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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chasteberry Tree

The picture above was taken from here. It is a close-up of a cluster of leaves, flowers and berries from the chasteberry tree. The cultivar that is most often documented in medical herbalism is the vitex agnus castus, which grows in the Mediterranean. The cultivar that I have and is pictured above, is the vitex trifolia. There is one more cultivar called the vitex rotundifolia, which I am unfamiliar with.

I gave The Husband a rude shock 3 weeks ago when he caught me staring out our window in tears. Me, the optimistic and always happy one. I couldn't explain myself. I had absolutely no energy for anything and since the overwhelming fatigue prevented me from enjoying life... gardening, cooking, eating, writing, laughing, playing, talking... I felt like dying and thought it might be a nice relief from the intolerable state of vegetative living.

Needless to say, The Husband was MOST concerned. He left HIS hobbies alone to come and sit with me, hold me and chat with me. It helped. But only a little bit.

It turned out that I was simply severely anaemic and severely lacking in Vitamin B12... a result of a diet with insufficient animal fat, and monthly menstruation flow heavy enough to fatten up a few vampires at once. Meanwhile, I began to look like a wraith and behave like one. It was all a terribly ghoulish experience.

With the right vitamins and iron supplements, I began to feel alive again until 5 days ago when I began to experience the now familiar premenstrual tension. I become fat with water retention. The breasts become sore. The uterus becomes so engorged with blood that a hard lump develops at the pelvic region. The severe uterine cramping begins. And an overwhelming fatigue sets in because there is so little blood left to sustain the rest of my body. I feared that I was again to become a vampire's buffet.

I brewed myself a mug of chasteberry tea everyday for the past 5 days. I was not hopeful at all because much of the literature suggests that one would have to take this tea for a month at least to see any results. By day 2, the hard lump of the engorged uterus had softened considerably. By day 3, the uterine cramping had become far more gentle than I remembered in many many months. It had almost become normal for me to bear with a few days of almost-labour pains every month. When the menstruation began on day 4, I was amazed that I wasn't prostrate the whole day.

Instead, I was up and about hosting one party and then attending another. It was all nerve-wracking for The Husband who would have been much embarrassed by my absence from his side. I was still a little less than my usual energetic self, but at least I could function and look normal.

I am EVEN MORE amazed that the menstrual flow today is only 30% the normal volume. I am not a vampire's buffet this month. Maybe just a snack... With this, it will be easier to re-establish my haemoglobin levels and come back to the human world from wraithland.

This said, I have also been taking rose tea which is supposed to reduce internal haemorrhaging. So I don't really know which tea I have to thank for the light menstrual flow. I do know however that the sore breasts, water retention and extreme fatigue went almost away after 3 doses of chasteberry tea.

I will stop taking rose tea next month and see if chasteberry tea alone does reduce heavy menstruation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mr Donald

The Husband thought some fresh air would do me good so he took us cycling at Pasir Ris. But I tired before long, and stopped to rest.

Happily for me, a patch of bright yellow cosmos flowers pulled me by the eyes across a field, through a winding path... and into the most lovely edible garden I have yet seen in Singapore. You know when sometimes you watch movies... and the female star's eyes meet the male star's eyes and the pupils dilate and sparks fly? That was what happened between me and that patch of yellow cosmos flowers. The picture above, comes from here.

Right next to the yellow cosmos flowers were a patch of cosmos caudatus. It is a delicious herb possessing of strong anti-oxidants. They taste divine in salads tossed in honey mustard sauce. They add a little je-ne-sais-quoi to the dish. And the flowers dress up the garden too. The picture below comes from here.

I strolled through that garden humming contentedly to myself, picking and crushing leaves to smell. I didn't see people anymore. For me, there were only plant friends with divine fragrances and medicinal properties. I recognised many friends and acquaintances, and discovered new aspects of old plant friends. I didn't know that the sweet potato plant flowers!! Beautiful dusky pink flowers trailed over the trellis and flopped over like a curtain in front of me. So pretty!! The picture below comes from here.

And I saw the double-petaled blue pea. This bright blue flower was traditionally used to colour Peranakan dishes. I had somehow killed my plant earlier and so I excitedly collected the seed pods.

