Tuesday, November 30, 2010

what we remember

If I were to page through my journal, I'm sure I would find many entries about the new store, especially about the decision. To do or not to do? Funnily, it's been 9 months since the nonsense started, and it almost feels like I've given birth. We opened on Thursday and I forgot to take any photos, until yesterday. I didn't take a shot of Sarah & her friends horsing around behind the counter. Or I-Mei giving a class, flying home for just one day exams notwithstanding. Or of Sin Yee carrying all those boxes of cardstock. But I remember those moments. (teary smile)
I remember savouring our last normal weekend, for a while at least. Celebrating family by the pool with a mini picnic. Philip and Sarah with their shoes off on the stepping stones, appearing to be walking on water.
I remember feelings. People. Expressions. David poking his head in everyday, bringing people in to the store. Little girls who tell their moms they want to stay here, in the store. How I felt when the 30 foot tree downstairs lit up.
I remember being overwhelmed by the inventory and slowly chipping away at it until it was all done.
I remember driving up and down, sourcing for {fine things} and Philip heaving them home and then to the store. Displaying all the cushions on my sofa to take a photo and wishing I could keep them all. Our house looks empty now.
I remember this look. The whole project was as much his as mine.
I remember the day they took down the hoarding and the new store was twinkling from behind. If a store had feelings, I'm sure this one would feel really loved.

I remember the disappointments in the beginning, the things I've learnt. I remember learning to forgive. Healing. And this truth, I could not have done it without Him!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Monday Before

Oh dear, it seems like the calendar now revolves around the shop opening hours & days. Hopefully, things will quickly settle into a groove & I'll be able to go for my walks again. We made good progress today . Most of the shop area is clear except for stack of boxes holding paper. The classroom, however is another story. (grin) Oh, then there's the display and the decorations, fine things, the art... breathe.
Elswhere in the mall, there seems to be lots of activity as other people hurry to meet the Thursday deadline. Christmas decorations are going up in the building and out on the boardwalk by the sea. So pretty.
We visited Dad last night, and Sarah asked when we were putting up our tree. Ooops! Gotta think about that. Christmas tree? It's almost December! Presents & December days and familly gathering and Xmas supper and , oh, it's going to be another challenge trying to fit it all in.


Oh, and it rained.

Friday, November 19, 2010

this life

Lately my perception , or awareness of life has been sharpened. The last few months have not only been packed with things to do, meeting deadlines, stretching ourselves, learning but also with quite a number of significant & poignant moments. The day I signed the agreement for the new store is the day I found out that my mum's illness had returned. The day was bittersweet and my heart was torn.
The day of the handover was the day I attended the funeral of my sister in law. We talked in the car after, about how we 'get' to be here. What a huge gift it is and how life is at the same time easy & hard, fragile and amazing.
In between I have made many trips to see Mum, and when I'm there , the excitement of the new store wanes as I long for the freedom to be with her , to be close at hand so she can just call out whenever she needs to. I think of the path that leads us to where we are, sometime far away from the ties of family . If I have any regrets that would have to be it. Being far from kin.

Yesterday we moved all our stuff to the new store. Some may think , 'what's the big deal?', to a large company with a huge staff, probably nothing. But this effort was a 'pouring out ' of everything I had and probably didn't know I had in me. A stretching, you know ,like how a weak baby bird stretches it's tiny beak to receive the worm from mama bird. Or how the man with the withered hand, stretched out what may have been a stump of an arm when his Teacher said "stretch out you hand and I will heal you", and him ,the man, thinking, in his head & in his heart
'I am stretching, as far as I can' and at once experiencing a transformation.

I'm planning to take it easy this weekend. On Monday we set up. By some stroke of sheer luck and a little help from the few dozen time management books I read in my younger days, and a lot of help from Philip, Ming, Mei,Sarah, Sin Yee & Teng Hooi, ( and Alma! God bless her) I am almost ready. Woo hoo!! Proof that you can say to a mountain, "Go throw yourself in the ocean..."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

