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Showing posts with label Celebrations / Inspiration / Gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebrations / Inspiration / Gratitude. Show all posts

26 December 2014

Christmas week 2014

A happy Christmas it was. I almost starved; was invigilating and had to wait til 9 PM to eat for only the second time that day. Being single and living alone I mostly rely on cafes or restaurants for nourishment. But there's a job, food is available and I am thankful.

I'm celebrating the highlights of my Christmas week -

Government Complex

Three-in-one: i.e. visa, work permit, and 90-day report - all done. It's quite a relief to have immigration and legal matters out of the way; makes the fun of celebrating the holidays compleat.

Apex Lido

Films galoreMagic in the Moonlight, Saint Laurent, Serena, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Night at the Museum 3. I love finding what memorable lines each film has.

They're getting rare, aren't they?

A real Christmas card. I can't believe someone would send me one. A delightful surprise.


Tasty tree

Macaroon Christmas tree a sweet, calming sight out of the holiday shopping rush.

Penny - at home on her throne

Christmas pooch. A friend in Canada adds this to her personal greeting, "my little one wishes you a merry Christmas too."  As a dog lover, this is much appreciated.

Linking with: Smiling SallyReflections * Skywatch

05 December 2014

Those charming moments

Skywatch: city is far behind and I'm loving it!

Reflections: serenade

I buy books just because....

My not-so-old hat from the antiques section of a weekend market

 A little yummy error

Maybe I had more of those charming moments this week than the other weeks. I'm thankful.

Swiss sheep farm. Anything that takes me out of sight of urbanization, rising concrete (condos) and drab parking spaces - I'm in. What a treat for the country girl in me!

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight.... It's not everyday you get serenaded. I appreciated it. A lot.

The Heart Garden, Eating People is Wrong, etc: my loot from Neilson Hays book sale. Knockoff prices, old plus beautiful library architecture - just my kind of awesome.

Antiques therapy. My apartment is bursting I could hardly navigate the floor without my feet touching things so I didn't buy a truckload this week. Just the one hat. Thanks to the shining sun I had an excuse. But looking at those old, pre-loved treasures made me happy.

At a Vietnamese cafe I decided to not mind being 'lost in translation' so much. I'm a foodie; it helped. I just ate both dishes. Miscommunication is solved.   

Friday's Fave Five & Willy Nilly 5

28 November 2014

Mapping

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving, my bloggity friends!


Skywatch: mapping Forensic Accounting

Reflections: at the Sweet Secret Cafe

Can you tell if a mushroom is edible or poisonous?

 Flowery hangout

I can tolerate my own cooking ;)

November is waving goodbye. That fast, wasn't she? It's been a good month. Now time to wrap up the week -

Mapping Forensic Accounting. It was part of a 4-day seminar which I enjoyed doing. With time pressure though my screws splattered in all directions and my mind wandered to  the -

Sweet Secret Cafe. Not a bad place to mentally be to make up for the frustration of not having enough time for concept mapping. The photo is an old one; taken when I was physically present and had a sweet time there.

Hundred Foot Journey. Three reasons why this film was so much fun to me - Helen Mirren, food, and France. Its brief mention of mushrooms brought back lovely memories of my wedding breakfast. 

Blooms. They enhance walking around to help get rid of harmful cholesterol. 

Capsicum omelette for Thanksgiving. Not the best obviously but I like Thanksgiving, and although it's not a holiday where I am I celebrate it anyway.   

Linking with Friday's Fave Five & Willy Nilly 5

07 November 2014

Sweet November

Reflections: celebratory tea

Skywatch: a bougainvillea roof

And then it's time to acknowledge the good of the week. Here are my high fives:

1. Progressive, transition lenses. After two years of neglecting, avoiding and hesitating, I finally set foot in an optical clinic and came to terms with a 'perk' of aging. My traditional books, here I come! Back.

2. BBC modern adaptation of Cinderella. That bit on university research was very appealing. It's fun when a fairy tale sounds intelligent and not just all charm and romance.

3. Free expert knowledge. Last week when I mentioned my Mom successfully battling pneumonia and enlargement of aorta, I meant she was already breathing on her own. But she's not totally out of the woods yet as she's having difficulty swallowing food. A friend in the medical profession shared keywords of possible causes. That helped me form my own questions to ask the physicians.  It's comforting when you have at least an idea of what's going on and what to do next. 

