Friday, February 29, 2008

Lafcadio: Book review by 5-yr old and 10-yr old

Sean prefers nonfiction to fiction. I've been trying to get him to read simple fiction such as those in Enid Blyton books but he's not too interested. The only story book which he has enjoyed a lot was Roald Dahl's Esio Trot (Tortoise spelt backwards) and that is because tortoises are his best buddies, well, he loves his tortoise soft toys and he's addicted to Tortoise Talk (where he talks to Brian's hand-talking tortoise & other hand-talking animals in Animal Town).

Last week, I saw him reading Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio: The Lion who shot back. Not quite sure if this is strictly fiction in the 'normal' story-book sense, it's just a book with lots of nonsensical and funny scenarios (not unlike those found in the author's other poetry-based books, of which Runny Babbit is Sean's favourite).

It's interesting to see though, what Sean actually takes away from the book. Just compare his review with that of Brian's.

Lafcadio is a lion that likes marshmallows but one day, he became a hunter. He couldn't shoot anything except the sky. And then he learnt to shoot more things, the berries of the trees, the flies of the berries, the ears of the flies, the dust of the ears, and finally, the sunlight of the dust. He could shoot the mountain, the cliff, the tree, the waterfall, maybe the river. And you know what, he could shoot the river. He can shoot 6 bottles, he can shoot 100 balloons off the ceiling. He liked to go up and down, up and down, up and down, the elevator, which made the elevator man verrrrrry, very, very, very....very tired. And one day, he didn't want to belong anywhere. And that's all. The End.

I couldn't believe that that was all there was to this book and got Brian to rattle off his review of a book he last read almost 2 years ago in London.

Lafcadio is a lion, he used to live in a jungle. And one day, a hunter came and tried to shoot the lions. All the lions ran away except Lafcadio. Lafcadio ate the hunter and took his gun. He used the gun to practise shooting. When he needed more bullets, he would find another hunter, eat him up, and take his gun.

One day, a circus man came and he said, "Do you want to be in my circus? You would be fantastic!" And then Lafcadio said, "Can I have marshmallows too? They sound delicious." The circus man said, "You'll live in a house of marshmallows. You'll take a bath of marshmallows"...and he said everything about marshmallows.

The circus man brought the lion to the city and said, "First we need to get you a place to live." So Lafcadio went to a hotel, and then the author of the book meets Lafcadio. In the book, the author (Shel Silverstein) called himself Uncle Shelby. And the hotel refused to give the lion a room stay in. So the lion said, "Grawgr, Grawgr!!!" (Brian corrected my spelling for Grawgr at this point). And the hotel man got scared and gave him a room.

Lafcadio and Uncle Shelby then went into the elevator and then Lafcadio found riding on the elevator so fun that he made the elevator boy go up and down, and up and down. And the elevator boy wanted to stop, but the lion said, "Grawgr, Grawgr!!!!".

And then Lafcadio took a bath and he said, "Hey, this isn't a bath of marshmallows." The circus man said, "You'll have your bath of marshmallows when you're working for me."

And then the lion kept saying, "Grawgr, Grawgr!!!" to get what he wanted, like a taxi ride, or a haircut, or a suit (because he wanted a suit of marshmallows), or to eat marshmallows at the restaurant. Then he went to the circus to work for the circus man, and everybody liked Lafcadio and he became famous.

He went to other places without the author. And the author would get postcards and Lafcadio became more like a man. He'd dance with women, he'd play tennis and golf, and he learnt how to sign 6 autographs at a time, two with his paws, one with his tail, one with his teeth, and the last two with his other paws.

Someone wanted Lafcadio to go hunting with him. Lafcadio said okay and he found a pride of lions that he used to live with. The lions said, "Hey, you're a lion, you belong to us." And the person said, "No, you belong in the city." And both sides argued about who Lafcadio belonged to. And Lafcadio was so upset that he ran away. The End.

Same book, totally different take on it!