Then, after I had said hello to all the plant friends I knew, my enchantment lifted, and I saw Mr Donald. As it turns out, he had been watching me for some time, wondering if I was up to no good in his beloved garden. People enter there as they wish, and Mr Donald had had his precious plants destroyed and stolen before.

I have not met many men like Mr Donald. He was very properly dressed for a gardener, I thought. Petunia runs around in shorts and t-shirts... so of course she gardens in such togs. Most of Petunia's gardening friends garden that way too... and one person even wears a towel to inspect her lavenders!!

But Mr Donald had on a short-sleeved office shirt and long pants. His back was ram rod straight, and he had the manners of an old British gentleman. He offered to walk me around his beloved garden... and for 30 minutes, I felt like a lady in a Jane Austen novel escorted by a stately personnage of great dignity.

I don't normally give strange men my phone number and my address but when Mr Donald proposed to send me the seeds of the impatiens balsamina I hesitated not at all. I received the seeds today. Purple balsam and red balsam...

Thank you Mr Donald.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Me, Milo and His Bone

Ever since Milo learnt not to dig holes in pots, he has had to hide his bone in very odd places. Behind the piano. Under the ottoman. At the back of a curio shelf. Under the TV rack. Behind a vase.

A few days ago, he kept bringing his bone and placing it on the sofa beside me. I am not sure what he means by it. Once, I kicked it back onto the floor only to have him look long and reproachfully at me. He then picked it up to put it behind the curio shelf. I guessed by that that he had wanted to give me a gift, and I was amused.

But now I'm not too sure.

He has just brought me his bone again and since it is rude to reject a sincere and whole hearted gift, I took the bone, said "thank you" nicely and gave him a kiss on his snout. Encouraged, he proceeded to nuzzle at my thigh, and as I moved my thigh away from his wet nose, he deposited his bone under it.

So now, I am sitting on his bone... somewhat...

Is it given to me for safe-keeping? Am I now Guardian of Dog Bone? Or is it a gift? What do you guys think?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rosemary Tea and Digestion

It's been so many years since antibiotics have been discovered. Many of us who are susceptible to throat infections have been prescribed antibiotics, and we have gotten well.

What is less well known, is that these antibiotics upset the balance of microflora and fauna in our intestines. The result of that is yeast infections. A rampant yeast overgrowth in the intestines releases toxins that mak a person feel tired all the time... and gas is produced so flatulence is a problem.

Someone I know was prescribed a common antibiotic for a toenail infection. After one dose, she began to feel bloated. I made an infusion with my store of Herbes de Provence and a few sprigs of rosemary. You can find Herbes de Provence on the spice rack in Cold Storage. It is normally used to season stews and meats in French cooking but I noted that it has proportions of rosemary, thyme and oregano (and others...) which all possess anti-bacterial &/or anti-fungal properties. I added fresh rosemary to the infusion to strengthen its anti-fungal properties.

I gave my friend a Yakult to drink, followed by this tea and within an hour, she felt much better. Instead of bloated, she was hungry. So I suppose the infusion was effective in killing the yeast overgrowth and the Yakult provided beneficial gut bacteria so that her intestines regained their microflora and fauna balance again.

Roses Red as Blood

I've never liked roses. A nationally acclaimed rose garden that covered a few acres of land bloomed right next to The Husband's college. In spring, roses the size of my hand bloomed with ostentation on every bush in every possible colour. I walked often in that garden but never really examined the roses in detail.

Rather, it was the spring sunshine and cool breezes that drew me. Often, I would find a sunny spot on a bench to curl up with a book, or some study notes. After 3 months of winter, the sun lifts the spirits remarkably.

Knowing what I now know, I should have smelt the roses too.

When I started a garden, roses were depressing to grow. They were susceptible to spider mites and fungal attacks. And no matter how hard I tried, I was lucky to get blooms the size of my fingernail. And then, my roses died. Always! I decided that roses had too high maintenance personalities and stopped growing them together. I mistakenly thought that they were all beauty and no substance. A woman with no other charms but her looks. I only used their petals to decorate desserts.

But my gorgeous new book of herbs tells me that roses are great for lifting the spirits, calming anxiety, settling the stomach and remedying heavy internal bleeding. Gee... I didn't know! The rose is a woman of substance too!!

