Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Eager to Become an Eagle

Somebody asked me today, “If you were an animal, what would you be?” I snapped the question with the answer: “At this point of my life, I am so eager to be an eagle.” If you know the story about The Life of an Eagle, you’ll get the idea as to why I chose this creature.

Contemplating the recounted claims about the eagle’s life, I would say that the constructed facts about an eagle have been presented in a sensational manner considering the ornithological depictions of it. Perhaps, the story might have been conceived with a premeditated idea or reference to the mythical phoenix. Nevertheless, the story can teach us lessons of survival and change.

HERE’S THE STORY:

The Eagle has the longest life-span of its species. It can live up to 70 years. But to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision.

In its 40th year its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. It’s old-aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, stick to its chest and make it difficult to fly.

Then, the eagle is left with only two options: DIE or go through a painful process of CHANGE which lasts 150 days. The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountain top and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out.

Then the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old-aged feathers.

And after 5 months, the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years.

Why is change needed? Many times, in order to survive we have to start a change process. We sometimes need to get rid of old memories, habits and other past traditions. Only freed from past burdens, can we take advantage of the present.

Eagle

On the Wings of Change

And why the eagerness to emerge as an eagle? As for me, well, I ought to embrace change. We all do at some point in time. Even the most erudite CEOs and leaders in the business world need to create change by taking risks. When you complain a lot about how your life or your business has been in a deep rut, yet you never open your eyes to the reality that it’s going to take a painful and radical process to change, then don’t expect for any change at all.

Your circumstance will become more dire than ever if you just allow yourself to feed on negativity and narrow-mindedness.

When your willpower draws near to its lowest ebb, that’s the moment when you must let your momentum go full speed ahead.

You want to SURVIVE? STRIVE to THRIVE ON TOUGH STRIDE.

 

 

Something Spooky

Is there anyone out there who can explain the thing of sensing pain or death, a parapsychologist or a psychic? I know it sounds creepy, but it happens to me. Since I was young, I have been experiencing this wherever I go. I wouldn’t call it a “gift” because I’m not convinced that I have some kind of paranormal ability. I am just an ordinary person who’s in existence with normal human beings.

I have encountered seeing people or be in contact with them before their death. Am I one of the forces of Hades? I  hope not… I have told this to my mother, but she said nothing about it except telling me that I should pray for these people’s souls.

I recall when I was 8 or 9, I saw one of my grandfather’s tenants before her death. I was on the bus on my way home and  I saw the lady tenant. It was in the city I least expected seeing her. I was wondering what she was doing there. After a day, I had learned that she died in childbirth but the baby survived. The incident didn’t really matter to me (I was young to dig into it) but it’s one of the childhood memories that linger in my mind.

The death of my high school classmate was another incident that I still remember of sensing other’s death. Before she was taken, she was gagging with me, pinching my arms while bursting into laughter. She was so caught up in squeezing my untoned arms that she didn’t notice that I was sensing something hair-raising. I didn’t see any sign that she’d die, I felt it though. The next day, the news of her death broke out. We were hit like a ton of bricks. It was just some few days before our graduation day.

In like manner, I also made a contact with one of my university professors before he kicked the bucket. He was an extremely nice guy. He used to be my aunt’s neighbor, and even though my aunt and her family moved out of the neighborhood, they remained friends and still visited each other once in a while. The professor’s nieces were my cousin’s best playmates. I knew because I stayed with my aunt for a few years. The professor would pick his nieces at our place after work. Until one night at exactly midnight, the phone rang. It was him on the other line. I couldn’t remember all the words he said but he was saying that I should take care of his nieces.  Then, he hung up on me. I was petrified by the eerie call… How could he ring at this hour when he can do it tomorrow? Sometimes, tomorrow never comes, indeed. The very next day, the news spread like wildfire round in the campus- his death. Shocked as I was, I tried to flashback what he said over the phone. I couldn’t believe he’s dead. He simply died in his sleep.

How about my grandfather’s death? Did I sense it? No doubt, yes. I went to church yesterday. While waiting for the mass to begin, I was going over the Psalm book; I was alone on that pew. And then suddenly I felt something or someone just sat next to me. I tried to ignore it, but I felt that there was a man sitting beside me. In my mind was an image “It’s a man- an old man. Who are you? Who is it?” Before long, I felt someone (a ghost?) touched me and rushed past me. And it was ice-cold. I disregarded this encounter on purpose, tearfully thinking that death would occur. However, I know me, I become restless and have vivid nightmares whenever somebody dies or something dreadful happens. My gut instincts were telling me it was my grandfather. It couldn’t be, I wanted to see my grandfather one more time  before he would rest in peace. When I called my brother, he let it slip “Have you heard about grandpa yet? He’s dead.” So I immediately rang my mother and told me what happened. (Right now, I am morning my grandfather’s death…)

These are just SOME of the before-death- circumstances or premonitions that I have chanced upon. There’s a lot more… Gratefully, I am not able to sense death with everyone, or else I would have gone mad by now.

I don’t know how the human brain works scientifically when it comes to sensing death, for all that, I am just hoping that I’d be able to understand this stuff better, rather than wandering around wondering what this phenomenon is all about???  Is it because I have had a near death experience before, and had seen Death while struggling to fight for my life when I was awfully ill?

Weird, creepy, spooky. I hope all these mean nothing at all.

It was 12 noon on the dot at the Vatican City when we got there after two hours of trekking roads and rides under the scorching 39°C temperature. I took a seat for a while to cool down and collect myself. After which we pressed on to stand in the long lines of visitors to witness the interior of the St. Peter’s Basilica. Getting in was like getting through the airport check-in process- very strict security. Read on

L’s Birthday

Sometimes it’s not ‘how’ we meet a person that could measure a deep sense of friendship, it’s how we nurture the friendship that matters. Time serves a great factor in doing such and it’s a mutual thing that we can give each other. You know, like simple hi’s and hello’s or simple comments on photos and updates.

Today, I am feeling a bit under the weather despite the beautiful sunny day, but this is a lame excuse for me not to greet a dear friend on her special day. I have undertaken on this page to extend my greetings and to share with you a bit about her.

It all started when I was on my quest to finding old friends and classmates. When I saw her name, I thought it was her – she got the same name as my high school classmate. I asked for an apology for the bother, but from that moment she has become a part of my existence. Whenever she would spill something about her personal life through e-chats, I have developed a friendship with her. I thought it was nice of her to share her moments with a complete stranger like me.

She is an unassuming woman, but when you hear her hit the microphone, you will surely interject “Girl, you rock!” I can’t remember her posting a video where she is singing or gigging, her band-mate (I guess) did though. She said it was supposed to be her secret. Sorry dear, one of your secrets have been revealed and I am glad to have seen it. You’ve got the talent and talents should be shared, right?

She never fails to care. Last year when I decided to cut my wire from going online to wrestle with reality’s demands, she was one of those souls that tried to penetrate through my invisible door. By simply asking if I was okay, she had closed the deal- she signified that if you can’t feel or see the existence of somebody that you care about, nudging her/him is just the simplest shot to show your concern. “Hey, where on earth are you? Are you still alive? You matter to me.” – These words might be reiterated unpremeditatedly, but they would reverberate throughout somebody’s life.

She is a great mother. Seeing how adorable and happy those two kids are would make you wanna ask “Kids, who is your mommy?”.

Dear L, I may not have greeted you on your birthday, but you should know that your special day has never been forgotten. Posting a one-liner greeting on your Facebook Wall would be the easiest and fastest track to greet you. You might find this post extremely corny, but it’s just my way of showing how special you are. My birthday gift for you is a whole lotta thought of love. I hope you had celebrated your natal day, wonderfully.

To you my Lovely- Electrifying- Amiable friend, 誕生日おめでと! Merry Birthday!

(I hope that’s the precise translation of it😉.)