4. Cousin time. As an only child and now as an adult I realize how daunting it can be to make pivotal decisions alone when an elderly parent is sick. I appreciate this cousin's availability to talk things out with me. 

5. Celebratory tea. Hope is a good thing. Optimism helps. Celebrating them lifts the spirit.


31 October 2014

Walking by

Skywatch: west side of Taj Mahal

Sally's BluesReflections: by the blue lotus pond

Fave Five: Living to  Tell the Story  /  Shine the Divine

October has been very eventful. Stress and joys, adventures and challenges, you name it. It's wonderful to have the chance to express gratefulness for making it through this final week of a beautiful month.

i. Surviving a task at work on finance/statistics: not my expertise but I did it.
ii. Another world landmark off the bucket list. Taj Mahal is quite a love monument.
iii. Angel friends: geographically distant (Canada) but willing to stick it out in their iphones the whole night to give emotional support.
iv.  Kiddo in church with minimal adult supervision. The singing ministry does him good.  
v. Mom's back at home after fighting off inflammation of the lungs and heart successfully. Now I can breathe.
  

29 August 2014

I will be entertaining...

Skywatch: on an expressway to Pratunam, that area in Bangkok where everything is cheap.

Reflections: history wings and things


I Heart Macro: floral tribute


Friday's Fave Five: Anticipation mode. My entrails are somersaulting. Come, September, come!

1 Teacher's day. It's that time of year when I'm so in love with my profession.

2 New apartment, new furniture. In the move I found a photo which I thought I had lost forever. It's of my parents, the last and only one with my rarely-seen-in-photos father in it a few years before he died. I was just thrilled with the discovery.

3 A change I don't mind. It was originally Bali in three weeks. Thanks to an unexpected problem with the travel agency, it's now New Delhi.  Hello Taj Mahal!

4 Re-entry permit and visa report sorted. Always a relief to get immigration stuff out of the way.

5 I will be entertaining. A friend from high school I haven't seen in 26 years is coming to visit September 18th. And then we're going to India.

19 June 2014

Spiraling


"Year after year beheld the silent toil
"That spread his lustrous coil;
"Still, as the spiral grew,
"He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
"Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
"Built up its idle door,
"Stretched in his last found home, and knew the old no more." 
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Chambered Nautilus


Hello my bloggity friends. I celebrate the week remembering a few favorites:

At the Temple of Literature, National University Hanoi... in that American Literature class our teacher made us 'chant' The Chambered Nautilus. She spent a few minutes on the beauty of the words and 'preached' the message into our heads.

It was either the heat outside or the memories that made me linger in the souvenir shop. Both maybe. I quietly enjoyed the moment: viewing the beautiful shell as fond memories of college buddies and a teacher that I liked so much came spiraling back.

One of my friends is reflected on the glass. That's how I made sure I did not lose them.

Coming back, a few minutes before landing in Bangkok, I glimpsed the Martial Law sky. The nice thing is curfew has been lifted, thanks to the World Cup...err... whatever reason the Thai military might have had.

Rain! a real break from all the unrelentingly high temps in the past few months.

Applause in the boardroom. Addressing my colleagues, the vice president said it mainly in Thai. I made out 'research,' 'financial report' and my own name. Then all eyes on me, (I was going red; oh dear what have I done?!) they cheered. It really was just a simple case of getting the job done but guess I survived to share some tale of Once upon a time, just when I thought I was going to resign....

Maleficent. I will happily never get over the fairy tales!

Thanks to our host: Weekend Reflections * Friday's Fave Five * Skywatch * Share the Joy

22 May 2014

The party must go on


“Dare to love yourself
as if you were a rainbow
with gold at both ends.”
 ~ Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams


May I tell you something? I have been frequenting tea rooms lately. The other thing is, I found a sky beauty from my 5th floor porch! It makes me momentarily forget that we are under Martial Law right now. Life goes on and I am grateful for the wonderful things this week. Here are five of them:

Something that made me smile in the midst of anxiety. Back home in the Philippines my kiddo is sick. It goes without saying I am worried but I can't help chuckling when I was told that he complained to my mother, "Grandma, I have a headache on my neck."

An 'oh...?' moment. I was told that CJ's doctor is an old friend I used to date; asked my Mom about me after taking a look at CJ. Sounds and feels like my son is in good hands.... And then the roses, those love letters, that weekend together in an uncle's house came flooding back.

No ordinary birthday. Poor kid is celebrating it hooked up to an IV drip. Quite a milestone this one is. A few family, friends and nurses are having a little party in his hospital room as I type this post. 