It so happens that I have been losing a great deal of blood in the past 6 months. As each month passes, I have grown weaker, paler and more prone to fainting spells. So, I popped over to the stores to get dried roses to make rose tea. I don't know if it works yet. I shall have to observe what happens to my body.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Letting Go

It feels strange when a child goes into Junior College. From school uniform to school schedule, that child escapes the parent's oversight. It feels odd, though not unpleasant. After all, one feels less burdened.

I've often wondered how JC students wear their blouses such that it is still tucked into the skirt but the fold reaches around the hips. The uniform has not changed from the time I wore mine, and for the life of me, I could not figure out how I would have managed to wear my old school uniform so that the shirt hangs around the hips when tucked in. Besides, I wouldn't have wanted to because it offends my sense of aesthetics. The womanly waist line is a thing of beauty, why hide it instead of accentuate it?


Anyway, The Daughter breezes into the kitchen this morning with that impossible attire and for the first time, I got the inside story of how it's done. Shush! Don't tell anyone. It's not tucked in at all.... Nah uh! Not tucked in! It seems that some tailors make some clever modifications and voilà! The JC Hipster Look is ready to wear! And when it's on The Daughter, it looks like Paris designer fashion so I have nothing to say.

But it's really against the rules you know.... and I have always brought The Daughter up to obey the rules, and this flagrant flouting of school rules would have been a good excuse for some Prolonged Parental Pontification... except that it seemed inappropriate to inflict that on a young lady taller than I, who has developed poise, confidence and is able to freeze-stare down a 50 year old doctor who dared to treat her like a child by brushing off her questions. No, no... I wouldn't want to be The Daughter's daughter for that stare can chill one to the bones.

Of course, she doesn't dare to use it on me.

The Daughter makes it a point to give me a heads-up about exactly what time she will be home every day. She does that religiously without being reminded. I appreciate that because then I know when to call the police. You see, if she says she'll be home by 7 and isn't home yet by 9, then I call the police. But even with such a considerate daughter, I feel a sense of unease when I notice that she comes home late every day.

Nonetheless, I know that JC activities extend up to 10pm on many occasions, and all I can bring myself to say is "Yeah... JC life is like that. One practically lives at school. It is up to you to structure pockets of time for your homework and revisions."

I cannot say more than that because it would be too constraining. It would hamper her psychological maturation because she would have no opportunity to exercise self-discipline and good judgment. Sure... she may misjudge sometimes and get into trouble. Sure... there are dangers of venereal disease and emotional heartbreak. But that is the price to pay for the rites of passage into adulthood. You make mistakes and you learn.

For me, it is downhill from here. The day will come when I will rely on her, and she needs to grow in stature and in wisdom so that she can lead me gently into the twilight. I have done all I could to provide her with a moral compass and a strong sense of values. It is time to set her free with nothing but those and her own wits, to explore the world.

The old tribal societies were wise. They sent their teenagers out naked, with no weapons and if they perished, they perished. That way, the tribe ensured that the fittest survived and help the tribe to prosper.

But man! It takes a lotta nerve outta me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Little Boy Makes Money

Little Boy and 2 friends talked about the size of their bank accounts over recess. Little Boy realised that he is rather on the poor side compared to his friends. He decided to put a wrong situation right. In the car, he initiated a discussion that went somewhere... except that his very naive mother didn't know where until now when it is too late.

I rather think that I've been very properly had by my wily (but sotong looking) son who plays his cards without revealing his next move.

"Mom," he says, "I have a friend whose father puts $100/= in his bank account every month... and another friend whose father doesn't. The oddest thing is that the one who DOES NOT get $100/= a month, has a much bigger bank account than the one who does. I wonder why."

Cluelessly chatting away, I proffered a series of possibilities, the best of which was "He must have very rich relatives which give very big ang pows?" And to all my suggestions, Little Boy said

"Hmmm... yeah..."
"True... possible..."
"Yeah... could be..."

As we neared home, he gave up on his thick-headed mother and exclaimed, as if the thought had suddenly occurred to him "Aha! I know why! It's because the boy with more money gets to earn money by doing chores! His mom gives him 50c for sweeping the floor, 50c for washing the dishes and up to $6 if he cooks."

My car pulls into the lot and I switch off the engine. "Oh... do you want to sweep the floor for me? And what can you cook?"