However you define happiness, may you and your family always find bliss in every simple thing you do together.

 

Best Wishes, my dear LEA!

Spidercat, Spidercat

One day, I was looking for the kitty that hardly meows, but I just couldn’t find him. We don’t live in a capacious mansion and playing hide and seek is that easy. Is he in the mood for hide and seek or pssst-a-boo again? Not in daytime, dear. Just when I sat down to turn on the laptop on the table, there he was, lying there in his new-found sanctuary! And how on earth did he get there? Truly, this cat doesn’t have to be put on a pedestal – he puts himself there. Besides, I think he believes that he’s a Supercat or a part spider.

Take a look overhead. Hey, there! There goes the Spidercat.

Well, he has the ability to stick to walls, he can jump from point A to B, horizontally and vertically, he can’t spin a web but can catch flies, and his quick-wittedness can never be doubted. He has a spider-sense too, having the ability to smell out danger. Perhaps, it all started when he caught his first prey through his sharp claws- the spider. After swallowing it, he absorbed the power of the poor spider and now he physically overpowers his preys, just the bugs, he has never caught huge ones yet.

Affirmative, I am the Spidercat😉.

(January 2011)

I love taking down my thoughts, negative or positive. Last night while I was clearing up a stack of journal notebooks, I stumbled upon this 6-year-old notebook named “Note Book”. How many times have I attempted to burn it to welcome another year, another chapter of my existence? Myriad times… Today though, I held a mini bonfire to mark the end of this jotter. But before I did it, I have plucked twenty simple-introspective liners from it that still serve as my constant reminders.

1. Enjoy whatever you do.

2. Sound in mind, sound in body. Stay healthy.

3. Practice random kindness. Extend help, without any hope of being reimbursed.

4. Learn to be excited even though there’s nothing exciting in your environment.

5. Do not let your past control your future.

6. If you have anything against anyone, forgive him/ her. Let it drop. Leave it. Let it go.

7. It is best to wait for the one you want than settle for the one that’s available.

8. Dwell not on what you don’t have.

9. Find something that’s right and concentrate.

10. Your will is stronger than your mind and feelings.

11. Maintain the teachable spirit. Keep a humble attitude. No air up there.

12. Fret or obsess not about something in the future.

13. Don’t let your attitude lose altitude. Act with an attitude of gratitude.

14. Spend time with your sunniest pals. Don’t surround yourself with a glass-half-empty crew. But be one if you want change and progress.

15. Choose to have a fantastic day!

16. Take time to examine yourself.

17. Learn to give up something to get what you want.

18. Do whatever is right even though nobody is watching you.

19. Be afraid not to talk about your weaknesses to others. Nobody’s perfect.

20. Enjoy while you are changing into a better person.

First in Line

Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas

I want to be first in line. Sub-caption: You’re “too early” for Check-in😉.

A Fountain of Youth

From the heart of the fountain of delight rises a jet of childishness...

I thought I have escaped the heat of Madrid… But coming to this fascinating country in Central Europe, the sun even welcomed me with its beaming heat that penetrated into my deep dermis giving me “sun-kissed” skin.

Curious enough, the tiring and troublesome flight-lag didn’t stop us from going and strolling around on the very first day to learn the mazes of this exquisite city. After 4 hours of getting lost under the sun, we spotted a square fountain. I eventually found myself playing with its water that jetted into the air for dramatic effect. It made me feel like a 3- year-old kid again and I ended up getting soaked. (Photo: Summer 2010 Memorabilia)

She had a Bad Day

I was rushing my butt to reach the bank nearby to make some transactions before the closing time. On the way, I saw a lady who fell off her bike in front of a hair salon. I stopped. I had two choices from that very moment:  to give her a hand or to ignore her and carry out my errand. I wanted to help but I was on the other side of the road. I didn’t mind crossing against the red lights, however the cars were on the go, it was rush hour. And if I had to rush I might have created another commotion aside from that lady’s snag accident. Besides, there was already this guy comforting her. That was her boyfriend I supposed, but the guy left her and he didn’t even help her to get off the ground.

Anyway, the lady tried to gather herself back onto the bike. When I got the chance to cut across the road while the cars were snailing down, I approached the lady at once and asked her if there was anything I could do to help her out. Tearfully she said she was fine. But later on she confessed that her genital zone was hurt. “Can you still ride?” I queried. “Yes I can but I think there is something wrong with my bike.” So I quick-examined the bike, moved it forward and back just to see if it was functioning very well. I twisted the front wheel and tried unraveling the brake cables. Eventually, I got her bike fixed and she made an effort to pedal on. Before she left, she spilled something to me “I had a bad day at work that’s why I left early… and then this bike mishap… It was a shitty day. Thanks for your help!”

I could have answered her “Well, shit happens sometimes, dear.” But I just simply said “No problem.” And off she went.

Shakespeare in Budapest

To be or not to be (in Budapest)? The question could be asked if ever Shakespeare’s monument should be in Budapest to represent a cultural aspect of the city. The monument can be found by walking along the Danube bank on the Pest side. Why was it erected in the city? Does he have a bloodline with the Magyars still living in Budapest today? Or was it just arbitrarily erected due to Shakespearean influence to Magyars?

Continue reading here

Kitties are notorious for being able to find their sanctuaries when they need to be alone or to catnap. Just like my cat, I find him everywhere in the flat (on top of cabinets, under the bed, closets, boxes, he thinks he owns the whole place. Sometimes I find that annoying but what can I do? He’s a cat, he dominates, he does whatever pleases him, and he snores or makes strange sounds whenever he’s asleep. He attempted to get into my wardrobe many times, but it’s a big ‘no no’. Sometimes I wonder if he’s a gay-cat and just wanna hang out in there and try my dresses on…

Hidden between the clothes, who is that?

I need my space. Please leave me alone for a while.

I said 'Leave me alone!' Meowgrooowwwl!!!

Sweet cat! Okay, Okay. I will leave you alone.

Grateful

When all of your hard work is appreciated and you get a round of applause,
all you have to do is to say “THANK YOU” as you go red in the face.
This slice of my life is called ‘FULFILL(mo)MENT.’
– May 20, 2010 (Result!)

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” ~Socrates

All my life I have been a student at the University of Life. I got exceptional grades in Math subjects but appallingly, until now I really don’t know how figures of percentage work! Despite my sheepishness, I obtained the “Best Debater” title, but this did not make me a politician like Obama. Getting A’s in philosophy did not bring out the Socrates in me either. So why then I endured and still enduring the demands of schools, professors and myself? Because I knew nothing, and that I still believe that education brainwashes me in a positive way. This credence in some measure offers us a substantial knowledge and wisdom in life, you agree or not. Education, either acquired mainly from books or experiences, has opened my eyes to the fact that I know nothing; hence I defied ignorance and orders from those who uttered “You can’t do that!”

Whatever learning I hold now did not come from my B.A. in English or any other language degrees. My emergence came from the tribulations and challenges that I have willingly and reluctantly faced in life. You can quote me on this: “Wisdom emerges from stupidity”. My stupid mistakes and laughable opinions stirred my desire for knowledge and steered me to collect wisdom. Though I don’t consider myself wise, I value the wisdom I have learned from people whom I have high regard for and with the character traits that I admire.

I know that I know nothing that’s why I spend hours at the library to dig knowledge; I take time to work  in a sublime fashion and passion to learn skills I do not have, and I find ways to travel to expand my horizons. I know that I know nothing therefore I endeavor to learn whatever it is I ought to absorb. My desire for wisdom is beyond my own comprehension. Reading books will not satisfy that desire, but at best, perhaps it can lead me to fulfilling at least one goal… to seek not to know the answers, but to understand my theories and conjectures.

Page by page, will this change you into a sage?

Let me learn, let me learn.