yesterday, today

There was some confusion at the new store yesterday. Some things went wrong, people not taking responsibility for errors, passing the same responsibility from one person, to the next, to the next...
So frustrating. Things got settled in the end, not without compromise. What is compromise? Someone wins, someone loses, someone gets what they want, someone doesn't, someone gives and does so happily. Or as happily as one might be under the circumstances. People. The most important thing the world needs. The hardest thing to deal with. And yet, that's what it's all about. "Love one another as I have loved you". Seriously hard stuff. I know I fail miserably each day. But what really is missing? Integrity. Delivering what you promise. Just like you said you would. More seriously hard stuff. Really. Are you guilty of not doing that? Whoops, there goes my hand shooting up. (sheepish grin) Funny, a new thought flew through my head, wasn't even going there, but here it is, "Judge ye not lest ye be judged". Yikes! Wouldn't the world be a better place if ...
You know how something you've known all along just surfaces as if it's a major revelation? Like if you've been telling your kid , 'drink more water , it's good for you' and it just flies over her head and one day she comes home and tells you all about the benefits of drinking water. And, you're thinking, that's what I've been trying to tell you. But never mind. Whichever way the message gets through.
I started off wanting to say people have less integrity than they should have, which may be true, but in the end it made me look at the one or two times, okay, million times I may have suspended mine, so, I guess it doesn't matter how it gets through as long as it does.

The photo above was taken at the new store at about 9.30 last night. These guys,(and about 6 or 7 others), were still working. On a Saturday night. They probably didn't go to some fancy school but they had a deadline, so they worked late. So simple. So cool.

So yesterday went by, ending with more inventory, more coughing and hardly any sleep. Still we managed to drag ourselves to the car at 7.30 am and drive to KL to pick up last minute stuff, including Xmas decorations for the store and get back home in time for dinner. Whenever anyone in our family is away on a road journey, when we hit the bridge we send a text message to whoever is home saying ,"I can see the sea". As we came onto the bridge, there was that great 'coming home' feeling and we caught a glimpse of the sun just before it dipped behind the hills. That reminded me of art class in school, you know, where you draw two hills, the sea and the sun between them.(smile) Funny, the things you remember.

Hope you had a great weekend & have a fantastic week ahead. I just thought I might leave you with this quote'
"What in your life is calling you? When all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned, the lists aside...what still pulls at your soul?"
-Terma collective, the box
Also hope you have some time to do that thing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

reaching the line

11 days to go. There's still much to be done and being sick doesn't help. All of us have been having the flu for the past 2 weeks and it doesn't seem to be getting better. Every night a battle between the evil cough and sleep, leaving us zombies, trudging through the tasks instead of enjoying them. Sigh.Ever the true creative soul, (ha ha),poor health could not deter me from one late night scrap, this one for a December class. We're moving stuff in to the new store on Thursday, if everything goes according to plan , so have to speed things up the next few days. Exciting is an understatement...

Friday, November 05, 2010


How many times do you have to stamp the word 'Joy" for it's meaning to truly seep into your bones?
You know how you've seen someone smile at their cell phone while reading a text message. That's kind of how I felt stamping out tags for the bazaar. We've been at it for a while and Cindy & I have made hundreds of tags & cards. Next year we're starting in June =) Anyway, our eyes and minds were failing but the spirit of JOY prevailed as we busied our hands preparing for the bazaar tomorrow and for the opening of the store. Philip helped make gift boxes and Sarah, still sick from a bad bout of flu, die cut and stamped snowflakes. joy, joy , joy... could the spirit of season be upon us?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I just realized that 3 weeks to go actually means, yikes, maybe 1 1/2 weeks. Why? Because the last 1 1/2 weeks will be spent setting up! So, with the rest of this week greatly devoted to elfing, or bazaar stuff preparation, that leaves me about , YIKES!! , almost no time... so let's get everything into overdrive...but first, I wanted to show you some pieces that make up the whole.

Just as we are rushing, E&O is rushing about the building too. The sign just went up a couple of days ago. =)
Before I get really tied up with the store, we made a trip home to see my Mum, who is doing a lot better than when I last saw her. Yay! This is the guy. You know, the ONE! He drove all the way, helped me source for stuff, shop for the store, carry and fetch and pack and wait . And, still smiling! You know, the day the store opens happens to be thanksgiving. Guess what's on the top of my list? Really inspiring to go away for a bit and see , see, see...

Just the idea makes you want some, this is 'happiness tea', a mix of 4 different things, I can't remember what, but it does taste yummy.
Hall life at NTU. Rows of random doors opening from random hallways, one of which houses your very own child. All grown up now and very much living her own dream. Which is what you always wished for. Hmmm. Ok, back to elfing...