well, he's also taken to bringing his toys into the crate.

And then, to Queeni's bewilderment, he went on to bring her toys in there as well.

So much so that HRH couldn't stand it anymore. She too had to go in, and take a nap there, just to see what the big deal was all about. And it sure is big for a little Schnauzer.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Waking up the dead

When a work crew started setting up a sound system, speakers and keyboards at the multi-purpose hall at the corner of our block earlier this week, I thought it was for some sort of Christmas party. After all, the kindergarten two blocks away uses it as a venue for their concerts.

When I was at work, L reported hearing strains of Abba, Cyndi Lauper and the Bee Gees wafting up to our windows -- all in dialect though. You haven't lived till you've heard Saturday Night Fever in dialect, he would like you to know.

So I thought maybe the senior citizens group was having some Christmas/New Year thingy going on. But the next night, the music continued, L reported with some surprise when I was at work. This time, he noticed something odd. Everyone attending was dressed in black and white. If it wasn't a themed singalong, it was a funeral. But that didn't explain the Bee Gees. In dialect or otherwise.

So today, under the guise of taking the dog for a long walk, I went and kaypohed. It was a funeral. Had to be. There was a coffin. And wreaths. And a multi-media display on a screen that flashed old black-and-white pictures of who was presumably the deceased as a child, and at different stages of his life -- the sort of thing that you usually see at weddings, not funerals.

Well, it's one heck of a send-off. Especially with the Bee Gees. In dialect.

Friday, December 28, 2007

And he's half my gene pool

The junior nurse was starting to panic.

She couldn't rouse my Dad. He was sitting up with his eyes shut, as if he was sleeping. He wouldn't respond to her calls, nor to her shaking him by the arm.

Mum was wise to his ways. She calmly told the nurse to take his vital signs -- pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, temperature was all good.

He had done this before. Unused to not having his way, he retreated into a major sulk and pretended basically, to play dead.

The first time he did that, she went into a panic. Now, at the third time, she was an old hand.

But it freaked the junior nurse out, not surprisingly, and she had to fetch the staff nurse. Who was just as experienced as Mum.

"Uncle, would you like an ice cube?" she wheedled.

Immediately, his eyes flew open.

I love my Dad and feel for him, for all that he is going through, all the frustration, all the helplessness. But he is still a blooming butthole.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas spoils

I wasn't kidding when mentally drained (from fathers, feeding tubes and hospitals) and short on shopping time (also from fathers and hospitals), I said I was getting L underwear this Christmas. But at least they are kinda snazzy in a funny way. And aptly labelled 'Private Structure'.

And the shoes are mine. Like all the shoes in the house. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace on earth

... can be easily achieved with turkey and rice Nylabone Digestibles. Come to think of it, the furkids are the only ones having turkey this Christmas.

They also got squeaky toys -- a furry hedgehog for HRH who prefers soft toys and an orange ball for Rupert who likes bouncy chaseable things. But they both wanted the other one's toy. Furkids.

Merry Christmas!

Fleas navidog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Is it Christmas yet?

Wake us up for Christmas.

I think I'll join them for a nap. I meant to bake gingerbread cookies yesterday. I even bought ground ginger for it at the supermarket. But I forgot the golden syrup. Last night, I even went through my recipe books in search of a cookie recipe that I could make with what I have. But I'm lacking one thing, either the syrup or shortening or molasses. Looks like there'll be no cookies then because I'm not about to fight my way through the supermarket in the last weekend before Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Three's still a crowd

But at least now we're making room for Daddy.

Reason #4590 why Queeni doesn't like children

We were walking the furkids this morning and HRH, as always, was off leash and had trotted on ahead. There was a group of young boys on their bicycles, and they saw her but not the rest of her entourage and decided to "Let's chase the dog!" and started to make pretend-revving motions on their handlebars.

That was when L stepped up from round the corner and snarled: "Just you try!" Whereupon the bike pack turned round and pedalled off.

And who could blame HRH for not liking children?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quality of life

Some years ago, when I heard about Living Wills and Advanced Medical Directives, I thought they were a pretty good idea. While you are of sane mind and full capacity, you basically sign a Do Not Resuscitate order that lets your family pull the plug without any guilt on their part.

But now I realise, there's a big component missing that the AMDs do not cover. They all presuppose that you're plugged in.

How much quality of life do you have when you cannot eat nor drink, cannot move about without assistance and cannot hear or see much.

When my old pug reached that stage, I knew that I had to have that little talk with the vet. The day that he couldn't eat was the day we had that talk.