Facebooking

Facebook has its strong points, no doubt. For many, it can be a harmless way to pass a little time — if you ever wondered what your best friend from the sixth grade, who moved to Kansas, is now doing at 35, it’s a fun and easy way to reconnect. For others, it can even be a career-boosting, social-networking strategy — suppose you made a great work connection at a recent party, but forgot to get his email …

Facebook cuts through all the usual boundaries of time and space and takes you directly to the virtual doorstep of the person you’re looking for. It’s a cultural phenomenon, with more than 400 million users, that some would say has improved our quality of life and brought us all closer together. Others, however, might strongly disagree.

Two Real-Life Examples
Valerie (not her real name) is an unemployed music writer in her 30s. Her live-in boyfriend Max is at an ad agency job full-time. Valerie is alone at home for hours, scouring the Internet for job listings. Says Valerie, “On ‘the Face,’ I don’t have to go searching for company. I can talk to my family or my friends back home. They’re at my fingertips.”

For Valerie, it’s also a place to make connections with record labels, musicians, and as she puts it, “people of my tribe.”

Her boyfriend, Max (not his real name), has a slightly different take on the situation: “Every time I turn around, she’s on that thing. It’s like she’s on a constant Facebook IV drip. She will sit staring at the screen watching the updates on the damned feed, or check to see who ‘liked’ her postings. I am beginning to think she doesn’t like me.”

Darcy (also not her real name) broke up with a guy six months ago, and discovered, via Facebook, that he is in a new relationship. “Last week, he changed his relationship status. I’ve seen the pictures of him with this new girl, and it kills me. I wish he’d block me to save me from myself,” she related.

Expert Opinions
Says Paula Pile, a marriage and family therapist in Greensboro, North Carolina, in a CNN interview: “Last Friday, I had three clients in my office with Facebook problems. It’s turned into a compulsion — a compulsion to dissociate from your real world and go live in the Facebook world.”

According to Joanna Lipari, a clinical psychologist at the University of California (from the same CNN interview): “Facebook is a fun, pleasant, happy, beautiful world. People only present the crème de la crème of their lives … And these people want to be your friends! It’s very seductive.”

For people like Darcy, who have a tendency to fixate or obsess about past loves, Facebook provides the negative excitement she craves.

Some Pointed Questions
Asking yourself the following questions may be helpful in figuring out if you’ve degenerated into a full-blown Facebook junkie:

1. Are you spending less time with family and friends so you can be online?
2. Do you procrastinate or put off work to just get a little more Facebook time?
3. Does the thought of being off of Facebook for more than a day make you extremely anxious?
4. Do you think about Facebook when you lay in bed at night?
5. When you’re tagged, do you feel on top of the world?

If you’ve answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s time for a little DIY rehab.

How to Fix the Problem
Just as they do in AA, the first step is admitting you have a problem. The second is asking the universe for some help, and the next is inventorying your activity. Record how much time you’re spending and what you are actually doing when you are on the website. Next, form some boundaries. Limit your time and have some goals, for example: “I will do half an hour a day, max” or “Today, I will comment on only two friend’s posts.”

Most importantly, start fortifying your three-dimensional existence. Attempt to make it as interesting and fulfilling (or more) than your virtual life. Take a walk in the sun, volunteer, see a therapist, read a book, plant a garden, start that novel you’ve always wanted to write, change the color of your hair, and talk with and touch the ones you love. Life goes by too quickly, and with a little work and courage, reality really doesn’t have to bite.


Credit: Tracy Lyndon

Coming to Berlin

Berlin, Berlin, wir faren nach Berlin! The night before my travel, insomnia attacked me, the case I always experience when I get excited about my trip. Berlin here I come!

I was so glad that I’ve got a ‘no-train changing’ ticket and that was according to the travel agent, who explained my itinerary. She clearly said that the train I was going to take would go straight to Berlin Hauptbahnhof- the Main Station. That’s great! I could sleep the entire trip. Alrighty! I got an itinerary of fuss instead. And the adventure comes knocking. (Verbs in present tense, as I reminisce these events.) Continue reading here

The Brick Walls

“You should blog often.” Taken as a demand or a compliment? Compliment. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be posting this. Besides, somebody told me to write a new entry to reverse the theme of my previous posts. You know, it’s sort of discomfiting that those posts were perceived as downbeat. I quote: “Read between the lines. Your posts suggest the theme so-called “I-hate-the-world.” Indeed, ‘In the Bleak Winter’ itself implies a Hades moment in my life. That doesn’t humor me at all.

To start with, I am pleased to say that I am coherently blissful! Last week, I wanted to pronounce my incomprehensible joy through scribbling, but thought the feeling would subside. I just didn’t know why I felt that way— maybe because I have suddenly learned how to unchain myself from the unknown fear.

When I was still moping around (due to the bad feedback on my project), the comment of Holly jumped out at me: “I hope you cheer up soon! Sometimes when things don’t work out the way we thought or planned, it’s actually a blessing. It just takes a while to figure it out. Hang in there!” True enough, I couldn’t agree more with her. Days before 2009 ended, I thought December would mark the denouement of the rat year, troubles rat-a-tat-tatted on me however. I went on sulking for a week. I partied, I smiled and laughed but the sting of failure traveled deep inside my nerves. Until one day, I got a call from a woman, whom I believed to be a secretary of the department.

Woman: “Did you receive the email we sent you yesterday?”
Me:         “No, I didn’t. What was it all about?”
Woman: “You suppose to meet the admin director today at 11 am.”
Me:         “It’s already 12 noon. What do you want me to do?”
Woman: “How about 2pm?”
Me:         “When? Today?”
Woman: “Yes.”
Me:         “Mmmm… Okay, 2pm. I’ll be there.”

Right after this call, I asked myself why I said yes to that meeting; I would just be blabbering the same explanation. But I went anyway. Then I met the giant guy in his office- there I vindicated my left and right side. To my surprise he bought my explanation. In other words, I was given the last chance to redo my project, but on one condition- aside from that project, I had to do another book-digging and commit-to-memory task. Towards the end of this tête-à-tête, I vented my gratitude for his consideration, but what I really would like to tell him was “Sorry, but I am not gonna do it. I quit. It’s finito!” I’d like to believe the project was not going anywhere and it would just be a waste of time, but in the back of my mind, I felt the need to redeem myself with these two formidable tasks that I considered ‘brick walls’. I have climbed them once but I slipped and fell. In that sense though, I think they were beyond a reasonable doubt worth a second try. In like manner, I have climbed tougher and more daunting brick walls than these, so why should I chicken out this time?

Correspondingly, I did what I ought to do— WMAO (Work My Ass Off). With the given deadline, I had to stretch tasks to fit the time I had. I would go to bed at 4am-ish as soon as I finished deciphering information and arguments with my grotesque thinking and my eyes crossing. Those sleepless nights never failed to smear my eyes with dark eye shadows. I got pressured to the edge and turned my Christmas vacation into ho-LID-day. Think of a scenario when you have to bottle yourself in with a restraint or a lid to stay focused. After a determined effort, I got the project done before the cutoff date. The agony of waiting for the result made me antsy for days. Eventually, when I got it yesterday, I said “Cloud Nine”. The toil has paid off handsomely, I made it over the wall. Redemption accomplished. I can now move on to another brick wall.

Indeed, brick walls suggestively, are there for a reason- to hold us back, to shut us off or to stop us. When faced with challenging brick walls, we come to the point in our life where we have to decide whether to painstakingly climb/crush those walls or just withdraw. Either way, it shows how desperately we want something, thus, executing the Law of Intention.

Wrapping up, this experience has certainly proved to be a positive one despite  the negative undergoing, for it has helped my inner strength grow at least an inch.

So to You, you, you, and you,  you know who you are, THANK YOU!

Now, I need a real getaway vacation.

In the Bleak Winter

A lot of people like snow. Many frown on it; others call it the white culprit of the road troubles.

