To the person who called me Madam


Yes, you did tick me off. I picked up your call on a sunny morning and when I heard you call me “Madam So-and-So”, the skies turned grey outside! I don’t like being called Madam. I may be okay with Ma’am, or maybe not but Madam is a definite no!

I don’t like the sound of it. It gives me da goosebumps and makes me go, who? me? madam? It’s archaic, antiquated, like aged paint peeling off the walls. It conjures images of a huge woman standing over the stove, wooden spoon in hand, ready to smack some poor kid. That’s not me. I can’t see myself.

I know you’re trying to be polite and all, being that you’re trying to sell me something. I get that. But you could’ve asked, “How should I address you?” and we could’ve happily sorted it all out right there.

I mean, come on, Madam? Seriously? In this day and age? Take a look outside your window (if you have one). Hell-llo?!! It’s the 21st century. You can’t go around calling people Madam. Ask around, there’s many ladies like me out there, I’m sure!

Through the roof of the bus stop

Through the roof of the bus stop

Have you ever been bored? As in bored out of your wits? As in waiting for the bus that’s taking its own sweet time? So what do you do? What, you would look straight down at your smartphone? Yeah, I knew that.

I’m not used to waiting for buses. I get all fidgety and impatient. What’s there left to do but snap aimlessly through the roof of the bus stop, of course!


Cloud formations are a gazillion times more interesting than that stuff they post on FB. I love how the beam separates the dark clouds on one side and the sun is shining through the trees on the other.


Doncha just love how the sun is trying to break through and the clouds are saying “get lost”? I love cloudy days, what can I say?


Bus rides – the good, the funny, the forgettable

Bus rides - the good, the funny, the forgettable

It’s hard getting used to the fact that I don’t have a car right now *bawls*. So the bus it is, if I’m to go a little further than where my legs would take me. Riding bus is never without its drama though. For me, at least.


Imagine me stepping into the bus, saying hi to the driver only to be greeted with silence, or a disgruntled hmmph, who then proceeds to hit the accelerator, sending me hurtling forwards, bag and umbrella flying – before I can grab on to the rail. That’s me straight out of an action comedy! Oh well!

So I find a seat and bump along and I’m recalling my teen years when I had to take 2 buses daily to get to and from college. In the absence of queues, and courtesy in the third world, or bus doors even, I literally had to fight to get on the bus. Not that I was ever very good at shoving and elbowing which explains why I would often end up being one of the last few to get on… if I can even call it that. To this day, I swear I still have PTSD from hanging out of moving door-less buses and being pasted against the windscreen of the bus. Not funny!

Then there was that time adventurous lil me hopped on a bus in Australia to go check out the Queen Victoria mall in Sydney. This was before the days of GPS and smartphones. I asked the bus driver where I should get off and he wasn’t very helpful. Maybe he was having a bad day. I tried asking some of the passengers and they were all having a bad day. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

Then there’s the story of my first bus ride in California. I was new in town and didn’t know my way around. One day, I took a bus to the university to settle some admin stuff. On the way back, I watched helplessly as the bus sped past my stop before I could ring the bell. I panicked and stumbled to the front of the bus to tell the bus driver that I’d missed my stop. I’m not sure what I expected him to do except maybe to let me off at the next stop.

But you know what? Instead he told me to sit back down, then he turned around and announced to everyone on the bus that he was going to circle back so he could drop me off at my exact stop. An even bigger surprise was that everyone on the bus was okay with it too! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. The whole bus took a turn back just for me. H*ll yeah! Talk about the kindest bus driver ever, and such an agreeable lot of passengers too, bless them.

So these are some of my bus stories, the good, the funny and the forgettable. They’re always fun to tell. Do you have a bus story to share?

The day we had to wash the dishes

The day we had to wash the dishes

… well, almost. It’s happened before. I couldn’t believe it was happening again. It felt like deja vue.

So we decided to do fish and chips again for lunch. It’s the place where we practically have a table with our name on it. The entrance is by the open kitchen and when the chef sees us coming in, he always gives us double the order at NO extra charge.

The weather was gorgeous (isn’t it always?), just perfect for my short walk out to meet the kids. The girls were coming from college, and my son was joining us after his workout at the gym. We order 2-piece cod dinners and the chef sends us each 4 pieces of cod, as always. I kid you not! #wonthappeninthethirdworld


What started out as a wonderful lunch of chitchat and laughter became a heart-stopper when it came time to call for the check. My daughter looked in her wallet and declared she’d left her cards at home. Oh well, no problem, my son should have his, right? Wrong. I don’t usually bring my wallet to the gym, he declared. My youngest didn’t have her wallet on her either. Now all eyes were on me. I’d happily skipped out of the house empty-handed on the assumption that at least someone would have money.

