Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Singapore

One of the things I definitely wanted to do in Singapore was see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery. You may have heard (or seen?) her famous pumpkin statues or perhaps heard of her fondness for dots.

We went early on a weekday and it was nice to be able to spend time wandering around the strangeness of her mind.

Pumpkins. Dots. Mirrors.

My 4yo saw this and immediately ran and hugged it. Of course he wasn’t supposed to touch it… oops

 

 

More mirrors!

Loved this one. It’s a box with a few different holes for visitors to peer into and watch this infinity light show. The colours of the lights keep changing.

This was one of the free exhibits – it’s her Obliteration Room. Visitors can buy colourful stickers (we bought the kids activity pack which came with a sticker pack each) and stick them anywhere in the room.

The kids of course adored this. I would have loved to see it at the beginning of the exhibition, when everything was white, and compare it to when we were there, when it was already covered with stickers.

The same exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum has a fun time-lapse video!

Back from Singapore

It has been four days since we arrived back in California. And finally there was some semblance of sleep last night. I gave up and slept with the 4yo in his single bed (my neck! my back! – luckily I am a back sleeper who doesn’t move much, but still I was wedged between a small being and the wall). And finally, he slept. He did get up before midnight, and he did get up when I got up to put the blanket on his big brother who had sneezed. He did stir and ask “is it morning time?” when I tried to adjust my sleeping position around 4 something. But at least today, at least there was sleep. There was not the wide-awake from 2 something to 4 something that I had been for the past few nights, woken perhaps by my own un-reset body clock, or perhaps from the boys talking in their room.

There is adjustment to be made. There is routine to get back to. There is the quiet quiet quiet of the night to return to again. No more whirr of the AC going full blast. Far less traffic noise. No more mynahs screeching outside in the morning. No more wrapped-in-your-own-personal-sauna heat-and-humidity the moment the door opens.

There is just me and the kids for almost the whole day until the husband gets back (he leaves the house before 630am). And it has been especially hard when the 4yo starts crying for his grandparents. Luckily he has been great at returning to preschool. There are meals to cook. There are dishes to wash. There are chores to do. But there are also sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. There are wonderful seasonal fruits at the farmers market. There will be hikes to walk. A recital to attend. And time to just sit back and enjoy the last few weeks of summer holiday.

There will be more blog posts to write. But for now, I am just trying to adjust.

TLC Book Tours: The Lost Ones

With so many thrillers/crime novels out there, it seems to be getting more difficult to create a unique protagonist, a different storyline.

But I must say that The Lost Ones opens with an intriguing premise. An early morning phone call. A meeting with some strangers at a cafe. Nora Watts, cautious, suspicious, because of her line of work and her own experience.

A married couple meets her to tell her their daughter is missing.

That Nora's daughter is missing.

The child she gave up for adoption as a newborn 15 years ago has disappeared. The police define her as a chronic runaway and can't be bothered. Her adoptive parents reach out to Nora as a last hope.

And Nora is suited for this kind of thing. She works as a receptionist/researcher for a private investigator. She has an ability to tell when people are lying – which obviously helps her in her line of work.

She also has a painful and violent experience in the past which has contributed to her inability to trust anyone – not her employees nor her sponsor – with the whole truth.

Nora at first is reluctant to be involved with this case – it digs up too much of her past. But she soon realizes that she's not the only one looking for Bonnie.

Nora is quite a character. She's got skeletons in the closet – perhaps more like demons than skeletons – and she's tough. She's the kind of person who doesn't give a damn what you think of her. She steals from a woman who is only just being kind to her. She's cold towards almost everyone except her beloved dog. And surprisingly – although on hindsight, maybe it's not surprising – violent.

And Kamal's Vancouver setting reflects that too. I've never been to Vancouver but have always thought of it as a picturesque, very wet city. So Nora's far more gritty and dirty version of Vancouver is intriguing, and completely apt.

The story is rather convoluted – perhaps a little too hard to believe at times – but it offers a rather exciting and thrilling read if you can suspend belief for a bit and sink into it. And that I did, and it was for an invigorating read, filled with all the grey and damp of Vancouver. It made me long to read this in chillier temps, snuggled under a comforter with a steaming hot cup of tea.

Strangely it is titled "Eyes Like Mine" in the UK.

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Check out the other tour stops here.

Pick up a copy from: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with the author:Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

It’s Monday and we went hiking again!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

The kids always ask on Saturday mornings: “are we going hiking today?”

So yes, we did.

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

Chemistry – Weike Wang

 

The Lost Ones – Sheena Kamal

 

 

Watching:

The same – Bones and Gossip Girl. Although we just watched the first episode of the new season of Sherlock Holmes too.

 

Eating:


Just had pancakes for breakfast

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Browsing:

The Millions’ most anticipated book preview (second-half of 2017) 

Review of Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave (Beth Fish Reads)

Review of Epic Crush by Genie Lo (Huntress of Diverse Books)

Review of Joyride to Jupiter by Nuala O’Connor (746 Books)

Last week:

I read:


Batgirl Vol 4: Wanted – Gail Simone (Writer), Fernando Pasarín (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator)
Silk – Alessandro Baricco

Master Keaton Vol 4 – Naoki Urasawa
 

Exit West – Mohsin Hamid

 

5 things this week

  1. The 6yo is practicing two songs for his piano recital in August. He’s very excited!
  2. He also attended a Mad Science summer camp and among the things they made is chalk, slime, a bouncy ball, and they’re growing crystals
  3. I can’t figure out if it’s easier to have the older boy in a full-day camp (i.e. 9 to 3) or half-day (usually 9-12). The 4yo attends half-day preschool so he finishes at noon. When his brother is around, the two of them are happy to play together – most of the time. But the 4yo doesn’t really enjoy playing by himself so he will always ask me to play with him and that really is quite exhausting!
  4. I have been reading books, but you really wouldn’t know it by the state of this blog.
  5. Something new is that I’m learning to crochet. I always lumped crochet into the “things grannies do” box but there is something kinda fun and fascinating about creating these pieces. Ironically perhaps (or not) I am working on a granny square blanket. I tend to be a rather fidgety person and a bit of a phone addict so working on this while helping the kids with piano/homework or while I’m listening to an audiobook or watching a show with the husband has helped me look at my phone less, keeps my fingers busy. And it’s kinda fun too.