And we spend the next 10 minutes going through the list of Money Earning Boy's chores and payments. And then Little Boy gets impatient with his mentally slow mother, but betrays none of that in what he says "Ummm... Mom, maybe I don't have to do what he does? Maybe I can do what is suitable for me and you?"

And so it is that Little Boy feeds Milo for 20c each time and washes the dinner dishes for 70c. Nonetheless, he found that wealth accumulation this way was rather slow. And last night, we discussed another idea.

With $10/= that he has earned from household chores, he will buy a hydroponics kit. He will then plant rocket salad leaves in those kits and his rich but somewhat-of-a-sucker mother will buy the whole harvest off him for $12/=. This way, he makes $2/= with the first harvest and $12/= with each subsequent harvest.

I fear that very soon, he is going to tell me that he quits his job as the official Milo Feeder and Dinner Dish Washer because it pays too little. We'll see.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Milo Drinks Herbal Tea

I haven't been well. So I made myself a herbal tea as a pick-me-up. As far as Milo is concerned, everything I put in my mouth is good enough for him. I once offered him an orange slice which he licked and then made a face. But after seeing me gorge myself with the rest of the orange slices, he gobbled up his own.

Same with mango.

Same with avocado.

Same with papaya.

Same with orange raisin muffins.

And the odd kai lan.

So today, I was sipping some herbal infusion (a rather fragrant pick-me-up comprising thyme, rosemary and oregano) whilst lounging on the floor. Milo came up and investigated the brew on my breath. He looked interested so I poured out a spoonful for him. He slurped it all up.

The whole family was very amused. Gee... we have a dog who likes herbal teas? No wonder he's such a good-natured doggie. He's vegetarian!! It is an acquired taste for doggies that only the connoisseur doggies can appreciate.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gay People

For a long time, I've been unsure of what to think when it comes to gay people. You see, gay people tend to be such nice people. They are gentle, sensitive, compassionate and so very very easy to talk to.

But My Bible tells me that homosexuality is a sin. My Bible also tells me to avoid sin... but does that mean I should avoid gay people? I really didn't know because some people would tell you to do so... but it is impossible to reject people who value your friendship and care what you think of them. It's mean... uncalled for and I could never do so.

But I was so torn.

And I'm not anymore. You see... if gay people sin, who doesn't? If I had to avoid all those people who sin, then I wouldn't be able to look me in the mirror in the morning... because I sin ALL THE TIME, no? And wouldn't that mean I would have to avoid The Husband too? And all those other sinners that I love and cherish?

I just realised therefore, that I am to avoid sin, not avoid people who sin. Now, The Bible does say that I am to flee temptation. If I put 2 and 2 together, this means that I should avoid/flee people that are apt to tempt me to sin. Now, if you think about it, there is absolutely no way a gay friend can tempt me to his sexual orientation because I am simply not built that way. Hence, there is no reason to deny myself the pleasure of their company.

Gay people are nice to hang around with because for once, you can interact with a man with your guard completely down. There is no way, he'll hit on you. There is no potential sexual tension to defuse. There is no need to hang back from hugging a gay man when you feel the occasion calls for it, and one can be openly affectionate and warm without the risk of being misconstrued.

Far better then, to avoid straight people who tempt me to anger... or to covetousness ...

Coffee Bean's Orange Raisin Muffin

Here is The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Orange Raisin Muffin - on the inside and the outside. Look at the number of raisins and orange confit bits!

It was goooooooood!

Maybe The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf should offer me some free muffins for all this publicity. Heh! Heh! $3.50 per muffin is hard on the pocket you know.

And I give up on BreadTalk!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Orange Raisin Muffin Protest Part II

Those people at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf were super cool. I was miffed enough that I emailed them the bloglink to an earlier post about the Orange Raisin Muffin. You may find it here.

After reading it, someone called "John" wrote me an absolutely gracious email apologising for having caused me distress. You may not agree but I do think it is distressing to have to face the prospect of never ever eating another one of those muffins. Besides, they gave me no warning at all! Before X'mas, the muffins were there and after X'mas, they were gone!! You would think that if a company wanted to retrench a food item, they would at least give advanced notice?

Anyway, Dear John offered to bake me any number of Orange Raisin Muffins I wanted at any time. Actually, I was hoping to fleece them of their recipe but I guess even if these people are nice, they're not idiots. So... no recipe for Petunia. Still, I am rather happy that they agreed to bake 10 orange raisin muffins just for me.