But as for me, snow gives me the feeling (just a feeling) of accepting the realities in life that are tough to handle, and deal with the facts “on the ground.” The mantle of snow suggests a life-tracker like me to look up and look more closely at the edges of every cloud and find the silver lining.

HAPPY WINTER!

When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow your trampoline🙂

Fill and Spill

1. Today, I danced under the snowfall. It was amazing.

2. Today, I realized I don’t have what it takes to make it through to become that something I wanted to be. Ironically, I had hit the bottom when I reached the top.

3. Today, I grieved over the death of a research project. The result was  absolutely, disturbingly terrible. It was the first and the worst feedback I have ever seen in my life. And that very single word was like a weapon turned against me like a dagger.

4. Today, I found  Zumi Armani, my cat, licking my tears away. I was not sure if he knew I was down, but it made me giggle. Sanity saved!

5. Today, I wanted to hug my mother even for just a mile a minute but we’re Roman miles away from each other.

6. Today, my mind went numb, too much going on, but I was moving like a machine dragging my burdens to nowhere.

7. Today, my mind, my thoughts seemed really lame and narrow. Busted.

8. Today, I sat down on my own little world— contemplating, feeling dramatic and laughing at myself.

9. Today, I pondered over Helen Keller’s words- “The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” Thank you Helen. That has been a big help.

10.Today, I am going to enjoy my lobster dinner. TYG.

White Flakes

White flakes of snow falling,
A change of mood I’m feeling.
Joy from within is showing,
Snow gods I see ’em smiling.

As out the window,
Girls, putting on a show,
Boys, going with the flow.
Take it slow snow, take it slow.

Upon this afternoon
I wish to get out of my cocoon,
To dance under this heaven’s boon
Oh snow, don’t peter out so soon.


December 15, 2009
I wrote this poem while waiting for the next class.

Post-Natal Day Reflections

Before you read further, let me start by offering my deepest gratitude for all your gracious birthday greetings. To my dear family, friends, Regal Hill, THANK YOU ALL: without all your support, things would have been very different. Most of all, To The One Up There, Thank You for this Life.

The day after my birthday gave me a lot of time to think about what is truly important to me at this time of my life. I’ve really lived such an incredible life. I have done lots of mistakes and learned from them.

I am _ _ years old. I am the age of my heart. The thought of being in this age didn’t bring with it uninhibited joy, but a feeling of trepidation. Basically, I haven’t treated this natal day the way I treated any other birthday.

Even supposing that I had already accomplished a lot- university, career (even laid low career), school after school, etc.- I still can’t help but ask myself “What road would I take next?” Wherever I am at this point, I can honestly say I am happy. There are times however, those worry wart-evil thoughts keep shaking me and poking my guts. “Are you lost? Are you doing what you wanted to do? Are you truly where you wanted to be?”  Suddenly, I feel the urge to take a deep breath. Sigh. Deep, cleansing breaths. On occasion, tiny fluids secreted by the lacrimal glands of my eyes instinctively drop, how salty they are. And yet, when whimpering’s done I feel better again and when my tear ducts shut, I feel my own renewal of hope, and my own sense of purpose. Everyone feels the same way once in a while. Human nature.

The past few years I have been piloted in an unexpected personal wave of uncertainty and anxiety. I have embraced my sadness and darkness in order to see the light and experience true bliss. Despite setbacks, I have kept and still keep on going. With that said, I have built my inner strength  through learning the hard way.  I have journeyed down many different roads; have pushed huge stones aside for me to let through. I have mapped a different route in life. The fact is, sometimes the things we’re most passionate about- the things we would most like to accomplish in life- are the very blueprints we tend to put off. Time flies, and that half-decorated wall is still waiting in vain, or that half-started postgraduate degree is balanced out, or the course that we so want to take is neglected,  merely because we can’t seem to find a way to start or pursue it. Making those big dreams come true is not as easy as eating cakes on your birthday.

Nonetheless, I have had my heart set on living my dreams (perhaps aimless dreams). On living those dreams, I have stared various proverbial forks in the road. Life has been constantly teaching me. It has taught me how to focus on the choices I have to make every time I find myself standing pensively at one of those forks in the road. I may not have all the answers to my stupid questions; I may not reach all my goals, but the important thing is to keep striving toward one. No matter how overwhelmed I feel, how impossible the odds seem I always take time to step back and envision the life I want to have. I have been the seedling in a cultural desert, wanting ever so much to be grown, to be something more than what I am.

How old am I again? Bugger! Age is not a particularly interesting subject especially for a person like me. Anyone can get old. But we should turn not older with years, but newer everyday.

So you are not where you thought you would be at 25, 30, 35, 40, 50 or 70? Everyone’s life plan swerves off course at some point. It’s the journey that matters the most. It is the journey that makes the person. It is the journey that transforms a person from being average to enjoy stratospheric success. It is the journey that changes lives.

Now that I’ve turned _ _, I’m no longer afraid of what’s in store, albeit feeling a bit angst-ridden. I’m stepping into the next greatest evolution of myself. This time I should know what I really want. Unlike a birthday present, life is not always neatly packaged and tied with a bow. I know how to grow old but still stay young😉. I haven’t really mastered any single wisdom yet, but I believe wisdom has its own way of sinking itself deep into my core.

In all instances,  I would wish to open my heart and mind a little wider. To walk to the edge. To scan well the horizons. To live well- to laugh often- to love much. To choose with no regret. To do what I love. Above all, I wish to be a stronger and better person today than I was yesterday.

Suck in Air

Recap of the Last Week

Monday:

At work. Had a simple talk with the boss. Appreciated it.

Tuesday:

When I checked my emails early today, I got a comment message from RV. (Hey big bro, how’s Saudi? I so missed your company.) I didn’t have any clue what the message might be about. So I logged in to that site and saw his birthday greetings. He said he wanted to be the very first one to greet me a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”. I was touched, but I hahaha-ed. Is it my birthday yet? Thanks for reminding, bro. But right now, I have to come to grips with my research papers. Piles of books on the table. Finished work to be submitted on my natal day.

At noon, I went to the spa. Before I left home I did some swift plucking on my eyebrows. If the facialist would notice those unwanted hair on my face, she might probably tell me to have them honeycombed.  That won’t be necessary though, and I will not allow her  to talk me into doing it. No thanks. Thus, I tried to pluck out every misplaced hair growing below my eyebrows. Looking at my eye crowns with  naked eyes, I thought my face looked polished. But when I rolled the curtains to make the flat brighter, scratch that! Cute little mustaches have grown on my upper lip. Straightaway, I grabbed a shaver and mowed my face. Afterwards, I headed down to the spa clinic.

I felt so invigorated after getting my facial. The facialist was great.

Wednesday:

At work. Toiled big time

After the 8-4 grind, dragged my trolley to the train station to meet up with study- group mates in the city.  Thoroughly, we discussed about the individual research paper. Until now, the task we ought to do is still blurry.

Thursday:

Library. Borrowed books that are needed for the papers.

Meet up with group mates, again.

Wanted to start my article but I needed a “nerve tonic” to do so.

Friday:

Knuckled myself down to work, assiduously.

BIRTHDAY. That’s in few days. Plotted to throw a big blasty party but resolved to make it a solemn one. Planned to go for a trip to Iceland or Greenland but can’t do a faraway flight. Planned other activities in lieu of party but little did I know that we’ll have a horrid exam on my red- letter day, which means I have to do loads of swotting. Can’t I just get exempted? Bang, NO. I am not considering a party after the exam either, but I will definitely kick back, relax and CARPE DIEM.