It seems that all Sean took away from this book despite enjoying it from start to finish was Shoot, Shoot, Shoot! :)

Lego Indiana Jones

Very nice...this Indiana Jones lego set was a present to the boys from Hsien. And perfect timing too, since I'm introducing them to this adventure series with the trilogy dvd I bought last week from London. We've watched the first two so far, will watch the third one this weekend. And in spring, Indiana Jones IV comes to a theatre near you!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Little Pinocchio

Sean comes to where I am, and asks, "Mummy, may I watch Cartoon Network?"

I feign shock, and say, "What?...Don't you know what will happen to your brain?".

He looks at me and says indignantly, "I was only asking! I didn't really want to watch Cartoon Network."

I'm sure his nose has grown an inch.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Funniest stuff I've seen in a long time!!

Check out these two videos, if you haven't already.

Background: In his talkshow, Jimmy Kimmel's regular joke is to pretend Matt Damon's a guest. He then ends his show by apologising to Matt, saying the show's run out of time and he can't come on.

Last month, Jimmy Kimmel's real girlfriend, comedienne Sarah Silverman, went on his show and surprised him with this video.

Fast forward about a month, at his post-oscars show, Jimmy Kimmel got his revenge! Check out the stars cameo-ing in this video! Big-time!

The first video has had almost 5 million views on Youtube, and the second one, more than a million in just a day or so! Kimmel and Silverman sure got a helluva lot of mileage from this; I'd never heard of either of them before this.

I don't know how he does it...

...but Sean always knows when I've gotten too fat and am in dire need of a diet. Cases in point, here and here. I mean, I myself would have realised I'm some kgs (well, make that many kgs) above my desired weight, but no one would say anything (except maybe my mum). Sean, however, never fails to notice and say something.

Since my trip back to Malaysia, I've not been able to lose the weight gained. London didn't help matters. I'm at my heaviest ever (not counting pregnancy).

Yesterday, I was feeding him some food (yep, I'm still doing this most of the time *groan*), and had my legs crossed. He pointed to my thighs or calves (I dunno), and said, "Why do you have big RIPPLES and I don't?" Brian giggled, came over and gave my thigh a wobble, and we all saw the rippling effect, and Brian went, "This is what he meant." All kinds of Hokkien expletives went through my head! No manners these boys. They laughed heartily. As usual, I do my, "How very dare you!" to Sean, which of course, got them laughing even more.

In the night, Sean said it was time for my back massage, which is me lying on his bed, and him walking along my whole back and legs. Every time he reached my bum, he'd go, "Wow! You have a fatty fatty backside!" and start laughing. I retorted, "You have a fatter backside." He replied, "No, your backside is 10 times fatter than mine."

Yup, that was our pre-bedtime chatter. It was only when I threatened to pick an ugly physical trait of his to tease him that he stopped and said, "Oh, actually, your backside is very thin." Self-serving little imp!

I guess it's time to ease my way...

...back to the blogging world. For those of you wondering what I've been up to, well, the glamorous excuse is that I've been travelling. Hehe, seriously, I went to London last week, but only for 3 days. Honest! See my happy grin in Piccadilly Circus.

Of course, that only explains at most a week (including planning & packing) of my MIA stunt. The much less glamorous side of it, is that there really isn't anything much in my life to write about these days. Well, I actually have tonnes of photos of miscellaneous stuff I wanted to blog about, so maybe it all boils down to a lack of blogging mojo.

BUT, I do feel the drive returning....let's see how this goes yeah?


Okay, about my London trip. Some of you Nazi mummies are gonna stone me inside your head when you hear what I did; I left my boys in Moscow with our nanny/housekeeper while I flew off to London with Eddie for 2 nights. In total, we were away from the house for 63 hours. We were only in the heart of London (Heathrow not counted) for a total of 43 hours. So the rest of the 20 hours were spent travelling on the road, waiting, checking-in, plane delays etc, yep, crappy, but well worth it.

Managed to meet up with the lovely ladies of London at a few of my favourite restaurants, Pearl Liang (with Jeannie & Joan), Sushi-Hiro (with Helena & Lisa) and Goldmine (with Lisa and a very pregnant Hsien). Well, Goldmine is not really my favourite, it's Eddie's and Brian's.