Hope, relief and just pure happiness on the updates. CJ may be allowed to go home as soon as his platelet count is back to normal.

My unbirthday from TWG Tea is called Sweet Secret Salad: smoked Scottish salmon served with aragula and avocado delicately enhanced by the flavors of fresh strawberries and Secret of Vietnam Tea.

 

14 May 2014

Ineffable

"The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy that might well arouse the envy of the gods." ~ Elbert Hubbard
It's been somewhat a long week for me here in the Big Chili. But I'm glad that toward Thursday things got a bit hyped up and suddenly it's Friday; time to conclude the week by recalling what's great in it:

Coffee table books, a vintage flower vase and a Guess purse among the rest of the many bags, some still on the floor. Not exactly a spree but I did shop and it was fun.

Recent movies. There was The Lunchbox, Noah, Transcendence, The Amazing Spider Man 2, all entertaining and all gave me some time off too much stress at work. I appreciate being reminded of what forgiveness is like from the Railway Man - for both Eric Lomax and Takashi Nagase.


This is Kanchanaburi where much of the story took place and some scenes in the film were shot.

 

Leave approved without much ado. I am Vietnam-bound in eleven days.

Surviving a day of complete communication breakdown. Wrong event, wrong venue, wrong assignment. Last time I checked I was an English major. But Thursday I was talking finances in front of university deans. Then just as I thought I could finally go home I was called back to judge seven stage productions. Late that afternoon the real fun began. I found myself laughing so hard at what unfolded on stage it was like getting rid of five years' worth of toxic off the lungs.

Something new (to me) on the luncheon table. A colleague says it's Vietnamese. Chunks of sausage, sour mango, garlic, raw banana and sweet white bean sauce wrapped in paper noodle. It will be nice to try it again in Hanoi.


08 April 2014

Exam season

 
Reflected on the table is an idea of where this place is (in case I forget)
 
 Skywatch: clouds above canal lane trying to postpone the sunset

Pines on the glass window 

It's time for uni people to breathe easily. While students plow their heads through Strategic Management, Cost Accounting and Business Law, those exempted from taking the finals (read: instructors invigilating) get to have theirs charmed. Mine wandered around Chocolate Ville. I just love perks of exam season week. Work is light; the highlights fun:

girlfriend time after working 9-hour days for awhile, we went al fresco in a seafood restaurant where the

fried sea bass and mango salad was such delight on the palate enhancing travel plans for 2015.  We then proceeded to

a saxophone jazz and blues bar. Blimey, what a place! It was like being in the cellar of a 16th century castle. The only reminder I was in 21st century Bangkok were the strains produced by

a girl saxophonist whose rendition of Careless Whisper dazzled glasses and bottles and sent me

texting the Lovey Dove oceans away stuck in an Arabian palace, poor thing. The reply was "enjoy yourself" and enjoy I did. Isn't it inspiring to be reminded that life is filled with beautiful people and that one of them is in love with you? 

02 April 2014

More antidote

A hot hot moisturizing hallo from the chili patches! The week here has been highlighted with attempts to combat the heat; joys and faves are on:

Antiques! When I discovered that there's a big section for exactly those in Nawamin Market, I freaked out. If only I lived in Thailand permanently....


Culture exhibit. I didn't notice the woman was holding a drink until she, and I, opposite her, took a photo of the fish and I discovered that her reflection shows a straw in a disposable glass. I was probably also reflected in her shot. We snapped at the same time. It was fun.


We are booked! I'm cruising with friends in Vietnam. Halong Bay in a few weeks.


Blooms and a lake. My family trooped to Suan Luang for some healthy relief from the angry Thai sun.


Icy dessert. Pineapple and strawberry. Sugar and milk. Crunch, crunch, one alimentary canal is happy.

Visit: Reflections * Fave Five * Picture Clusters * SkywatchShare the Joy * Water World

26 March 2014

Fancy a splash?

The Big Chili continues to behave like an oven. As I type this, I am chatting on the phone with a friend who is speeding on an Arabian expressway. She reports it's pouring around Abu Dhabi. I tell her I'm going island-hopping. In my dream, that is. For now I am grateful for faves of the week::

Life-saving AC. Since walking around in rising temps this invention has become my best friend. And as for the board room thingy with an amusing laptop reflection that's bluer than the blue above it, that's where I was officially informed about 

Remuneration. I thought it went with the normal salary but it seems the university is happy to pay researchers extra.