BIRTHDAY WISHES: My folks asked me, “What do you want  on your birthday?” As I always say, “Don’t make a fuss about gifts.” Each time I’m asked “any birthday wishes? Do you want this and that?”. I come back with my platitude “Nothing.” An iPhone? (got one already ;-)). Besides, I have already gotten a grand birthday gift last summer- one of the greatest gifts that a celebrant could ever receive. Thanks to Regal Hill.

Wish list: I just want something substantial this year. Practically, gifts are fine, but I’d rather wish the things I haven’t done or accomplish yet in my life. Receiving messages from friends and families would immensely make my day. A card in the mail is always nice, but I never expect anything. For me, giving gifts has become overrated to some extent. However, I love giving gifts to my close friends and family on their birthdays.

********

I’ve got to plug away at my paper work.

Wish me a super fabulous, full of laughter birthday!

Signing off.

CARPE DIEM

The Fabulous Stroll

The Fabulous Stroll

I am here- a reason enough to be happy. And I am happy in the shoes I am wearing. I love where I am. I love the people around me. I embrace my body. I love myself. It is who I am, and it and I am fabulous exactly as I am. I love something- anything, anyone. Reality is good, tumultuous, exciting , thrilling and exasperating. In all its intensity, life is what you make it.

In the real world, all we’re really guaranteed to have is right here, right now. So why not learn to love our life in this instant, instead of thinking about the future all the time.

*Carpe Diem*

To pee, or not to pee: that's not the question

To pee, or not to pee: that's not the question

Go somewhere with natural beauty- even a quiet garden will do. Give yourself a moment to be in touch with nature, like you were as a child. Take your problems for a walk, a long one. Things seem better after a good walk. Take a pause. Pose for the camera. Add fun to your strolls. See my picture? What you think of me is none of my business. Just laugh at it🙂, hahaha!

“Show Me Your Sloggi”

Never wear anything that panics my lips. hehe! I'm just goofing around with Sloggi-girls :-)

Never wear anything that panics my lips. hehe! I'm just goofing around with Sloggi-girls🙂

Sloggi is eminent for plastering underwear clad derrières on billboards throughout Europe. It has some alluring ads that make both men and women want to rush and buy their latest panties and thongs. From tops, Midi briefs, maxi shorts in extremely highest quality-fine cotton & lycra to G-string, whoever is wrapped by these sloggi undergarments will attest ‘it’s got the perfect fit and superb soft stretch comfort which is really snug for everyday wear’. Do I sound like beating the drum for SLOGGI? You tell me, but I just wanna tell you that it is one of my darling lingerie.

Recently, I have purchased some ladies boxer shorts but I’m not so keen on them. They are as pricey as the Sloggi. I love their cute designs, but after wearing them a couple of times, I saw the garment’s true nature. Disappointing. Nice, but not real value for money.

Over the last couple of years, I have been a sloggi fan except for the butterfly hipster and thongs. I am hesitant about wearing thongs. I feel super squeamish about how it feels to have cloth between the cheeks, that it bothers me so much that I am thinking of wrenching it out right away. The maxi sloggi shorts however, give me the feeling of being naughty and flirty. Know what I’m saying?

The certain thing I like about the Sloggi underwear is that, it does not lose-loose its shape over the days, even if you wash and dry it frequently. So, wear sloggi underwear for comfort and confidence from within. And who knows you’ll be spotted to model for their ads or if you get lucky, you may even be able to obtain the title “World’s Most Beautiful Bottom”😉.

“ME” First?

On a scale of 1 – 10, what do you think the average person would rate their general happiness? And what would you rate yourself?

Asking those questions doesn’t denote that I wanna talk about happiness. But rather I wanna point out the very pretext of unhappiness- Selfishness… the greatest curse of the human raise according to William Gladstone.

Selfishness is devotion to or concern with one’s own advantage or welfare to the exclusion of regard for others. Science and religion both teach selfishness: That the first rule of life is self preservation, which results in “me first” and the creed of materialism. Selfishness results from the original sin of separateness (separation). Selfishness are a primary or sole concern with one’s own welfare. It is the stinginess resulting from a concern for your own welfare and a disregard of others.

1) The human being who lives only for himself finally reaps nothing but unhappiness. Selfishness corrodes. Unselfishness ennobles, satisfies. Don’t put off the joy derivable from doing helpful, kindly things for others.
B. C. Forbes

2) “Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.”
Lao-tzu

Th0se two quotes can be used to describe the selfish nature of some humans or to compare to the nature of some particular animals which are known to be selfish. These quotes can also be quoted to motivate people to not always work for their selfish interests but sometimes work for the humanity as a whole as well.

JM: We just have so many different opportunities to reach out. And we think about how we’re not happy, and we don’t have these, we need that, and what we can do to be happy. You hear me say this all the time but I gotta say this again:

“YOU CAN’T BE SELFISH AND HAPPY.”

Outfoxing Pressure

Pressure makes Diamonds, I say.

Pressure makes Diamonds, I say.

We all like to feel we can change the course of our lives. As humans, we have an innate need to feel that we had the power to do things differently. We assume responsibility for all manner of events. But what if amidst the haste, we wilt under pressure?

Due to the current tasks I have put on myself, I am being suffocated by pressure.  At first I didn’t want to admit that I easily get stressed out, but I eventually have learned to face this fact, which is too uncomfortable to accept. Despite what may be overwhelming evidence, it’s still not easy for me to acknowledge the word ‘pressure’ because I don’t want the world to perceive or see me as a person who cannot juggle several balls in the air nor cope with reality. Everywhere I go, pressure follows me, but I know it’s my own choice whether to let pressure squeeze me out or I rule over it. Who doesn’t wanna do the latter anyway?

As of now, I am seeking some kind of emotional solace. With that as an aim, I have to constantly remind myself that I have to respond to this pressure in a way that I could find strength and freedom. There’s no denying that we live in a stressful world, however, if I always have to respond with apprehension, cringing in fear, then I’ll get totally eaten up and will not be able to pull things off. Now, to reframe these pressures that are surrounding me, I have to get a grip of my belief that thingamajigs are continually getting better. I simply wanna create something beautiful in life. And since I expect things to improve, thinking positive is a very powerful catalyst for turning things around (It’s easier said than done huh). Sometimes seeing myself in the third person, I look so funny once I get panicky. Yet, I am very thankful for the people who know me quite well and who are just there to remind me to calm down. She said, he said “Take it easy”; he said, she said “Can you just be more positive…” These sound excruciating to me but I’ve got to crunch them.

Okay, let me think of a single positive side of pressure or stress… Well, I lost weight and have come down to 48 kgs. One-dimensional, but this is what allowed me to honestly say, “I FEEL GREAT :-)! wearing a pair of Levi’s slim fit jeans with a flaunt of 25-inch waistline.

To wrap up, nobody is immune from pressure and stress and it’s true that usually they just come and they go. The thing is, there’s really no need to walk around feeling a bit strung out and overstretched, especially when you have a busy day planned.

On Flying

I used to dream about being an astronaut. All my thoughts were about the space, the sky… Thinking about the sky makes me feel so high…

My desire to fly is an idea handed down to me by the old, library-scented books I had dug and read when I was a kid. Ironically, I became a “language person” for I am not a data geek. I am not good with numbers, either.

Flying. This is the closest thing to my childhood dream. I have been on many different forms of transportation, different planes- but all my life, I’ve never been able to get enough airplanes. Why, is there anything more beautiful than an intrepid bird-like vessel, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? You must rise above the Earth- mingle with the clouds, get closer to the horizon, to the top of the atmosphere- for only thus you fully understand the world in which you live.

Double checking

Double checking

I love the look of planes and the idea of how a plane flies. The more I learn about it the better I feel. Based on what I’ve read, there are all these other dimensional planes and spaces, mathematically proven. But Math? So sad, I have to go cross eyed to see numbers…

Parachute is cute :-)

Parachute is cute🙂

Minds, like parachutes, only work when open. So so let’s work it out!

