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Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts

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.

 

11 February 2014

See you later, alligator!

There's something about going up in the air. Some kind of high. I may have felt homesick watching the buildings grow smaller as the plane zoomed into space, but it's cool joy to welcome the normality of getting back to work.


Thursday my passport was sorted. Suddenly I didn't want to think of Bangkok. I packed wondering when I can come back home. But then it's wonderful to see the end of this stress so of course this one tops my faves for the week. There was one final thing I did before dealing with airports and immigration.


I went to see my old man.

Back in 2005 I defied sorrow that only death could pull off by glaring at it in my mind dry-eyed throughout the burial ceremony. How dare you snatch my father, you massive coronary! 

Fast forward to 2014. Holy Garden Matutum Memorial Park was breezy when we walked in. The kiddo insisted that his Tigger relaxed beside my anthuriums. It gets easier each year. Time does heal.  


Less than thirty-six hours later I flew back to life in the fast lane. And didn't I just love the legroom around my 1A seat!


It will be a year or two before I can have these delicacies again. I want to hold on to this memory one more time before facing cafe meals eaten hurriedly beside computers:  At church potluck Pastor Mandreza got busy pairing off widows and widowers. For the first time ever I didn't mind the banter over the possibility that my mother could marry again. Better yet, I didn't know what made me full: these coconut sport dessert and fern salad or the laughter galore.


12 November 2013

Resilience

In the context of the devastation brought by Haiyan, different sources call the Filipinos resilient. The Daily Mail, UK quotes US President Obama:
"I know the incredible resiliency of the Filipino people, and I am confident that the spirit of Bayanihan will see you through this tragedy."
Bayanihan, a word I never heard, used nor thought of in quite awhile, more or less two decades. It's nice to be reminded of a reference to 'communal unity and cooperation.' Honestly I don't remember being ever seriously sure what resilience really means until I gaped in horror at the TV this weekend. Let me reflect a bit:

"Resilience, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties"

I have great memories of adventure in Tacloban, an island city hit the worst by Haiyan. Happy to be out of boarding school for the summer, Tacloban was the perfect place for an 18 year-old to explore. But now aside from not having any photos of my own, I don't think anyone needs more scenes resembling the end of the world. Instead I'm posting something reflective of the hope that my poor country is put to right again soon.

Samal is one of those areas under Signal 1 after tropical depression Zoraida moves closer to Mindanao.  Oh no... not Mindanao! Haven't we enough bombings and kidnappings there already? :(


Trucks and buses roll into ferries that transport them to Samal Island -


People usually pass here after alighting from the ferries -


A dirt road drive to the resorts


Late afternoon in the island -

04 November 2013

Qrookshanqs joins a quorum of witches

Prologue: Thailand's Supreme Patriarch is dead.  The whole kingdom is in mourning mode. And that also means Khaosan Road, a usual party venue, is shut down. Parties go on though but behind closed doors and kept as private and quiet as possible. And that's how -

Qrookshanqs ignores Ermione and wanders into Medusa's cave...
 xxx
xxx

She comes as Grumpy Cat,

tries not to forget who she is.

Qrookshanqs is convinced that those are Nagini's ancestors on Medusa's head, and thinks what a waste of cauldron time taking photos is

A smiling one joins them and the quorum is complete. Soon they chant eye of newt, toe of frog... lizard's leg and howlet's wing. Qrookshanks, ever the grief sucker, grumbles how do witches "boil and bake" fillet of a fenney snake or wool of bat at the same time? Anyone?

No one huh? Alright, grumpy mood intensifying nicely...

Until the party is peaking and she starts smiling, ruining her stance. Now she's gone queer.

Qrookshanqs learns that it's difficult not to grin when surrounded with crazy, goofing friends

and reckons she may well abandon her grumpy look
 
xxx
xxx

Epilogue: Qrookshanqs transfigured into the Cheshire Cat before midnight. Thailand continues to wear black until further notice.

01 November 2013

Ladybugs and choirs

It's another day to count faves and highlights. Here are mine this week -

A ladybug visited me. What a cute surprise! It's the first time I saw one that was not on a leaf or flower but on my very pillow so I cherished the moment. It hopped on some books (I read in bed) before flying out the porch. As a kid I loved watching ladybugs in our little garden. They're some of my favorite creatures.


Ma leads her group (all widows except one) to win first place in a provincial level choir competition. I found out on Facebook, thanks to a friend. So that's why she seemed unable to talk long when I rang last week. They were practising. Sometimes I get a bit annoyed that I find out first from other people, but okay, I get it - it's her way of teasing and she's fun like that.
 

Grandparents' Day celebration in church. It felt nostalgic looking at photos and reading comments of their children who I went to church with. How time flies! Yesterday they were us. I am particularly thankful to Ma for taking care of CJ while I am overseas. How did she find the time for choirs and all that?

