Archive for April, 2009

On Anoop Desai and Jamal Malik

“He looks like that guy from American Idol,” my 11-year old son told me as we start to watch Slumdog Millionaire.

“Oh, you mean, Anoop,” I said.


I have a soft spot for Anoop Desai and my kids have heard me say a few times, “I don’t think he’s going to win, but I like Anoop.” I like him when he sings the slower songs, like when he sang You’re Always on My Mind, True Colors, and Everything I Do. Because he can sing naman, di ba? And probably one other reason why I have such a soft spot for him is that he looks like my kind of people. Brown skin and black hair. Just like my kids. If Anoop could be famous for being on American Idol, my kids could also have a good chance at being famous for being a jazz musician, or a basketball player, or an artist, or maybe an actor, or whatever it is they decide to do in the future. 🙂 Besides, Anoop seems to be such a nice, polite kid.

Well, anyway, back to Slumdog Millionaire . . .

I thought I’d convince the kids to watch the movie with me. Make it a movie night like last time. “It’s about this kid who was a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” I told them. We used to watch that game show.

My 19-year old wanted to watch the movie, but he has final exams next week and he needs to study and practice.

The 14-year old wasn’t interested or he probably just got annoyed with me for saying the word slumdog wrong. I said it like slamdog. 🙂 Of course I’m just kidding, he just wasn’t interested.

And after guilt-tripping my 11-year old son, “don’t you want to spend time with your mommy?,” I finally convinced him to watch it with me. Only to send him away after about 10 or 15 minutes into the movie. I’ve already asked him a couple of times to cover his eyes with the blanket when I told him, “I don’t think this is a good movie for you to watch. I’ll tell you whether he wins the million dollars or not. Sorry, Ryland.” I know, it was my bad. I thought, they’d show the main character play and win the game at the start of the movie or something, but the story was told in flashbacks of flashbacks. I know, it’s kind of complicated.


Well, it started with 18-year old Jamal Malik being tortured because they suspected him of cheating. He was from the slums of Mumbai, a slumdog, and here he was, one question away from winning 20 million rupees, which is equivalent to about US $400,000.00. But he didn’t cheat. (Ooops, sorry, if you consider that a spoiler.) He just happened to know all the answers, and that’s the reason for the flashbacks. His life story explains why he knew the answers.

The story of where he came from is really a sad one but it is filled with hope in the end. And on Jamal’s persistence to find his childhood love, Latika, again and again, I find it so inspiring and romantic at the same time. 🙂 Well, I’d spare you with anymore details. You might want to go rent the movie or buy your own copy because I highly recommend it.

Here are related movie reviews from a couple of my favourite bloggers:

Jayred’s Why you should watch Slumdog Millionaire

Wil’s Slumdog Millionaire


April 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm 7 comments

‘He-cession’ affecting husband and wife roles

I’ve read an article in The Winnipeg Free Press about how this failing economy has been referred to as a ‘he-cession’ (recession) because it is the men who are mostly affected. Most of the companies that are downsizing are those in the male-dominated industries such as: trades and transport, including construction; manufacturing; and natural resources. The women, as a result, now make up a large percent of Canada’s labour force. And of course, this affects the family dynamics.

There is now a role reversal between husband and wife. More women are bringing home the pay cheque and more men are staying at home and taking care of the family.

It’s not as if there isn’t already an ongoing war as to which spouse/parent is to do this and that chore. But whether the husbands like it or not, they have to step up in doing most of the work only their wives used to do. For some men, it is hard to do things they were not doing before.

Let’s take for example Isabel and Hector. When he got laid off from work, she had to work the extra hours to make up for the loss of income. Hector didn’t mind cooking and doing his share in cleaning the house. But he had a hard time accepting that he had to do the grocery shopping and the laundry as well. They did end up doing the groceries together but he just wouldn’t do the laundry. She was so frustrated, so she started picking out his clothes out of the pile and didn’t do his clothes. He wasn’t too happy about that at first but after a few confrontations, he understood how she was already tired and exhausted and she just couldn’t manage to do all six to eight loads of laundry every week.