On my post

On my post

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” — L. da Vinci

Savoring the view from above

Savoring the view from above

“Unlike the boundaries of the sea by the shorelines, the “ocean of air” laps at the border of every state, city, town and home throughout the world.” — Welch Pogue

Into the blue sky

Into the blue sky

G- FLIGHT

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of rope
A few feet from “The Road”.
I whip the Schweitzer ’round so fast
Exceeds the max’mum load.
I’ve slipped, I’ve stalled, I’ve spiral dived,
Spun past the sixth full turn.
“You can’t do that!” the new ones say,
They’ve got a lot to learn.
I find a thermal, turn in it
To try and gain some height.
But I must beat the towplane down
Or this is my last flight!
On 2-3 fly a crooked base
Then crank the plane around.
Or 2-9: pass the hangars then I dive straight for the ground!
But the best is 3-6 final when I know I should be higher,
Put out my hand and touch The passing telephone wire!

I had a date today. Wanting to look great, I spent a lot of time getting ready. I already planned what to wear- a dress that I have never worn yet with the price tag still attached. But after weighing myself, I ended up wearing a semi-skimpy Chinese dress, which I bought in China 4 years ago, ho ho. I’ve been keeping it in my closet because it’s one my favorites. Besides, it was Mimi who chose it for me. I’ve only used it thrice and I’ve hung onto it (rather than giving it away), thinking “It will still fit me after 4 or 10 years and this will help me  watch my bulk or even drop some more of it.”

As I looked fixedly at the dress, I talked nonsense to it, “Okay, I’ve lost weight (a bit), so maybe I’ll fit into you again.” Voila! It still fits me quite well, except for the right-side zipper. I tried to zip it up, and up and up holding my breath. Darn! I took it off and changed bra into sports bra, then wore the dress for the second time around and zipped it up again. Nudge! The dress got back to me and squelched me, “Hey, you don’t alter me to fit you, you alter yourself to fit me.” Huh, so now you’re like a nagging Vera! Good Wang, help me fit into this dress, please! Lucky me, I got a helping hand so had it zipped up. Considering we have seats reservation and we can’t be late, I didn’t bother changing the dress into another outfit. OFF WE GO!

My date took me to a nice restaurant. When we got there, the waiter pointed out our table. A simple act of chivalry, my date pulled up a chair for me and I sat down at the table composedly. Indeed a real gentleman. The ambiance was great, too. The waiter was very accommodating that he came to our table twice just to check if we were ready to order. He just couldn’t wait to serve us. A few minutes later, we agreed to go only for starters and the main courses with side dishes and champagne, no sweets.

After chowing down the starter, I already felt a bit bloated and uneasy. It was apparent that I was having a snag with the dress,  so my date asked me if I was all right. Looking perturbed, I said “I’m fine. Just needs a loose move, is all.” Cognizant of the embarrassment I could possibly create, I whispered to him “If I have to eat more, my dress zipper would burst or split open.” We kept on giggling as if we both thought this thing was equally hilarious.  Anyhow, I managed the main course (tasty lamb prepared with spinach, butter and  that’s full of flavor). Likewise, I managed to wedge myself into that wear. But boy, I could hardly move. I even had to use my jacket to cover up my right side part, that was looking awkwardly ‘stiff zipped’. All I could think of at that moment was the relief from this ‘tuck-it-all-in’ dress despite the rather embarrassing nature of the situation.

We supposed to stay longer for a chitchat but I told him I wanted to go. When the bill was paid, we left with contented smile on our face.

The date was relatively fun;  food-wise, it was pretty good.

In my mind though, “With all the dresses in my closet, why this one?” It was foolish of me to wear this tonight.

Vanity Unfair. I’ve been jogging these days. I believe I’ve lost weight. Well, scrutinizing myself in the mirror, though my tummy is flat, got curves (not to toot my own horn), I  still regard myself as slim but no longer skinny!

Pondering:

1) Shall I blame the washing machine for shrinking the dress?

2) Do my fat cells have to notice all my calorie intake from mindless eating?

3) Am I too obsessed with this dress that I couldn’t bid farewell to and that I don’t wanna accept the fact that I’ve already outgrown it not in height but in girth?

4) Rather than discussing a more relevant topic, am I just too vain to think about my BWH (vital statistics) and write this lousy-vain blog?

5) Is this teaching me something about the art of letting go? I guess.

This may seem going out of the subject matter  and unconnected to the immediate context but I just wanna stretch it a bit.

Here’s the rub:

Sometimes the way we clean out our closet reflects how we clean out a relationship. Whether we realize it or not, people who aren’t in our life anymore can still be affecting us on a daily basis. Sure we’ve let go of the physical, psychological or emotional clutter associated with the past, let’s say with an ex.

More to the point, oftentimes we find it hard, if not possible, no matter how unhealthy and futile the relationship has become, to let it go. Most of us are willing to do everything in our power to try to make “meant to be” relationship work.

The same goes for that tight red dress I was trying to fit into me with a concerted effort. “Is there anything in your life that you absolutely would not get rid of because it has sentimental value?” Ask me, I say- a lot. And one of them is this dress. Not only the sentimental sense, it’s got a ‘woot woot’ value as well😉. I can just buy new dress to replace it anytime, but since I love it so dearly, I  keep it  in the closet and valued it as one of my special collections.

Much sentimental value in it but I figured it was time to give it away and offer it to someone who will love it and wear it delightfully.

To aphorize, as we eventually move on from the past, we come to understand that the way hang onto something is like the way we hang up on someone who is wrong for us.

The review of the beach getaways wouldn’t be complete without these pictures.

Ocean breeze blowing,
Ocean waves breaking,
Beachers suntanning,
Me- playing, giggling, jumping

"Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun."

"Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun."

Stretch my arms up,
Then jump up!
Greeting the air, hey wazzup?!
Oh summer, you simply make me hup hup!!

That happy dog at the beach,
Its joy is always in reach.
Chasing and barking,
When seagulls screeching.

beachy dog

beachy dog

At the beach, hearts chortle and whistle,
Young lovers closely nestle.
Even if the sun is on sizzle,
In their world, they undisturbedly nuzzle.

Kissy, kissy ;-)

Kissy, kissy😉

Gravity from sun pulls the water away from the earth’s surface.
Tiny bits and pieces from the sea are washed by waves into the shore’s face-
Pebbles, kelp,  seaweeds, and tiny fish.
A school of fish? No. An entire university on the shore dish.

Tiny Silvery Fish

Tiny Silvery Fish

As I walk along, some of these fish struggle around my feet
I keep rounding them up and throwing them back into the semi-arctic,
But I realized that I couldn’t save them all,
Oh tiny shoal,
Keep your eyes on those waves of cunning knuckleball.

Looking down at them, I marvel in chary,
What’s your story, silvery?

Tell me your tale

Tell me your tale

Hush! Halt the  drama
Let’s sing da da da
Miss summer flash your smile

Photo-op under the sun :-)

Photo-op under the sun🙂

Mr. Summer, (with your gals) go the extra mile!

Borat's protégé

Borat's protégé

My First Time…

Would you go to the movie theater alone?

How often do you go see a movie at the theater by yourself?

I go to movies with somebody, a date, family or friends. I actually kind of prefer it that way. But Yay! I finally did it today, matinee time!

I was contemplating on seeing Bruno for fun but Luc gave some options before seeing the movie. He suggested me to see ICE AGE if I didn’t wanna be disgusted by the Borat guy.

At the movie theater, as I was ordering for a ticket, the cashier gave me a pity look, “Are you sure just one ticket?” I said it proud, “Yes, ONE ticket for ICE AGE.” Strangely, he didn’t ask me where I wanted to sit. Going over the details of the ticket, “What?! He gave me a seat in a corner.”, murmured I.

