Summer this year is not that bad as the Bostonians had predicted earlier. It is hot and humid on some days, but the previous years the summers were hot and humid too. The first day of summer this year the temp. was 97, the next day the mercury climbed a little higher to 99 and on the third and fourth day it slipped two notches down.
The interesting part I discovered was, almost everyone that I talked to-strangers on the subway, in the line at supermarkets or at the bank, friends, and colleagues at work, they weren't apprehensive at all. The way they talked about it reminded me of the excitement we had when we were children. Remember how excited we were the night before family trip? That kind of excitement that I am talking about.
Bostonians love to talk about our unpredictable weather. Come winter, spring, summer and fal, there is always interesting topic to talk, complain, whine and bitch about. This is the part that intrigues me because we never get tired of talking about weather.
I was laughing hysterically the other day while skyping with my adorable three year old grandnephew, D'Haikal. He's a tad chatterbox sometimes. I asked him what he did earlier. He said he just had dinner with MakTok.
"I had rice chicken soup egg and vegetables you rode a plane I saw you rode a plane Mama went to work MakTok wants to talk with you itusajelah (that's all) byebye muahmuah." (without a pause)
Her removed the earphone, placed it near the computer and walked away. From my sofa in Boston I could see him picked up his bottle, and got himself comfortable on the redcouch. A few minutes later, Kakngah (his MakTok) came out from the kitchen to continue our chat, I was still laughing until my stomach hurt.
Prisca and I were laughing hysterically when she said, "If you said sensuous one more time, I'm going to beat you up,"
"With what?" I responded. Immediately I saw the scene where she was beating me up, and I started to laugh before I said the word, "with a toothpick?"
It all started when I told her that I included squash blossoms under the same category as pomegranates and figs-Sensuous.
"Alamak, tolonglah kak, you and sensuous." She rolled her eyes. A smiled dipped at the corner of her mouth.
"Really. I can't explain it. And........" I pushed aside the paper towel on the counter, and moved a pile of books aside. My eyes combed every inch of the kitchen counter that also serves as dining table.
"What are you looking for?" She picked another slice of sourdough bread french toast and dropped it in my plate.
"Toothpick dispenser. Because I have another food that I think is very sensuous." I waited until she bit her french toast and I launched another sensuous food campaign.
"Zucchini blossom. You know what will I do when I get my hands on them? I'll make a zucchini blossom omelet. Once you have my zucchini blossom omelet, you'll declare war on all other omelets.
For the past three months I've been having brunch on every other Sunday with Prisca at her place or we took a train to Brookline and had breakfast at Zaftig.
I could say I have plenty of times on my hands since I'm not working full time since April, but I've been been enjoying the spring/summer this year like I never did before. I'm no longer stress out which I couldn't avoid it no matter how long a deep breath I took (until my face turned blue) when I was still at the agency. I missed the work that I did, but I didn't miss the place though.
Putting aside the negative environment at the facility, the experience that I gained from the agency is priceless. I've become a better person than I was before I joined the agency.
I met Nor in person in May four years ago when she was with Malaysian delegate during the Biotech Conference in the city. We didn't have a chance to get together except to say hello and a brief chat during the dinner.
At the end of January I received her email saying that she would be in U.S and would like to see me again. I haven't been to her blog nor have I've updated mine for a while. I had no idea the what she's up to until she was sitting on the sofa in my living room while I was preparing quick dinner yesterday evening.
This brave woman is on her way around the world trip. I wasn't surprised when she told me about her trip. Being a journalist is already set her apart-in a very, very wonderful way. Anyho, I decided to take a few days off from work on the days she would be here. I planned to take her to places and neighborhoods that are not in 'what to do/where to go when you are in Boston brochure.
But mother nature has a better plan for us. Nor tmed me from NYC on Sunday evening the time of her arrival in Boston. When I woke up on Monday morning and looked outside my bedroom window I knew my plan would fall apart. It had been raining since early Monday morning. The mega bus was late but there she was with her backpack and everything. Her hair was longer than the last time I saw her but her dazzling smile remained the same.
We took a redline and switched to B Green line train. The rain was pouring when we got off the traiun on Harvard Avenue stop. After about 20 minutes walked under gray sky wicked wind with one umbrella we found the Farnsworth Hotel. Nor put away her backpack, changed her clothes and we went back to my apartment.
While waiting the eggs fritata in the oven Nor told me about her trip : Asia, North America, South America, Europe and her last stop would be Cape Town to watch a final World Cup.