Imagination. It does help when there is something to look forward to.


Tax sorted. A colleague fixed a little problem in it for me. Until next year Mr Tax. For now I'm celebrating with some
 
Cold Stone delight. A yummy antidote to the notorious Bangkok heat.


I may still fancy a splash. It's seriously hot in here. When things at work calm down, it's going to be a cool splash. Here's wishing us all a great week.

Visit: Blue Monday * Reflections * Friday's Fave Five * Skywatch * Share the Joy * Water World

18 March 2014

Why not

It's been hot hot hot in the Big Chili this week. Where I would have preferred cool breezy nights with a beaming moon, we were dealing with a raging sun. But joys and faves here we go:

Spontaneous outing with family. We had fun browsing bottle art and learning which country the wines come from.

 

A better-idea sky.  I stare at it and think why not invite a friend to go on a Halong Bay cruise with me instead? It will turn the disappointment over changes on my trip to Vietnam into something I will surely enjoy.


Spending time with winged friends in the park. Kicking off the routine high heels, wearing jeans and walking barefoot on the grass were just as great.


St. Patrick's Day.
I'm no Irish but why the Saint Patrick's mode? And I muse, why not? At least I once dated an Irish guy. I remember being fascinated when I witnessed glimpses of the famous Irish temper in him - stuff I only read about in books before I met him. That was something like a little fairy tale come true! Well, that and the fact that he was into gorgeous ammo and helicopters.

To celebrate I had green tea and a book by an Irish author, the lovely Maeve Binchy narrating life in Tara Road. From my porch to yours, (belated) happy Saint Patrick's Day!



Kiwi
with mango and ice cream, a touch of green in my Saint Patrick's Day dessert


Links:
Reflections * Friday's Fave Five * Picture Clusters * Skywatch * Share the Joy * Water World * Our World * Ruby Tuesday Too

10 March 2014

Dreaming up a surprise

A lovely week my friends! I give you sunrise from the world's largest religious monument - Angkor Wat


and a quiet spot from the chili patches


Some days this week were bittersweet. But I'm loving the joys and faves:

This goodbye is not forever. Someone dear to me is away for a couple of days. On call for an important politician, he does not know when is he returning to base. Communication to the outside is quite restricted. Then out of the blue he sent word saying he was making use of what internet access was allowed 'along palace perimeter...' and then he was gone. But I'm glad he tried to reach me.

Monuments Men. Those art pieces! They took my breath away.

The Valley is a friend's short story which he asked me to edit for an alumni newsletter. I was hesitant; warned him I might unwittingly ruin it. My mind went back to that article I wrote 19 years ago. It was too late when I realized how unnecessarily sentimental it sounded; it was already published in a national women's magazine. I don't exactly trust myself with creative writing nowadays but while having a go at the very thing I realized I was enjoying the process. Although what I would normally accomplish in 15 minutes dragged for an hour, it turned out a pleasure. What a break from technical stuff!

'Shriveled banana,' according to an online review of this Cassia Cafe dessert. Curious and looking for fun, I singled it out of the menu. Despite the cashew nuts as its saving grace I reckoned it was still a risk but I went ahead and ordered one to complete a lazy Sunday brunch. It has a bit of a price so I expected to be deliciously surprised and I was. Clearly, looks are not everything.

 
In the mood for generosity. A niece's FB shout out goes: "Queen is having a concert this summer... I really wanna go!" I couldn't resist asking, "Queen? If it's Queen, i.e. Brian May, Freddie Mercury (RIP)... don't miss it sweetie!" She replied, "yes Tita (Auntie)... but I'll have to go alone. My clique doesn't really like their music. Plus, a ticket costs almost 200$ because obviously it's THE queen... but I'll find ways."

This darling niece has taste for household name stadium rock; was probably influenced by her seminary-bred father ;) Poor kid. I see myself in her 25 years ago - young, passionate, penniless. Suddenly an idea came flapping its wings in my face. Isn't it my longtime dream to watch The Queen live? Now since I could not fly to Montreal anytime soon, what if I'd just wire her $200 so she could go to the concert? I quickly made a mental survey of the checkbook but had to temper my excitement as I realized I have Vietnam and South Korea lined up on my travel timetable in the coming months.

But I'm not forgetting the whole thing yet. And this is not a bad place to dream up a surprise, is it? Charm could set you in the mood for generosity.


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