Then I realized when I was looking for the seat number, I’ve got the best seat ever. Seat number 1, the midmost part of the theater. By the fact that I’m a moviegoer, I felt so stupid not to know about this thing.

It was uncomfortable and I felt strange at first, but once I parked myself in there, I felt better. It was actually empowering, however the idea of not having someone to make snarky or funny comments to, that sucked. It was a little awkward too while I was sitting before the show with nobody to talk to.

Another gauche feeling IS that, during the comedy, you laugh really hard and look at the people next to you, and some of them don’t return that warm nebulous feeling.

But overall, I feel really gratified. And that is what matters the most.

So to those who have been contemplating on going to the movie theatre alone, don’t fret. People don’t even notice you are alone. Even if they do, who cares? You are there to enjoy a film, so have a ball !

There’s nothing more enjoyable than waking up on warm summer morning to the birds chirping and the sun gleaming. And oh la la! The smell of suntan lotion in the air, and all the tanned souls walking around under the blue sky…

The promise of summer unfolds- a time to renew, recharge and be more in harmony with the world. Summer simply appears in all its glorious beauty. We become more relaxed, calmer and our mental state naturally alters in the warm rays of the sun. What’s not to love about summer?

Sure-fire, the heat can be uncomfortably hot and stuffy, but the benefits far overshadow the few negative things about summer. Taking a vacation and going down to beaches make you forget about things for a while.

Yes, the beach! Having the opportunity to dip your feet into the ocean (with cheery waves hugging your bare skin) makes you feel good. Life seems easier and lovelier in this season. Don’t you just love watching couples walking on the beach, some kissing on blanket on soft white sand? They look so romantic, don’t they?!

But what’s significant being at the beach is that you can feel the soothing effect of the sea. I could just sit on the sand and watch the breadth of the briny. The large ripples on ocean, curling over and falling as it reaches the shore, make you feel like you are being swept away into paradise. Moreover, you blank over the hassles of life and simply enjoy the cool water lapping at your feet as you contemplate your prescience into the horizon. Without a doubt, the sea has some potent power to make you think things you like to think. Even more amazing is looking at the clear blue sky- not a single cloud can be seen.

“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.-I.N.”

“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.-I.N.”

To boot, what else do you get from beaching? Tanned skin. Summer gives you a chance to put a little color into your fair skin before winter comes. Seeing your naturally sunburnt skin makes you feel sexier🙂 and gives you so much pleasure.

Most importantly, when all the good things about summer are well-thought-out, the feeling of solitude at the beach cannot be repudiated, even if you’re with friends, someone you love or family. And when you finally have gripped this so called blue serenity, the voice of the sea speaks to your soul as you feel at one with God’s grandest bequest of nature… Ahhh, summer.

Be off to the broad, blue sunny deep tomorrow again. Gonna enjoy the summer to my heart’s content and shouldn’t be just a couch potato, sitting inside blogging at all😉.

Enjoy your summer, everyone!

Wii!!! Nintendo Aficionado

I heart to Wii!!!

I heart to Wii!!!

Are you addicted to Wii? I seem to be.

I’m not a geeky gamer but I really enjoy Wii Nintendo: Wii Fit, Wii Play, Wii Sing, Wii Sports etc. Back when I was still a teener, I’d seen my siblings played Mario or Playstation. I was happiest as their spectator rather than as a player.

But I am a spectator no more. I’ve learned how to get wired with Wii  games and sports- Tennis, Baseball, Boxing, Bowling and Hula Hoop simply make shimmer, lol!

This is how I spend my time these days. Basically, when I’m not online, I’m either blowing tanks or Wii- boxing. Wii Play is what I’m diggin’ at the moment. It offers billiards, fishing, table tennis rally, shooting gallery, Mii poses, and a cow- riding race. ‘Tank battles’ is my darling game. I’ve actually reached Mission 18 but until now I can’t move up to Mission 20.  Hide or attack, when playing tank battles I surely look like a war freak.

I have had a great 2 months of Nintendo Wii. It’s a great way of taking some time for a little stress management, aside from a long walk or jogs, primal scream or something along these lines. Imagine me playing hours of Wii tennis and Wii bowling continuously until my arms ache. It’s not exactly like the real thing- swing your arm across the room, but I’m learning some skills. With Wii Play, (whatever your age is) it tests your physical and mental reflexes.

This thing is getting under the techno line, but I still recommend you to get Wii a.s.a.p., if you don’t have one. It is loads of fun and exercise. You will definitely enjoy it! The coolest aspect of the games is the physical activity especially the Wii Fit.

Are you also a Wii addict (like me)? If you are, hit me up and let’s play!

Frizzy-Frisky-Freaky Friday

Windy- pouring- cold Friday afternoon, I hit the road for the party. The train dawdled; I wouldn’t get there in time. Such weather didn’t allow me to wear shoes. Thus, the rubber slippers made them ideal for wearing while walking under the rain. My umbrella had no use since the rain moved in different directions. Holding the umbrella, I struggled against the wind, running and I must say “This is a perfect weather for the 2009 SUMMER fest.”

When I finally got to the venue, everybody was rubbernecking at my unpleasantly wet feet. So I thoroughly dry them at once and put on the LV shoes. I was just on time for the ‘warm- up’ drink before setting off to the party hall. My colleagues were in high spirits to see me after a month- long vacay. It was exciting to see them all again.

The Party:

First course meal:  Salmon with greenies

Entertainment:  The Stand- up comedians- in their purple costumes

The Purplic Duo with the wannabe comedian

The Purplic Duo with the wannabe comedian

She also entertains the plants at the party :-)

She also entertains the plants at the party🙂

Chow:  Buffet- your taste, your pick

Dessert:  Almond Cake

Booze:  Vodka, Cognac, Beer, Red and White wine, etc.

Party High Spots:

Chats with comrades

No to colas but yes to booze

Photo ops

Dance- like no one is watching. They bang, she bangs, he bangs, we bang! The dance enthusiasts were all out. So was I. The band was awesome- they made us want to dance even more. Kicked off our shoes and bopped on the floor.

Dancin' Barefoot

Dancin' Barefoot

Most of time spent at the bash was dancing and drifting around.

:-)

🙂

Big boys don't gossip ;-)

Big boys don't gossip😉

Not so tipsy (^.^)

Not so tipsy (^.^)

Had such a great time! Really cool people, cozy dance floor and amusing comedians.

Before the party ended, I and a colleague made our quiet exit. The rain gave up a bit when we walked to the train station. Unfortunately, we missed the last train. No option but to take a taxi. While my colleague was waiting for her hubby to pick her up, I was obliviously passing out on the bench. Good thing I didn’t get mugged, otherwise I might have lost my Gucci and LV stuff. Oh my geeezzz! For the first time this year, I got tanked up! As I was about to lose my consciousness, I felt my colleague shaking me “Hey, wake up. Your taxi is here.” I tried to get to my feet with my eyes padlocked and wobbly loaded my body into the taxi. The taxi driver interrogated “Is everything all right?” I alerted my senses, maintained my composure, acted sober and responded “Yes, I’m fine.”  I pretended to look like a teetotaler for I was scared that he might do something crazy. My speech bubble spoke— Oh no no no. ‘Oh Lord, won’t you show me his halo? Turn him into an almost two winged angel.’ But in situation like this, there’s only one sure-fire way to appear sober- tell your address and keep your eyes wide open to show that you’re still up and about.

But no matter how sober you find you can act, if you’ve had too much alcohol, you just can’t hide it. The taxi driver of course wasn’t blind and stupid. He knew that I was three sheets to the wind. It was written all over my face. On the way, he asked me if I should pay with a card or cash. I said, ‘Visa card’. He subtly demanded me to hand him in my card before reaching home. However, as I dug my card out of my bag, I could feel the C2H5OH a.k.a. intoxicating alcohol streaming through my throat. I subsequently puked into the plastic bag with my slippers in it. Ewww, GROSS. Thank God I had that plastic with me, if not, I could have been charged with vomiting. “Barf in the taxi… you pay!”