Just great! I could see us crammed into that tiny kitchen, sleeves rolled up and elbow-deep in greasy dishes, working off our 4 pieces of cod. What a laugh!

Oh wait, says my daughter eyeing the notes in her wallet. Okay, I’ve got 40 bucks here… no, wait, it’s 30, not 40. How about coins? we chimed, count the coins quick!

She shook every last penny from her wallet and I tossed in the few coins from my pocket which amounted to a grand total of 4 dollars and some cents. We bit our nails as she laid them all out on the table and counted, and recounted… and we were out by oh, just a teeny bit only something like 15 bucks! 😯

We eat there often enough to know the bill would come to around $50. Uh-oh, we’re going to have to wash dishes, Mom!! someone burst out. Yup, either that or some of us would have to go home for the money. Good thing it’s only a 15-minute walk home and it wasn’t raining that day. We were saved!

Yeah, the Leave-our-wallets-at-home Syndrome has struck again! One of these days, we might just end up washing dishes 😆 . So tell me, has this ever happened to you?

The fry guy


And so it would seem we can find humor in the oddest of circumstances. I’m standing at Customer Service of our local mall waiting for someone to sort through the usual administrative inconveniences imposed by broken systems that don’t do what they’re supposed to do.

Being at loose ends, I start paying attention to the folks dancing up to the desk with their inquiries about oh, the usual. First a guy asking where’s X (a restaurant)? Then a gaggle of young women approach with a similar question, where’s Z (another restaurant). Food sure seems to be on everyone’s mind today. Or is it that everyone’s from out of town?

Mr Customer Service reckons the women are referring to a Japanese eatery by the name of Z. But apparently they’re looking for some sort of place that ‘serves cake’, or so says the young lady.

At any rate, Mr CS is a busy guy and frankly who has time to argue on the busiest weekend before Christmas? So he sends them merrily on their way to said Japanese joint… at which point, I turn to HipebDaughter1 and mumble something about frying eggs. Mr CS catches my last two words and looks quizzically at me. Oh nothing, I replied, not that interested in explaining to him what I just said.

But somehow we made eye contact again and he took that as a sign to pick up our little conversation.

He: Z is where they serve a cracked egg over rice in a bento box, right?

Me: I think they’re referring to one where they serve omelets with bacon and toast.

He: (puzzled look)

Me: Many people like to pay an arm and a leg to have someone fry up their eggs and serve it to them with toast and coffee.

He: (laughing out loud) I think I can easily fry the eggs myself at home!

Me: Exactly 😉 .

Now there’s a guy after my own heart 😆 .

Yo in my space, bro!


Yesterday, on Hodgepodge, when I was ranting about intrusions on personal space, I was thinking about this…

We went to the mall two days in a row last week. Entirely too much for me. It wouldn’t be if not for the people who have made the mall more and more of a turnoff for me. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a shopaholic. Shopping is my thing.

I’m known to shop from opening time right through to closing time. When I’m shopping, I waste no time, I’m on a mission, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it. Go, go, go! But things are different now. Not that I’ve lost my zest for shopping, not at all, but that I hate having my personal space invaded even more.

Case in point, I was browsing some skincare items while my pretties were trying on some nail polish. Along comes a store assistant to ask if he can help, and usually when I smile and mumble “just browsing”, I actually mean, LEAVE ME ALONE!! But no! He sticks to me like stale peanut butter, introducing stuff, explaining discounts, suggesting items that don’t interest me.

I have nothing against pretty boys and that eyeliner looks great on you, by the way, I just don’t like people standing too close to me, no hard feelings!! The fact that I’m merely nodding and sound like I’m choking, not making eye contact (there is no room for me to turn my head) and inching noticeably in the opposite direction should be a big HUGE hint that you’re in MY space, dude. But some people just don’t get it!

Yup, people who have no concept of personal space annoy the heck out of me. Stop standing so close to me, you’re breathing into my hair, spitting on my food, rubbing against my arm. Ew, ew and ew! Oh, and one more thing, if the elevator beeps, it means it’s full, no point squeezing in and standing on my toes! There, I’ve said it. Do I make myself clear? 🙄

You know, sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. I should be packing up my stuff and moving to an island in the middle of nowhere.

Flurry in a no-fly zone


As I’m writing this post, Steev and Raine are in the bathroom battling a fly that had somehow gotten in. I’m hearing animated shouts of “Okay, okay, I see it! It’s here! Oh no, it’s gone. Can you see it? No, can you? Oh, oh, there, there it is! Shhh, wait, where’d it go? Here , see it? No, where? Okay, don’t move, I think it can sense you!”

Hilarious if you’re not the one in there. Frustrating if you are.