When Dad gradually lost his hearing and his sight, he didn't care that he couldn't watch much television -- he said he wasn't missing much because even before that, he only watched sports because he didn't have to follow a conversation or a plot. By then, he couldn't read for more than a 5-minute stretch. But he delighted in his food. But now, even that is denied him. Worse, it is horrible to deny water to a thirsty person.

While I'm not saying that I am about to put anybody down, it's just so much harder with a person. More strings, more what-ifs, more baggage. I used to think that making the decision to put down a dog was the hardest thing to do. Now, it seems like that was the most straightforward decision. Beats sitting around powerless to do anything to help.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No turkey this Christmas

Why are holidays and family gatherings all about food? Now that Dad has a feeding tube and cannot eat, and is spending Christmas in hospital, I have no idea how to do Christmas for him.

It's not the first time he's had to spend Christmas in hospital. Two years ago, he was in the same step-down care facility after his coronary bypass. Then, we had a picnic in his room and he was delighted by a slice of turkey and stuffing the hospital provided and the Christmas cake we bought.

This year, Christmas food is going to be out of the picture. Luckily, there are always presents. I found a gift towel that's packaged in a wedge shape and decorated to look like a slice of cake, complete with faux icing and soap chocolate-drizzled kumquat. I hope Dad hasn't lost his sense of humour even though he's been quite grumpy the past week.

It's Chinese New Year that I don't want to think about, when Reunion Dinner is the whole point of Chinese New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Penthouse suite

Rupert's had a crate upgrade, thanks to my colleague. She was going to sell it at a garage sale but decided to give it to me when I asked about it. Roop has grown so tall now that when he stands up in his old crate, his tail sticks out through the top.

It took Roop a night to figure out how to get into the new crate because the door isn't where it is with the old one. But now he loves his roomy new crate. He placed his favourite toys in it and then went in to take a nap -- and now with the luxury of space, can even do his turning round thing before lying down. And stretching out.

Good thing he's comfortable -- jail time for PoopHead might as well be pleasant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


HRH ponders over what's going to fill her stocking -- hanging over the windows (in lieu of a fireplace in these tropical parts) in the background -- I bet she can smell the Nylabone Chewables through their packaging.

Roop the Poop doesn't need to think so hard -- besides, he hasn't much grey matter to work with -- he's getting a lump of coal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bah, humbug (again)

This poster was in the window of one of the shops in the suburban mall down the road. It made me feel all Scrooge and Grinch-like and immediately removed all the desire to do my Christmas shopping because it implied (to me, at least) that Christmas joy must come in gift-wrapped packages and that I'd be a horrible unseasonably mean-spirited person if I didn't go buy! buy! buy! lavish presents.

Will L be joyful with carefully chosen socks and undies?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have I truly gone to the dogs?

A friend sent me this link to an NYT article, with his comment, "An interesting tributary of anthropology" -- Who Invited the Dog?

I have not decided whether I'm to be lumped with the extreme cases of owners who take their dogs everywhere, to the detriment of others. The last time I met this friend, the dog (there was only one then) didn't come because I was buying him dinner at a posh hotel buffet and I'm sure that I didn't insist on going somewhere dog-friendly just so the furkid could tag along.

But when it comes to family stuff, then it's different. They expect the dogs to come along. Because the dogs are family. To the extent that my mother no longer gives me my favourite chocolate cake for my birthday -- because then the dogs can't partake.

And I'm guilty, like the catowner in the NYT article, of wiping my dogs after they do a "stinky bom bom", as he calls it. And why is that over the top? You wipe your own ass when you've been to the loo, don't you?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

'Twas the week before Christmas

The cards have been sent. The stockings have been hung up. The tree has been up and decorated for weeks already. We've even switched to Christmas Tea -- scented with orange, cinnamon and clove.

But I'm starting to panic. I have not done any Christmas shopping. I just haven't had the time. Dressing the tree and writing cards you can at least do at 3am and unwinding after a night's work. But shopping, you need to do that during the hours that the rest of the world functions.

Oh wait, I have got some Christmas shopping done -- for the furkids and their cousins. L is pretend-hurt by my priorities. Looks like he'll be getting socks and underwear.

Instant karma

L was very taken in by this Christmas offer at a Converse shop. I think he's excited by the thought that wearing Chuckies immediately puts you on a road to salvation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dead Cat Bounce meets Downward Dog

... that just came into my head during yoga class and I had to suppress the giggles. We've just started the second season of the yoga class at the office gym and this time round, there weren't enough takers because a lot of people are going on leave at this time of the year. So the women's class and men's class have been merged into one, and now my class is full of business editors. And also the editor of Singapore's biggest daily. Yes, that one. Intimidating.