Last night's party was great, despite an improvised venue. The original huge street party was canceled as Thailand mourns the death of the Supreme Patriarch (head monk). I have never been that keen on Halloween parties but this year I thought I should experience one once and for all. I came as Grumpy Cat which I shouldn't have done because I can't stop grinning, but yes, it was fun :D

 Dr Sunee's spooky dessert

Brunch by Pizza Company: garden salad, cheese bread and sour cream, chicken sticks, and milk chocolate smoothie. I never eat pizza in Pizza Company, just like I never drink coffee in Starbucks, but these places are the answer when I'm hungry and lazy to cook.


Linking with Fave Five * Picture Clusters

29 October 2013

Pluviophile

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow advises, "the best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." I absolutely have no problem with that!

One childhood memory I remember to this day is that afternoon when playmates were out playing basket ball in the rain. Afraid I would get sick, my overprotective mother made me stay indoors. She allowed our dog and even the house help to play. I watched them by the window have the frolic of their lives through tears as torrential as the rain that was pouring, my heart broken.

As an adult an opportunity to stand in the rain presented itself to me in a national park. Seizing it with a vengeance, I found that rain was a natural hair conditioner. But more significantly, I didn't get sick. Did you hear that, Ma? In fact I felt the opposite.

I love chanting, "be still sad heart and cease repining, behind the clouds the sun is still shining. Thy fate is the common fate of all. Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary."

Is something weird going on with me or what? Why, when the skies show signs of rain, I feel excited like a child who has just been given a dream toy. Rain switches me to a happy mood. The world is so right!

Through FB trending I learned there's a name for people like me. I am a -
 

"Ta-ta, it looks like rain..."

And rain it did

The neighbor's mango trees and blossoms survive a storm

One sniff of rain and I'm a chicken off to roost in her coop...err...5th floor apartment

Come on, rain. Bring it on!

This parking lot becomes a little lake when it pours non-stop for three hours. Perfect spot for floating paper boats.

Pitter-patter on and off? Ah... tea is served on the porch.

19 September 2013

Integrative complexity levels

  
"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity." ~ George Carlin

Photo Courtesy: LMCF

This week's Sepia theme takes me back to those afternoons when I was putting together a research proposal (Re: Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen).

The project focuses on integrative complexity (IC) defined as a measure of intellectual style used by individuals or groups in processing information, problem solving, and decision making. The IC construct is used to measure complexity levels of government leaders during periods of crises.  

Cognitive studies in communication examine changes in leaders' IC levels, i.e. world leaders in the war against terrorism, Middles Eastern leaders during the 9/11 crisis, German parliamentarians on the Gulf War.  The theory is that IC complexity levels decline during conflicts and increase during resolutions of conflicts.

A notable finding from a previous study shows that changes in IC levels could be used in predicting violence. The IC measure is found to be a tool in forecasting adversary intentions. There was talk of feasibility that the IC construct can be used to predict wars and thus prevent them. Yes, I hear you. It's a long shot.

Denmark's reputation as the world's second most peaceful country (Global Peace Index, 2008) accords the Danish government credibility to host research that supports peace as response to terrorism.  Authority strengthens validity of interest on a scientific contribution to world peace, the objective which the project ultimately intends to reach.


It's been awhile, 1990 most likely, since I sang Let There Be Peace with college mates at a commencement ceremony. Behind us on stage was the country's vice president who was to speak to the graduates. Fast forward to 2013 I muse, what could his IC levels have been like if he was the Philippines' top leader during terrorist attacks by the Abu Sayyaf, an Al Queda-linked Islamist separatist group...? Part of my methodology is to dissect selected Southeast Asian leader speeches to analyze IC levels. 

But then of course I was young and research was far from my mind as worrying was near my juvenile vocal chords over hitting the right notes to Let There Be Peace on Earth.

13 September 2013

Keep calm and age well

Life is full of promise
There is so much it has to give,
so much joy and wonder
yet to be explored.

You can always meet the challenge
every single day you live,
when you walk in faith
together with the Lord


Amanda Bradley's words cheered me up 15 summers ago. I was going through some tough time and a thoughtful friend gave this card to me. I kept it and never saw it again until recently while rummaging through my drawer in the office.


Family over for lunch. Space is limited in my nook but I'm glad they came. Old family tales were retold. I rang overseas for Mama to join in some of the conversation. Ouch phone bill, but familiar voices are worth it.


Book shopping makes me happy.  World Book's Young Scientist and The Questionary for CJ and a coffee table book for me. Pictures inside Mary Ford's Cake Decorating book are a stunning eye candy.



A pretty little thing to wear to an occasion I do not yet know, is I think okay sometimes. I do look forward to it - maybe at The Authors' Lounge in Mandarin Oriental to have tea where Ernest Hemingway once had tea himself many years ago.