It’s Monday and I’m getting old

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

Well, sort of behaving


It’s my birthday tomorrow and so my three guys took me out to a rare dinner out on Saturday. We ate super early at 530 but it was nice to sit with my family and enjoy some Italian food. And best of all, the kids were well behaved and they enjoyed their dinner out too. The husband had also ordered me a sinfully rich chocolate cake from a bakery not too far from the restaurant.

On Sunday, we met some good friends and their kids for a picnic in the park. Everyone had a great time. It was a warm sunny weekend but the picnic area is up on a hill and caught some nice breeze so it was very pleasant. The kids all ran around the two playgrounds, tired themselves out and fell asleep easily after bathtime!

 

And the books I bought at the recent Book Outlet sale finally arrived!

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

 

Watching:

I’m kinda switching back and forth between Gossip Girl and Bones. Because you just don’t want to be watching Bones while eating lunch.

Listening:

Nothing at the moment. Recently finished Dear Mr You and haven’t downloaded a new audiobook yet although I recently got some great recs on Litsy.

 

Eating:

I had a slice of ciabatta and a tiny slice of chocolate cake. I emphasize the tiny because really, all that is manageable is a tiny slice. It is SO rich.

Drinking:

PG Tips with milk.

Cooking:

I am trying to figure out what to do with stew meat (beef) other than you know, beef stew. I would do a rendang  but my kids can’t eat spicy. I may try using this cut of beef to do a slow cooker version of stroganoff (which perhaps may defeat the purpose of doing a stroganoff? But maybe it’s worth a try)

The 6yo is in a full-day science camp this week (9-3) so I have to pack him lunch! Yesterday I made some ‘Hot Pocket’-like pastries, filled with salami/ham and cheese and some pizza sauce. So will pop one in his lunch bag later. And maybe a sandwich tomorrow, quesadilla another day. It’s good practice for when the school year starts and I have to actually pack him lunch!

 

Last week:

I read:

 

 

 

TLC Book Tours: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I’m so glad I didn’t read the blurb on the cover of this book before I decided to join the tour. It reads:

“A powerful, richly realized journey… Captain Kidd belongs in the pantheon of great Western characters along with True Grit‘s Rooster Coburn and Lonesome Dove‘s Gus and Call.”

Except for the first five words in that quote, this would have put me off entirely. I am not a reader of Westerns. Nor a viewer, TV or movie-wise. In fact, while I am happy to wander into most shelves of the library, like SF, fantasy, graphic novels, non-fiction, YA, mystery, there is one aisle that I have never walked into, and that is ‘Westerns’.

So why did I pick up this book? The strength of Paulette Jiles’ name. I haven’t read her books but I’ve seen her books around and have heard plenty of good reviews.

This book is set in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Captain Kidd is a news reader – that is, he moves from town to town, reading out loud from newspapers, charging a fee of course. He’s a widower, aged 71, and fought in two wars.

At a reading in Wichita Falls, he is offered fifty dollars in gold to take a young girl back to her relatives in San Antonio, it is a three-week journey one-way. Johanna is no ordinary ten-year-old girl. When she was six, she was kidnapped by Kiowa raiders, who killed her parents and sister, and raised her as one of their own. She was recently ‘rescued’ by the US Army, and the Kiowa had begun to realize that having a white captive made life more difficult for them – so they traded her in for blankets and silver dinnerware.

“What was it that made the girl so strange? She had none of the gestures or expressions of white people. White people’s faces were mobile and open. They were unguarded. They flung their hands about, they slanted and leaned on things, tossed their heads and their hats. Her faultless silence made her seem strangely not present. She had the carriage of every Indian he had ever seen and there was a sort of kinetic stillness about them and yet she was a ten-year-old girl with dark blond hair in streaks and blue eyes and freckles.”

It’s not an easy job, for Johanna is like no girl Captain Kidd knows – she speaks no English, doesn’t wear shoes, doesn’t know how to use utensils etc. It’s also a dangerous road out there, one that the two of them will have to  travel along for three weeks. But you know that in a story like this a bond will form, strange as it may seem, between a young girl who thinks herself Kiowa and an old man who reads newspapers to make money.

“Torn from her parents, adopted by a strange culture, given new parents, then sold for a few blankets and some old silverware, now sent to stranger after stranger, crushed into peculiar clothing, surrounded by people of an unknown language and an unknown culture, only ten years old, and now she could not even eat her food without having to use outlandish instruments.”

News of the World offered such insights into life in Texas after the American Civil War. I love all the research that went into this book – it was especially intriguing to learn of how these child captives barely readjusted to life with their non-native families and how they wished to return to their adoptive families. Jiles writes such detailed settings and authentic characters – both major and minor. Her background as a poet shines through with her evocative prose. A moving, memorable read that has made me reconsider this genre of the Old West. Maybe I will wander in the ‘Western’ aisle one day!

 

 

 

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of LightningLighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Find out more about Paulette at her website.

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Check out the rest of the tour stops

You can purchase a copy of the book here:  HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble