Friday, February 27, 2009

Wiper Genies

I explore the parking garage once a day as I go to our mailbox to check it for the lack of mail. It gives me a reason to go up and down my 10 flights of stairs, and the anticipation of mail always makes it worth my effort. Sometimes Raelee and Steph send us a care package, and yesterday we received a card Ruth sent; it is SOoooo worth my daily vigil of climbing stairs to get the smiles :-)

As I was walking across the parking garage this morning, I realized I had not explained a strange phenomenon in our parking garage. It is one of mysterious genies that lift windshield wipers. If you walk through the garage in the mornings, you will see one windshield wiper of several random vehicles standing on end. On weekends, there seems to be one wiper on many vehicles standing at attention. At first I thought it was a kid running through with nothing better to do than to lift wipers and laugh. Finally, I realized there was a pattern to the wiper phenomena – cars underneath them looked… different. I could not quite pinpoint the difference, but something was definitely different about them.

I guess I spent a couple of months wondering what the genies were trying to tell us, but I never could quite put it into words. Finally, I braved it up and asked the ones I knew I could trust – our guards. They never laugh at my list of never ending questions. I am inquisitive. I want to know everything I can about the country I am living in. Ok, I admit it; I have always asked a lot of questions. They have gotten used to me walking up and asking what I am sure they think are silly questions – but thankfully, they take a great interest in explaining the answer to me. Sometimes, this can be quite interesting; an American, an Indian, a Singaporean and a Malaysian all chattering and trying to find a common word or phrase that we can all understand – but we are persistent – we do eventually cross the communication barrier. We all banter until finally they understand my question and I understand their answer. I think it must be quite amusing to those around us, and sadly also think others do not take the time to try to get to that point. What a huge loss to them.

The wiper genies are actually telling the car owner that their car is washed and ready. A tenant pays monthly to have the cars washed as often as they request. A genie magically appears during the night with two 5 gallon buckets – one with sudsy water and one with clear water. They wash the car and meticulously shine it to perfection, raise the wiper to note it is done and move on to the next one. After asking the guards, I went to through the garage one night on the way out and I saw one of the genies. He is one of our quiet workers who “No-la. Cannot.” (speak English), but he does an amazing job with his task. Genies understand the thumbs up signal passed from me to them - offered with a huge smile. They nod and smile back in great satisfaction. Their shoulders lift and the grin is engrained into their face as they dutifully continue shining the cars.

Wiper genies – I love the idea. Wonder if I can find one in the states to do the same? Have car, must find genie. Must live in states. ha!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Grainnny? Can You See Me??"

"... and is my papa there? I can't see you!"

"Grainnny... I love you. I have frozen orange juice, just like you! Weel, grainnny, I am so happy to see you!"

"Granny? I can SEE woo! I know what a gwanny wooks like!"

*breaks granny's heart*

Granny misses her babies. All of them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Insanity Runs in the Family...

I have spent the last two days whittling 539 orchid pictures thankfully down to 158. It occured to me during this process, that even as beautiful as every orchid picture I keep is, a person must be insane to keep so many pictures of a flower. Now, if it were only flowers I keep pictures of, maybe it would not be so bad. However, it is not just flowers. I have thousands of digital pictures still to be sorted through, organized and thousands to toss. I have pictures of friends, family, places and things. I have pictures of beauty, pictures of wonder, pictures of amazement, and pictures of sadness.I have picture stories to tell, pictures of scenes, picture backgrounds to enjoy and pictures of pets. And of course, I have taken pictures of journeys to be taken:

Where am I going on this journey? What is this leading to?

…back to pictures, Euvah, back to pictures. During this process of sorting, some other things have come to light. I have taken pictures of pictures that OTHER people have taken, I have back-ups of other people’s pictures, and I have the actual pictures that other people took and have shared with me. I have genealogy pictures, family pictures and really OLD genealogy pictures – and I have Christmas card pictures. I even have a check with a picture of a bank on it from the 1800’s – and a picture of the same bank 100+ years later – unchanged. Literally.