Humor on Rocky Road. I played a little joke on myself during my birthday and inverted the numbers on my cake. I thought I was only this age once I was entitled to be amused.

A doily arbitrates

Does anyone remember those doilies?


This doily is one of the oldest things we have at home; kept among pins, spools of thread, lace and other little old things around my mother's equally old Singer sewing machine. I needed to take a photo of my recent bookstore loot with Lady Anastasia before I was to fly back to Thailand. Something was necessary between her ceramic ladyship and Mama's glass table to prevent clashes or scratches. This doily served that purpose perfectly.
ae Nak, a native of Phra Khanong, marries the handsome Mak. When war breaks out, Mak is conscripted for military service and leaves his pregnant wife behind.
In the war, Mak is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Mae Nak dies during childbirth with her unborn child and is buried by the neighbors. This is unusual as Buddhist custom calls for the cremation of their dead.
When Mak recovers from his injuries, he returns home to an emotional reunion with his loving wife and baby son, not realizing what has happened.
Neighbors who try to warn him meet with a grisly end. Things remained this way until he discovers that he's actually living with the ghost of his wife!
He flees but she pursues him and the romance turns to horror. Mak seeks refuge in Wat Mahabut but Mae Nak follows him there. After several attempts by the terrified villagers, Mae Nak is finally exorcised to return to the other world and leaves Mak alone.
- See more at: http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/wat-mahabut.html#sthash.xwgvkf7o.dpuf
Mae Nak, a native of Phra Khanong, marries the handsome Mak. When war breaks out, Mak is conscripted for military service and leaves his pregnant wife behind.
In the war, Mak is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Mae Nak dies during childbirth with her unborn child and is buried by the neighbors. This is unusual as Buddhist custom calls for the cremation of their dead.
When Mak recovers from his injuries, he returns home to an emotional reunion with his loving wife and baby son, not realizing what has happened.
Neighbors who try to warn him meet with a grisly end. Things remained this way until he discovers that he's actually living with the ghost of his wife!
He flees but she pursues him and the romance turns to horror. Mak seeks refuge in Wat Mahabut but Mae Nak follows him there. After several attempts by the terrified villagers, Mae Nak is finally exorcised to return to the other world and leaves Mak alone.
- See more at: http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/wat-mahabut.html#sthash.xwgvkf7o.dpuf
Mae Nak, a native of Phra Khanong, marries the handsome Mak. When war breaks out, Mak is conscripted for military service and leaves his pregnant wife behind.
In the war, Mak is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Mae Nak dies during childbirth with her unborn child and is buried by the neighbors. This is unusual as Buddhist custom calls for the cremation of their dead.
When Mak recovers from his injuries, he returns home to an emotional reunion with his loving wife and baby son, not realizing what has happened.
Neighbors who try to warn him meet with a grisly end. Things remained this way until he discovers that he's actually living with the ghost of his wife!
He flees but she pursues him and the romance turns to horror. Mak seeks refuge in Wat Mahabut but Mae Nak follows him there. After several attempts by the terrified villagers, Mae Nak is finally exorcised to return to the other world and leaves Mak alone.
- See more at: http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/wat-mahabut.html#sthash.xwgvkf7o.dpuf

09 September 2013

Ice cream it is

I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream. ~ Heywood Broun


I don't think this is the kiddo's first ice cream. But I remember I bought this for him because its blue color was very attractive and I thought it would match his blue shirt and blue watch. It would also please his Grandma whose favorite color is blue. The other reason was he wanted to stay in the mall to check out the latest Ultraman dolls. I wanted to go home so I bribed him with ice cream.


History repeats itself. When I was little my father would buy me ice cream and I would forget that I wanted something else which I knew he didn't want to give. When a massive coronary felled him, I made sure there were loads of ice cream on top of a catered lunch I hosted for approximately 300 family and friends. The sweet, cold, creamy dessert must have worked wonders on the sombre mood. At the reception hall I heard this exchange between a cousin and her innocent, little daughter:

"Mommy, is it Grandpa's birthday?"

"What? Why? Didn't we just bury Grandpa?"

"I knew it. It's Grandpa's birthday ice cream."


"You can't buy happiness. But you can buy ice cream and that's kind of the same thing."

Not that ice cream made me feel better after having just buried my father. I remained in shock and could not cry. But the brain freeze from several scoops did manage to numb the pain of losing him.


When the Eagles came to Bangkok in 2011 tickets sold out like hot ice cream. I was beyond disappointed and must have worn a scowl to the classroom because a student asked, and I whined. It turned out she and her husband run a concert-organizing company. Hello connections! Ten hours later I was to savor Seven Bridges Road live from a strategic seat. 

Ice cream was of course immediately in order.
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