All the plans dissolved and carried away with pouring rain, but we have a wonderful time. The next day Nor and I had breakfast at Fiinagle Bagel. Later we walked up to Border Book Cafe and we talked some more until about 2:00 p.m. The rain didn't stop at all.
Punyalah hujan sampai tak celik mata, my mother used to say.
Yesterday, Nor mentioned that she was craving for char koay teow. Ahaaa. CKT is my favorite too. So char koay teow we had for lunch at Penang Restaurant in Chinatown.
Once in a while we have WTF moment. In my case it is not once but perhaps multiple times in a while. I was crossing the parking lot at South Bay Mall when I heard the sound of geese in the sky above my head. As I looked up my hand reached to my camera. Without moving my eyes from their perfect V formation I clicked the On button and brought up the camera to my eye level. I knew right away the battery was sitting pretty at the charger at home.
I knew if I moved my eyes from them even one second, I would've missed the grace and the beuty of these amazing birds. I quickly counted them when they were still in V formation . 17 all of them. And I guess this is the part when people say things happen with reasons and all that crap.
When the leader goose gracefully fell back from the front, the goose from the way back moved forward and took up the pilot position. It was an amazing experience to watch them in action. I didn't know where they were heading to, but I think by the time they reached their destination, every one of the geese had an opportunity to lead the pack. I almost forgot that I was standing in the middle parking lot (not that I was parking my car since I have none) in an ass freezing temperature.
I found a few articles that offered very insightul points about them geese : a leadership, teamwork, loyalty, intelligence. Tammay Vora wrote an excellent piece about lesson from geese.
I'm so in love with my new red satin slippers. I have a few slippers before but they never lasted more than a week. By the second week I found one side under the sofa and the side under the bed collecting dust. Sometimes I never found them again. But this one, they still sit pretty, side by side at the end of my bed when I wake up in the morning. Long live my red satin slippers.
And for the past few days, when the wind howling outside, I slather my feet with lotion, snuggle my feet in mypretty red satin slipper, and dive under the comforter.
I think most people who work in human service and/or social work provider are familiar with these skills:
Social Perceptiveness--Being aware with clients' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active listening--Giving full attention to what clients or other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking-- Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Problem Sensitive--The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Self Control--Maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance --Accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Like any other jobs, the skills above are just the scratches on the surface. There are more which I learn on daily basis either from my mistakes/observation, from clients and from supervisors/co-workers. On top that, working at inpatient treatment facility for substance dependency, we're constantly hammered at every trainings/workshops/supervisions about the,
1-Knowledge of principals, method and procedure for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions. 2-Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interest and learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders. 3-Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins. 4-Knowledge and respect of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture and......
a lot more which I'm planning to write in future.
I pretty much picked up everything along the way after a few times I fell flat on my face, on my ass and on my sides once I learned to put aside my personal judgmental except two things:
Self control and stress tolerance.
I learned that maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively in high stress situation were the most challenging act I had to master.
Discarded my personal judgmental wasn't as hard as taming my ego. It has been a constant reminder to myself, continuous effort on my side that I will rut and stagnant at the same spiritual level if I let my ego rules me.
Working at inpatient treatment facility means I am surrounded by different residents at all times. They watch every move I make, every word I say, my face expressions and my body language.
We were at 4th of July Boston Pops dress rehearsal earlier. We watched the concert at City Hall for about an hour and walked up to Hatch Shell to watch the rehearsal. The place was already packed.
Hat off to Ginny. She's excellent at squeezing ourselves in between the pack to get a good spot even the closest we could get was about 250 meters away from the stage.
When Neil Diamond came out on the stage for a second time and sang Sweet Caroline, the crowd went wild .
I remember when was working at an assembly line at NS (National Semiconductor) between 1976-1978, they had a piped in music on all the production floors. The music/songs were on 24 hours. We heard Neil Diamond, Al Green,Credence Clearwater Revival, Kool & The Gang, The Styx, Donna Summer, John Lennon, Neil Sedaka, Paul Anka, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Black Sabbath, The Temptations, Santana, Earth, Wind dnd Fire, Granfunk Railroad,Elton John, Commodores, Led Zeppelin, Jackson 5, Fleetwood Mac,Bee Gees, Three Dogs Night, Queens, Chicago, The Eagles, Bob Marley and a bunch of other top performers over and over until we memorized the lyrics.
The management didn't put any local songs , (Malay, Chinese or Indian songs) except for Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deevali, and it was fine with all of us. Nobody complained about it.
I wonder where they are now? Rani, Swee Tin, Phaik Ngoh, Surinder Singh, Alice Chua, Kak Laila, Janet (the line leader) and a lot more colorful and fine group of girls to work with.