It’s tough. But with the changing times and things happening that are beyond our control, we have to learn to adapt, to be flexible and to be tolerant of each other.

April 12, 2009 at 8:22 pm 5 comments

Niceheart’s Chicken Alexander


I learned how to prepare Chicken Alexander from my girl friend Elaine. It was one of the dishes she served at Maddy’s first birthday celebration and I loved it. This past Christmas, I thought I’d try to cook it and I asked her for a recipe. She gave me the ingredients and the order in which to cook them. Then I also googled “Chicken Alexander recipes,” printed them and showed them to her and asked which one is closer to her recipe. She was shaking her head when I showed her my prints. Well, I’m not very proficient in the kitchen and I need numbers, like amounts and oven temperatures and length of time. 🙂

So this is the version I came up with. Niceheart’s variation means a lot of shortcuts and cheaper alternatives. 🙂 This is also what I served my family this Easter Sunday.


1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped

1/2 of a medium sized onion, chopped

.70 kg or 4 pieces of chicken breast, already boiled, diced or hinimay

1/2 kilo of No Name frozen mixed vegetables (includes carrots, peas, whole kernel corn, green beans and lima beans)

1 can of No Name Cream of Chicken condensed soup, 284 ml (Elaine recommends Campbells brand)

a pinch of salt and pepper

No Name mashed potato flakes – plain flavour , 215 grams, includes 2 pouches

100 grams of mild cheddar cheese, grated (Elaine recommends using marble cheese or two kinds of cheeses for variety in colour)

Saute garlic and onion. Put diced chicken and stir. Add frozen vegetables and continue stirring. (I let the frozen vegetables sit on the kitchen counter for about half an hour before cooking.) Blend in the cream of chicken soup, stirring until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to stop there, that’s actually already a dish called Chicken A La King. But we’re preparing Chicken Alexander today, so put this mixture in a baking dish. Then take the Mashed Potato box and follow the instructions on the box. We will be using the 2 pouches in the box so just double up on the ingredients. It’s just basically boiling water, milk and margarine and adding the potato flakes and stirring until the mixture is smooth. You then layer the mashed potato on top of the Chicken A La King. Put grated cheese on top. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Instead of just Plain mashed potato, I used Butter and Herb Flavour this time. It also worked. It added more flavour to the dish.


April 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

My mommy guilt trips


I didn’t really like Megan Joy that much. Okay, I did like her when she sang Put Your Records On and Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. But after that she kinda went downhill. It’s Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert who have been my favourites since the auditions. And for the last three weeks, I’ve been swooning over Kris Allen. 🙂 But I was touched when Megan said goodbye last night on American Idol. When she said “Baby, Momma’s coming home,” and she started to cry. I got choked up, too. I knew that it has been hard for her to be away from her little boy. I didn’t like her ‘I don’t care attitude’ last night, but maybe there was a part of her, before the results were revealed, that wanted to go home anyway.

Well, you see, I have been having these mommy guilt trips lately. I have been working extra hours, staying late at work and sometimes working on the weekends, too. I am exhausted by the end of the week. Last Saturday, I thought I’d lie down for a bit when we came home from shopping. But I guess I was too tired and I didn’t budge when my 11-year-old son woke me up for supper. It was already around 9:00 pm when I got up to eat.

My son told me, “You slept long, mommy.”

“Yeah, I was so tired,” I told him. “Next time shake me harder when you wake me so I can have supper with you all.”

And also, the other night, I was telling my son that there are a lot of people away at work this week, most of them mothers.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because it’s spring break,” I said. “Maybe they have planned something with the family, or they probably just want to spend time with the kids.”

“Then why didn’t you take a vacation?” he asked.

“Well, I take all my vacation days in the summer when all of you are at home,” I said. “And then we could plan to go somewhere like when we went to Alberta that one summer.”

“Oh,” he said.

“Do you want me to take the week off on spring breaks?” I asked him.

“Nah,” he said.

Even with that answer, this conversation still made me feel kind of guilty.

I wonder if there would ever be an end to these mommy guilt trips.

April 2, 2009 at 8:43 pm 2 comments