Orange raisin muffins are great for Chinese New Year because they look like gold ingots and of course, they have oranges in them and we all know oranges are all about Chinese New Year and vice versa. So voilà... I have something festive and special to serve my guests, and I can even tell them that they're to be found nowhere else in the world but in my house.

Now, might I add that those people at BreadTalk never responded to me. So, I guess I am left with just the memory of the Applewerm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Warm & Friendly JA

Occasionally, I am The Husband's live-in event organiser. In this capacity, I went to suss out The Club's facilities for a Chinese New Year event and I met up with a gentleman I shall call JA.

JA towers over me at 1.85m and when I look up at him, I see his nostrils because I am as short as he is tall. It has been some time (in fact, many years) since I last organised an activity at The Club and I was rather surprised by the warm reception JA gave me today.

You don't get such sincerely warm service in many places, and I certainly did not expect it from a Country Club. Firstly, Country Clubs have a captive audience and so dour-faced officers have little impact on bottom-line. Secondly, in country clubs, most people expect service staff to be servile... not companionable and warm. So, it was quite a change to have JA walk beside me chatting companionably, quickly understanding the needs of my party (fathers, mothers and CHILDREN needs).

So we chatted and planned. And then, to make small talk, I asked "So, you have been here many years JA?" And then he beamed at me. "Oh yes! I have! Do you remember that many years ago, you organised a party here and after that, you gave me a card?"

I did? Gee... I can't remember.

And then JA towers over me with his 1.85m, and smiles at me with honest forthright eyes and says "I still have that card."

"Whoa!" I thought to myself "Whoa!" His happiness was infectious. My forgotten gesture of thanks was remembered and cherished by him, and of a sudden I felt like reaching out to hug this huge man. But people don't do that in Singapore and it wouldn't do for Petunia and JA to be suspected of immoral canoodling ... so I smiled and said, "Thank you for keeping my card for so many years... and I am even more impressed by The Club's service standards this time round".

Monday, February 8, 2010

No More Orange Raisin Muffin?

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf does not sell Orange Raisin Muffins anymore. The item has disappeared altogether from their menu. Can people do that? Can companies disappoint clients like that? Simply up and delete a beloved food item?

Yes... Petunia is rather miffed this time. The Orange Raisin Muffin is the only reason I even go to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I would sail in there and swipe 4 orange muffins in a doggy bag and then hide them in a far corner of the fridge. After all, each muffin (at $3.50) costs more than a packet of nasi lemak and The Daughter is known to down 3 at a go. Effectively, this means that I savour one yummy muffin before bedtime and then when I rush to the fridge the next morning (after a long night of scrumptious muffin dreams) I find no more left!

But why am I justifying my actions? I love those muffins. I buy 'em and I hide 'em because I like 'em. The notion of motherly love and generous sharing with one's children is quite irrelevant here.

I cannot begin to describe to you the Orange Raisin Muffin. It's like no other muffin in the world and it absolutely had to be from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I loved the orange confit bits at the top and all over the inside of the muffin. I loved the pretty brown crunchy flecks of the raisins snuggling inside the dough bubbles. And I loved the divine marriage of tartness and butter-iness. But wail... wail... wail... They ain't there anymore. They don't make 'em anymore.

And to console myself, I drove a little ways down the street to Breadtalk. Now, Breadtalk is the only shop in the world from where I actually emerge looking like Paris Hilton as she steps onto the sidewalk at the Champs Elysées. I come out with bags of stuff and if you look into the bags, you'll find about 15 Applewerms. The Applewerm is a deceptively simple food device. It's bread with smooth creamy chunks of apple inside. It has a hint of cinnamon... just the right amount and it goes so well with Earl Grey Tea. But I just found out that BreadTalk doesn't make those anymore either!!

What's wrong with these people? Don't they know that each member of their cast of menu items has fans? And when they murder the Applewerm or the Orange Raisin Muffin, they kill off a celebrity? Don't they understand the enormity of their actions? The wrongfulness?

These ruthless "food retrenchment" decisions were probably taken by someone skinny and dieting up at the corporate head office... someone who has never stepped into the outlets nor tasted the poor retrenched food items... someone who looked only at numbers and forgot to consider the social pact already built with its clientele.