This thought process even took a different turn. Thinking back, I realized that my dad used to love taking pictures. My mom used to love taking pictures. Obviously, if I have genealogy pictures, then my old relatives, both living and dearly beloved, also loved taking pictures. While pondering this, my daughter posted – you guessed it – pictures of our granddaughter. My sister had also just posted pictures of her kids getting new bicycles on her blog, and thus it occurred to me that BOTH sisters love taking pictures, too. Not with regret, I have passed this insanity on in our family. Our daughter is an up and coming photographer - her pictures simply take my breath away. Ok, I have established that we are ALL photographers to some degree. Some better than others, but we are all photographers none the less. We are always on the lookout for another memory aka "Justa clickin’!"

Sitting quietly at my desk, sorting the many pictures I have taken, it was then that it realized that it could only be insanity causing me to take so many pictures. After all, I have to sort them, edit them, toss some, save some and share some. It is all very time consuming - and we relive those moments like instant replay over and over again. Now, I am not the only one taking pictures, remember, the rest of my family are also taking pictures and doing the same things as well. So I have decided that this strange photography insanity runs in my family and the tradition keeps on going. (Just so I don’t worry Steve, Todd and John; we know you are not blood related – but we gotcha covered - not to worry.)

Our family has taken pictures for so long that cameras have actually become an extra appendage to each of us. If we are walking and talking, we have a camera attached somewhere on our person – that is a given.

It is with this insanity that I will share one reason we take pictures:

We do this to treasure the memories and to share the knowledge of what life is like now. We do it to capture that moment in time when a child's face is still a child. We do it to imprint the visions in our minds for that forgotten moment - and for the warmth it brings back when we see that vision once again. We do it for future generations and to embrace who we were and what we were like. We want to look back and remember the good times, the sad times, and the times when words just do not say what looking at a picture can say.
Someday, somehow, maybe you can look back with with this thought, “This insanity was inherited - for I too take pictures.”

Photography insanity - I think if it is not inherited, it is can definitely be contagious. You can start the insanity in your family at any moment – I have no idea how long the incubation period could be, but it should come, may come... anytime now. You should grab a camera just in case you see life flashing before your eyes! When the urge hits, just start clickin’ and you will begin to see our passion.

Kids grow up, flowers die, a new snow falls, another days passes with a beautiful 'once in a lifetime' sunset – but capture that memory and a picture lasts forever. It is with this insanity I keep on sorting, keep on clicking and keep on smiling... and while doing so, I "remember when?"

Insanity runs in our family. It is a genetic path I must follow and one trait that I am glad I inherited.
Excuse me, there is a sunset happening on my balcony...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have been sorting pictures all day - I am beginning to see a pattern.

Take a gander at some of my adventures and see if you can see the pattern ;-)

Apparently, I think all paths lead to something fun.
Wonder where this next one takes me?

Ok, that last one will annoy me - it is just out of the theme here - but I am adding it just to test my last nerve.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Botanical Gardens

This weekend, we went to the Botanical Gardens for the day. Packing our traditional picnic lunch, water and the camera (man I have to figure carrying this thing out), we browsed the free gardens - again - and still have more to see. I promised Steve I would finish it... by myself. I will. I promise I will... I will do it... I can do it, yes I CAN do it… lol...

The gardens are absolutely beautiful. As I have said before, Singapore makes it very easy to go out and get healthy with your family. There were many families in the gardens, many people running and walking dogs, but it was in no way crowded. There are so many parks in Singapore that it would be hard for them to be crowded – and like so many others, this one is huge. Families were playing football (soccer), flying kites, line dancing, and singing. There was even a wedding going on - or at least a photography shoot for it. What a beautiful place to go for a day.

Singaporeans love to have pictures taken and often ask you to have your picture taken with them - on their camera. I have no idea why this is exciting for them, but it is. When you ask to take pictures of groups of people, they are most accommodating and will nearly always give the peace or love sign:

Art and statues around are great around the island. The Botanical Gardens are no exception when it comes to art – it is not all greenery and flowers:

Tucked in the gardens are the Orchid Gardens, which you have to pay a bit to get into – but worth every penny! There are thousands of orchids – which are all over Singapore, but here, I can see them all in one place :-)

There is no way I could share all of the pictures with you, but here is a small sampling of some:

LOOK at the size of this tree! Yes, this is a man raking near it. I love the roots on these trees! Aren’t they wonderful?

There is a tree here that has long strings of seeds hanging from it. The seeds used to be used in weighing other items as they were very uniform in size. Here, someone had another use for them:

As we were leaving we found a tree of peace. These are all Origami Birds of Peace hanging from it for the Chinese New Year:

It was a wonderful day to get out. We did get a bit wet, but got out just as the downpour came. It was worth getting wet – we had another great adventure this weekend.