Monday, December 10, 2007

World wide food

It strikes me as somewhat ironical that just as consumers are becoming environmentally aware and buying local so that their food doesn't have a giant carbon footprint, a big-time supermarket here is running TV ads that feature animated imported food brands dancing to the song "you've got the whole wide world in your hands".

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Paging George Bernard Shaw. Will Mr Shaw please call 999.

Another shaky picture taken with the cellphone -- and thus proving that taking pictures should best be left to cameras.

It's a sign on the train platform telling you how long it will be till the next train. The letters in white at the bottom say: " - George Bernard Shaw - Seen anything suspicious? Inform us or call 999."

Does this mean that GB Shaw has been directed to call the police? Or is GB Shaw suspicious?

Actually, it was the tail-end of the quote for the day (imagine, someone's hired to type in an inspirational quote everyday). It never fits into one line at the bottom of the screen so the quote gets spread across different flashes of the screen, and the attribution just got on the same line as the usual Beware of Terrorists kicker.

Poor Mr Shaw. Things still happen to him when he's long gone.

Sports edition today

All right, sports fans, here's a poser for you: How can a football team that has scored four goals still lose the match when its opponent scores just one goal? Answer: When two of those goals are own goals.

And that's how Singapore beat Vietnam in the SEA Games football match. It's almost embarrassing how the commentators went on and on about the Singapore win when actually the Vietnamese did all the work for them.

Just as in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, Team Singapore is mostly Team Imported From China And Now Naturalised. At least with the South-East Asian Games, you're not going to have the irony of a final that's flying two flags but is really China vs China. The only irony now are the morale-raising trailers on TV sponsored by the Singapore Sports Council -- which feature the racially correct component of Indian, Malay and obviously local-born Chinese athletes (it's quite politically correct too, one of the athlete is disabled). But where are the now-Singaporean China-born ping pong players and the angmoh footballers in Team Singapore?

In other sports developments, L was watching the Lexus Cup golf tournament and raised another interesting question: Why is Australia in Team International and not Team Asia?

Kevin Rudd must be begging to fix that one and must already have an answer. In Mandarin, no less.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I got tagged!

... by Funny the World to do this meme on behalf of Queeni and Rupert.

Queeni and Rupert's top 7 annoyances:

1. Queeni is annoyed by people -- walking down the staircase, on the
common corridor directly outside our flat, outside our window.
2. Queeni is annoyed by children -- running, screaming, anything as long as they are small people.
3. Queeni is annoyed by the neighbours coming home -- even if it's their home, the corridor outside is hers.
4. Queeni is annoyed by plain kibble -- she expects a little garnishing, some meat or liver slivers. She has barely accepted mixed veg because I'm cutting down her protein intake.
5. Queeni is annoyed by L cuddling her in bed when she wants to lie in the aircon draft.
6. Queeni is annoyed by grooming -- brushing her coat and teeth.
7. Queeni is annoyed by Rupert -- when he's shaking her favouritestuffed toy; when he's stretched out in the middle of the bed; when he's on my lap; when L is giving him attention. She's plain annoyed by Rupert's existence.

Rupert is never annoyed. He gets excited, hyped up, even. But happily so. He's the sweetest dog I've ever had.

And I'm tagging:
Vivi -- she's sure to have a lot to say!
Milly's Muse
The Cat's Whiskers -- nobody said it had to be a dog thing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chin up

I'd forgotten all about this picture that I took on my cellphone. It's shaky because it was taken on the bus. It's a sign sponsored by the Civil Defence and hangs on the handrail of the bus at eye level and says: "Chin ups keep you fit for IPPT".

Like it's to make you feel better when you're swaying and keeping your balance as the driver does his Evel Knievel tribute. So all you National Servicemen packed in the buses and hanging on to the handrails as the bus takes a sharp corner, it's all for a good cause.

There's another sign at the exit: "Stand up for Singapore". Actually, I'd rather sit.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Getting neighbourly

When we got the keys to our flat more than a year ago, we found stalactites growing from the ceiling of the kitchen bathroom, which meant that the neighbour upstairs had a leak problem with his bathroom floor.

Which meant that our first introduction to him was to tell him that he had to get his floor fixed. We wondered how that bode for neighbourly relations. And we hadn't even moved in yet.

Actually, it wasn't so bad. It helped that he has a papillion and that we have a schnauzer and later on, also a fox terrier. Even if his papillion humps our terrier that's three time his size.

And now, more than a year later, we got invited to lunch today, to celebrate his newborn son's first month.

Oh, we bitched about HDB workmanship over lunch. Now that's being neighbourly.

Ready for Christmas

The stockings are hanging in anticipation. Rupert kept jumping up and nipping at them and had to be swatted. He was shocked, then sorry. That Dog. If he doesn't watch it, he'll get a lump of coal in his stocking.