And now, Petunia has no more Orange Raisin Muffins and no more Applewerms to eat. Hmmmmmmph!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Boy and His Bible

Little Boy read 3 bibles over the last week. 3 versions of kids' bibles. He spent 30 minutes one evening analyzing each version and comparing them. I was amused and wildly pleased.

Evangelizing to one's own children is a delicate affair. I feared that an over zealous religious instruction would push them to the other extreme where like my friend M, the word "God" is the push button for every mental barrier he can erect against anything you say from thereon. So, I've never preached to my children. I never purposed to explain the bible to them... and I felt so guilty for it too.

I bought them children's bibles of every colour. At bedtime, we pored over the pictures and even before Little Boy could read, he had fun examining pictures of the Good Samaritan and he tralalalala-ed with me when the trumpets brought down the walls of Jericho. Such exciting stories!

But I could never force them to go for Bible Study classes nor to attend church services, nor could I bring myself to preach to them. I was too afraid that in preaching to them perfection, I would never be able to live up to my own preaching. I know very well that a church is a hospital for sinners, not a haven for saints... and I could never feel comfortable evangelizing them. I was too afraid of the hurt they could inflict when pointing baby fingers at me, they criticized me for not walking the talk.

This way, I am not vulnerable to criticism.

Maybe it was a cop out on my part but I told myself that God gave me free will, and who am I to mess with the free will He gave to my children? Again, it is perhaps a cop out but I figured that if God placed my children in my care, then He had every intention of saving them too. And so I chose to leave it to God.

And it is wonderful that He has wrought His beautiful handiwork in first The Daughter and then Little Boy. The Daughter reads her bible every night. Little Boy has just begun to be curious about God. God provides everything I need for the garden to grow and I know He will provide all I need for my children to grow too.

I must resist the temptation to overwhelm Little Boy with my joy and kill his search with an overdose of enthusiasm. I put so much magnesium in my garden that the plants died. I mustn't do the same to Little Boy.

Monday, February 1, 2010


If you don't know Abby, then know this. You are missing out on something beautiful in your life. Abby first appeared to me as a string of ungrammatical English words within a gardening forum thread. There were few full stops, no commas and no capital letters to start the sentence. (Oh dear... Abby, if you read this, please don't take offence!) Nonetheless, one should not underestimate Abby. Never judge a book by its cover alone, nor ever judge a forummer by punctuation.

For Abby is the Earth Mother of the GCS forum.

I am convinced that every plant that Abby touches trembles with pleasure and bursts forth into a profusion of joyous leaves and flowers. And when I carted off the 5 pots of Japanese Bamboo that Abby had given me, they were still sobbing uncontrollably in my car when I got home... and now they sit forlorn and unhappy in my rooftop disliking me and hoping that Abby will take them back somehow.

But they're mine now because Abby the Earth Mother who gives away plants (with a generosity that my poor selfish heart cannot comprehend), gave them to me. There are 5 pots whose roots overflow the pots and I intend to divide each pot into 2, to get 10 pots of Japanese Bamboo. These 10 pots of bamboo will act as privacy and sun screens for my master bedroom in the new house.

The thing about Abby is that she has absolutely no airs. If you think of the forthright, straight talking but immensely kind and generous village girl... that's Abby. Gu niang Petunia asked for some dainty tissue paper to wrap seeds in. Abby gave her an incredulous look and said "Go there to the toilet and get some toilet paper". So I trotted obediently to the toilet, half-amused, half-embarrassed and but still very pleased about the generous mound of ulam raja seeds Abby had thrust at me. Who cares about tissue paper when you know each seed will grow into fragrance that will magic your salad all the way to Pandora, the land of the Na'vi?! Yum! Yum!

In sum, it's impossible not to like Abby. I mean, if you don't respond to her generosity then surely you would respond to her delicious produce, no? She fed us giant bananas full of sweetness. I badly wanted to ask for some to bring home and make banana cake but well... I am a gu niang after all, and was shy. So I obediently ate my banana and watched The Husband's eyes go wide with each chew.

And then I said "thank you" to Abby nicely and went home. You see, Petunia writes better than she speaks because up close and personal Petunia seems cold and aloof. Some things can be better written than said. So Abby, thank you again.