I am having some issues with the site right now, I will come back and edit it when I am not fretting over the perfection of it. I do want to tell you the name of the statues, but I am getting overly frustrated with it.

I know you are gasping... me OCD?!?

Later gator...

Friday, February 20, 2009

25 Random Things About Singapore

25 Random Things About Singapore

1. Singapore is 1 degree north of the equator – which means it is hot year round.
2. Singapore is a small tropical island of 646 sq km (252 sq miles) located in Southeast Asia, neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.
3. Singapore has an average of over 100 inches of rain yearly – densely lush city life.
4. Singapore has no natural disasters; earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, or typhoons – unless you consider the 2000 SARS virus outbreak which killed 2 people and made 2,022 ill.
5. The average temperature is between 77 and 88 °F (25 and 31°C)
6. Temperatures are almost the same day and night
7. There are no cows in Singapore – most of our beef comes from Australia or New Zealand – odd for a ‘states’ girl from Oklahoma.
8. Singaporeans drive on the wrong side of the road – the left. Or do we Americans drive on the wrong side? Not so odd when we get used to it.
9. Most Singaporeans speak four languages - English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
10. No pennies in Singapore – round up or down. Love it!
11. Windows don’t have screens and drains seldom have grates – and lawyers are nearly non-existent.
12. There are about 29,000 public toilets in Singapore. No worries about “not for public use”.
13. Local cats have stubby tails –genetically mutated over the years.
14. You can chew gum here in Singapore; though you cannot buy, sell or distribute it. It is nice not to find it stuck to every nook, corner and sidewalk - better yet, no one is smacking it.
15. Automobiles are 3-4 times more expensive here than in the states. They also have a huge taxes – and as the automobile ages, the taxes increase. This is done to decrease traffic flow and pollution on the island.
16. Automobiles are generally very small here – no Mega Cab pickups.
17. Singaporean government encourages bike riding, walking, running, skating and provide paved connectors to get from one area to another by these healthier means.
18. Singapore has one of two rainforests located in a city – the other in Rio de Janeiro.
19. ABC, CBS, and NBC do not exist here in Singapore – but you can find outdated shows from them on other stations. No season premieres here :-( or updated American series.
20. Singapore has many open air food markets like “hawker stands” to buy local food.
21. Nearly every restaurant in Singapore has outdoor seating.
22. Singapore has wild monkeys – and fines of S $10,000 if you feed them!
23. Singapore is considered a ‘fine city’ – because everything you do or don’t do - you can be fined for – I am proud to say it isn’t as bad as it sounds. We must be good expatriates.
24. Currently Singapore ranks 13th and holds a score of 109.1 among Mercer's worldwide cost of living survey of over 143 global cities. Singapore remains among the 20 most expensive cities to live in and is even pricier than New York (100 index points). Other rankings: Moscow (1), Tokyo (2) London (3), Hong Kong (6), Paris (12) New York (22), Shanghai (24).
25. The country is a showcase of racial and religious harmony, with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians living and working side-by-side while respecting their many differences.
Singapore's national ideology is based on the following pledge:

"We the citizens of Singapore Pledge ourselves as one united people Regardless of race, language or religion To build a democratic society Based on justice and equality So as to achieve happiness, prosperity and Progress for our nation."


To learn more fun facts about Singapore, go to:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Signs I Try To Make Sense Of

I still shake my head at some of the signs here. I know they make sense in some way to someone... somewhere...

There was no fire engine here - and no place to obstruct the invisible fire engine.

This announced a hump - albeit an invisible hump:

On the way to the restrooms, just before you get to the men's and women's, in one of the malls:

The sinks:

The sign:

Reassuring to know the utensils are washed 10 feet from the toilets... and I will be sure not to sprinkle...

However, I must say it IS reassuring to know there ARE some sinks here - unlike some of the other eating places I wonder about...

The flashing caution lights here are almost inconspicuous:

I am still wondering what this one is:

But, do I really want to know? ;-)

I have many more, but thought I would just share a few today. Contemplating sayings and signs here is something I do every day. It is most interesting and not difficult at all to ride in a taxi and not pay attention to how he is driving - well, ok, most of the time.

I can just read the signs and try to make sense of the meanings...

Singapore Memory Project