Because of our delayed arrival into London, we couldn't squeeze in an extra meal (lunch) on Day 1 and thus missed out on trying the new restaurant Haozhan that's been highly recommended by Lisa.

Who can see I'm passionate about food? :)

Nope, I didn't buy a single item of clothing for myself. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm a charbor or not. Bought boxer shorts from M&S for the boys, loads of titbits from Chinatown, sweets and miso soup from Japan Centre, quite a number of books, 2 DVD sets (Indiana Jones trilogy and Planet Earth)...that's about it, nothing really for myself.

It felt so good to be in London again, after 7 months away. Really, really, good. Not dissing Moscow or anything, but just to hear English spoken everywhere, and of course, to get my hands on all those trashy tabloids...Yes, it was shiok!

Well, as I have said before, I'll say it once again, "London, I'll be back!"


The boys were none the worse from the 3 days of maternal neglect; in fact, they sounded a bit too chirpy and happy for my liking when I called them from London, hmmmm.....

Friday, February 08, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Hong Bao Na Guo Lai!!!

Check out Sean in Brian's old samfu, a photo-shot made possible only cos I bribed him with a Ferrero Roche.

Day 1 of the Year of the Rat is almost over here in Moscow. Unlike last year, when we had such a blast in London, this year's celebration is a low-key family affair.

This little table decoration is the best that I could do, given limited availability of CNY food and decorative items here in Moscow (plus limited creativity on my part). Look, I even got a pineapple (in Hokkien it's Ong Lai which sounds like Luck Come) and a pomelo (I don't know the significance of pomelo, but I vaguely remember seeing pomelos during CNY). When we made our phone calls home to our families in Malacca and Sabah this morning, I found out from my mum that she bought her pineapple for less than RM2 each; mine was S$16, or RM40!! I would never buy such a pineapple in normal circumstances, but what the hey, it's CNY!

This would be the 4th consecutive CNY that we are spending away from Malaysia :(
Although we are in cold, wintry, Moscow, where there's not a hint of CNY anywhere around, I was adamant about making this an event of some significance for the boys. I bought loads of chocolates and other goodies, and packed the fridge with soft drinks. As a kid, I loved CNY so much and would spend all day drinking bottles and bottles of Sarsi (rootbeer), munching goodies, stuffing my face with mandarin oranges and of course, collecting angpows.

Above is the spread we had for last night's reunion dinner. The menu was wintermelon pork ribs soup, sweet and sour pork ribs, soy sauce chicken and boiled eggs, steamed seabass hongkong style, braised shitake mushrooms with siupakchoy and ginger-garlic oyster sauce prawns. For dessert, we had bird's nest soup. Eddie explained to the boys the significance of reunion dinner and added some c&b story about how the first-born son is expected to help mummy clean up after dinner.

And because Brian had read or heard that the longer children stay up on CNY eve, the longer the lives of their parents, both boys insisted on staying up before succumbing to droopy eyes by 1145pm.

As my parents did all those years ago, I too slipped angpows into their new PJs (bought by my mum when we were in Malaysia) after they've gone off to dreamland, for them to discover with glee in the morning.

Gong Xi Fa Cai Everyone and to Everyone a Happy New Year!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sean shares family secret

This is Sean's drawing of his family.

He took many days to draw this picture. In school, he tearfully insisted that he did not know how to draw his family. I was given the task over one weekend to convince him that he did know how to draw. He would freeze each time I gave him a piece of paper, whining that he didn't know how to draw people. It was infuriating. One Wednesday morning, Brian managed to convince him to draw this. I thought his stick figures have a Tim Burton touch to them.

Before handing it up to his teacher, he added the family secret. Can you see it? It says Secret - Daddy is a sotong. LOL! Sotong is squid in Malay, and when you say someone's a sotong, it just means they are blur or clueless, Blur like Sotong. Every morning, we try to catch each other being sotongs; it's usually Eddie or Brian emerging as clear winners.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bodacious Blog

Thanks Jasmine for giving me the Bodacious Blog award; Aisay man, why couldn't it have been the Bodacious Bod award? (uttered while munching on bak kwa and pineapple tarts).