This is the second fly episode we’ve had this week. The weather is hot, no doubt but the windows in the apartment are all screened so we really have no idea how errant flies get in.

Knowing us and how much we hate flies (and insects, in general), there’s just no way we can have a fly in the house and not do anything about it. We don’t own any fly swats or zappers but Steev has insect stickers here and there to trap the pesky creatures. Still! We don’t usually set out to kill any of these insects but on occasion, the inevitable does happen.

In fact, in Fly Episode No. 1, we successfully got not 1, but 2 flies to leave gracefully via the window after a whole lot of waving, shooing and dancing around the living room on our part.

In Fly Episode No. 2, however, because the fly was trapped in the confines of the bathroom, there’s limited space to wave and jump around. It was unfortunate the fly got smacked in the process. But at least, we can all rest easy tonight knowing we won’t be sharing the bathroom with an uninvited guest.

An uphill climb

An uphill climb

It’s an uphill climb. Literally. If you could see me, you’d agree I’m far from being the outdoorsy type. If I didn’t hate the sun so much and mosquitoes didn’t love me so much, I might be persuaded to hit the outdoors more than once a decade. But with this love-hate relationship, it’s best I stay indoors.

Okay, so this may not even be about me and the great outdoors. I just don’t like walking as an exercise, period. You will rarely ever see me on the treadmill at the gym. Anything more than 5 minutes and I’m biting my nails and climbing the walls. Yaa-aa-wn! I know, those of you who hog the treadmill for hours are shaking your heads.

So my friend is this ardent walker who treks up the hill every weekend. Said hill is like the holy grail to city folks around here who religiously make the pilgrimage every chance they get. It’s a punishing 5K of steeps and dips, not for the faint of heart. For my dear friend, it’s a way to sweat away the guilt of big meals and carefree eating. I see it as an unnecessary torture.

hill (image credit:

The first time I trekked this hill was more than a decade ago when Steev was just a little kid. I barely made it that time. At the steepest incline, I was huffing and puffing, the earth was spinning and birds were chirping in rings over the top of my head. Steev, my little trooper, hurried to push me from behind to stop me rolling unceremoniously back down the hill like a sack of potatoes. I laugh about it now but that’s how unfit I was. Needless to say, I’ve not gone back since.

Fast forward to this weekend. I finally relented, if nothing else, to see if I can make it uphill without Steev, or the anticipated 6 teams of horses. The track is exactly as I remember it. Still swarming with pilgrims. Still as unforgiving as ever. Only this time, I made it to the top without bringing down the 3 little pigs’ house. That’s got to be good, right? 😉

Still it doesn’t change my mind about walking. Not only do I find walking incredibly boring, it’s a totally ineffective exercise as far as I’m concerned. In other words, an absolute waste of a perfectly good Sunday evening. So is walking your thing or do you agree with me? You can be honest here. Either way, I will still love you 😉 .

Overheard at Subway

Overheard at Subway

Lady with 2 young kids: Can I have the chicken, tomato, oh and… the Mexican please?

Wow, really?


Breaking up is hard to do


So I get this text message from some guy saying he’s sending me a package.

This is major.

It comes with a picture too that I’m supposed to click to find out what it is.

Just as I was wondering recently if loving spicy food would make me a hot mama, it seems someone is indeed smitten with me and has a cute little surprise for me in the mail. Those last few fresh chillies I had for lunch must’ve done the trick.

I’m curious, of course, seeing that this text message is coming from a number I do not recognize and I’m almost tempted to click on the picture. But no!

So he gets really impatient and starts calling me… and calling me. And I’m not picking up. I know it’s him. I recognize his number from the text message.

Such a shame I don’t pick up calls from random numbers. Or click on random links.

My phone keeps ringing off the hook all through lunch. Can’t a girl have a bite to eat without her phone burning up??

Okay, this is driving me nuts.

I have to take his call.

“Hello, Caroline,” he starts in a dreamy voice. And when I say nothing beyond my initial hello, he continues, “Caroline?”

Oh my gosh, his voice alone is enough to melt a woman’s heart. Even a mom with 3 teens, bwahaha!


“Caroline, is that you?”

“I’m sorry but I don’t love you any more,” I say tearfully. “Please stop sending me stuff and don’t call me. I’m not in love with you any more!!”

The stunned silence on the other end of the line is earth-shattering.

At this point, Hip2bDaughters burst out laughing out loud right there in the middle of the mall.

“Mom!!??? OMG, the poor guy, you’ve scarred him for life! We don’t even know who he is!!”

“Probably some company checking up on a customer delivery. 😛 But someone had to put him out of his misery, right?!”

Okay, so sometimes my sense of humor does go into overdrive.

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