After the throwing up stint, as requested, I handed him my Visa card. As soon as I’d paid,  I apologized “I’m really sorry”, then I got off the cab. He didn’t say anything, instead, he pulled over at the roadside and opened all the car doors to take the ‘barf smell’ out of the cab. He wasn’t amused for sure and who would be?

(An angel was phoned to rescue me, THANK YOU.)

Headache, hangover, stiff neck and all intoxicating effects of the alcohol hardly lullabied me. The next day, I was still vomiting the different drinks out of my fibers. And my soles looked grimy with calluses and slightly battered caused by repeated friction on the dance floor.

Lesson Learned: Always drink responsibly and in moderation to avoid negative consequences? Nah, how about ‘When partying, bring with you an in case barfbag‘ I did drink responsibly, didn’t I? (can’t recall how much I glugged though, haha!). Just let me justify, maybe my body is no longer into booze.

Having learned that ‘Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge tour’ is the best- selling tour from London, I insisted that we should take the trip. I thought if I lucked out, I could get discount tickets by 10 %. It ended up costing £69 each, which is reasonable for a guided tour from London (better than flagging down bus after bus).

The most awaited day, Monday: Got up early, walked the track and waited for the tour bus in front of Marriott Hotel-Kensington. And as written on the voucher, the bus should pick us up at 7:45. We were there at 7:30. Along with the other excited tourists, we waited for the bus. At long last, a tour bus stopped by for pick up. The tour guide (holding a list) got off the bus and started checking her list. All of us, of course, presented our reservation tickets to the guide. But when we showed ours, she said “Apologies, haplessly, this is not your tour bus.” So we kept on waiting and no bus popped by to collect us. We waited in vain till 8:30am. With puckered brows, we hurried back to the hotel to bellyache about this. The receptionist telephoned the company and did the inquiry. Eventually, we were instructed to go to the office location where buses were waiting. We zoomed to the Tube, got on the train, ran like cheetahs and finally blowed in at Victoria Station in time for the 8:45 departure. Whew! The bus ended up leaving at 9 something though as a consequence of some chaotic list hitch.

TOUR DETAILS

Follow the Pink Umbrella

Presenting our Tour Guide holding her Pink Umbrella

Presenting our Tour Guide holding her Pink Umbrella

I. WINDSOR CASTLE

Built high above the River Thames, Windsor Castle has been home to the Royal Family for 900 years and is still an Official Residence of the Queen. It’s the world’s largest and oldest castle.

Hello there! We're about to enter the Castle

Hello there! We're about to enter the Castle

To do and see:
(1) Visit the magnificent State Apartments at your leisure which are still used for State occasions and Royal receptions. The Apartments are made up of the drawing rooms, salons, ballrooms etc. The rooms themselves are striking- the paintings of previous monarchs, old weapons, world renowned artworks, wow! It’s simply spectacular.

(2) Visit the fourteenth-century St. George’s chapel, one of the most beautiful examples of medieval church architecture in England and a burial place of numerous kings and queens reside, notably Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour

(3) Check out Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and be amazed by the magnitude and intricate design of the world’s most famous Dolls’ House

By the time we got off the bus in Windsor, we took the trek up to the castle even without listening to the whole blah blahs of our pinky tour guide. The only distinct to me was: “Please follow my pink umbrella.” Ok, maybe she was implying she was the fairest of them (tour guides) all… haha! Peace coach, I’m just clowning. Pointing to the raised flag, our dear TG(tour guide) told us that the Queen was home but I didn’t spot her. But some did- lucky peeps! (The Queen’s flag, ‘the Royal Standard’, is raised at the top of the castle while she is there).

St. George’s chapel, the place of worship at Windsor Castle

St. George’s chapel, the place of worship at Windsor Castle

We had about 1 & a half hours to spend in Windsor Castle; we didn’t see all the good stuff especially the changing of the guards due to time pressure.

1click=£1

1click=£1

BTW, when you’re posing for the camera with costumed people right outside the castle (particularly the part that faces the street), be sure that you have some pence in your pocket, I mean coins. They’re aware of you and the camera- one click demands 1gbp on their hands or coin baskets. Drop a pound, then you can take picture of them with you. Clever! Maybe I should wear a jaw-dropping costume and roam around the Castle, then and there, I can make some dosh, hahaha! Humor me.

LUNCH
Before hitting the next stop, the bus pulls in at a traditional English pub near Stonehenge where you can tantalize your taste buds with traditional British food.

II. MYSTERIOUS STONEHENGE

The very reason I’ve chosen this trip was all because of the Stonehenge. I like visiting sacred sites; they just have this elevated energy that can be felt but that feeling is unfathomable or profound on many levels. Sounds creepy.

Certainly the best known of all megalithic sites, Stonehenge stands in isolation on the undulating chalk of Salisbury Plain, west of Amesbury, between the busy A303 and A344 roads. At first sight this unique and enigmatic site appears smaller than imagined, but the tallest upright stone is 6.7m (22ft) high, with another 2.4m (8ft) below ground. The site is also a beautiful spot surrounded by burial mounts.

Got to admit, my mind had been excitedly thrilled to see the ‘mystery-clouded’ Stonehenge and I’d been itching to come up with my own theory about the Stones but I’ve got to see it first.

On the road: Marge, our tourist guide, was untiringly imparting her travel expertise while I, the diligent tourist, was up to jotting down notes. I’ve got no notebook with me so I just scribbled on a magazine (TIME) some appealing stuff from Marge’s tales. I’m actually turning pages at this moment to recollect what she told us on the bus. In advance, Marge asked us to feel the spirit of the Stonehenge so we could craft a concept of the mysterious stones. But why make a fuss out of those stones? “It’s just a pile of stones.” emphasized Kimberley.

The Megalithic Ruin and the Slaughter Stone

The Megalithic Ruin and the Slaughter Stone

When we arrived at the site, some sounded thwarted… So this is the Stonehenge?! But if you look through the stones, there was something in them. As I wandered around, I got captivated by the unique rock formation: 40 ton rocks stand alone since their arrival 5,000 years ago. Being so near this mysterious settlement with its fascinating and ancient history gave me an apparitional feeling, I just delusionally assumed😉. This ancient circle of Stonehenge is indeed an amazing feat of engineering and the most important prehistoric site in England that’s surrounded by abundance of theories and is always overwhelmed with tourists

The megalithic ruin

Outer Circle Tour

I was disappointed though for I didn’t get the chance to hug any of those stones even just for the sake of photo-ops. Tsk. Visitors are no longer permitted to touch the stones and the inside parts of Stonehenge have been long closed to tourists and visitors since 1974 because of vandalism. Back in the 19th century (so I’ve read), tourists were given a small hammer and pick to take a piece of Stonehenge home with them. But now, they require visitor to stand behind a rope about 30 feet away from the actual pile of rocks. However, by paying about double the entrance fee you get to step over the rope and walk through and touch the stones. But to obtain a pass for the “Inner Circle Tour”, you have to contact the Stonehenge visitor office by phone or email and set up an appointment. This inner circle tours are only allowed before and after normal visiting hours. We didn’t have time for this. Otherwise, we could have stayed longer there until all the visitors were gone! Just my spooky thought.

Free audios, that could guide us along the way, were also given to us but I didn’t spend my time listening to it while viewing. I’d rather take a lot of photos at the location. Regrettably, as we were speeding through, Kimberley forgot to get my “jumpy” signature photo. Also, asking strangers to take pictures of us wasn’t easy especially when you wanted some striking or jumping pics.

Pink Scarf can feel the Phantom!

Pink Scarf can feel the Phantom!

Back to the mystery, “Who did build the Stonehenge?” This was Marge’s question that got stuck in my mind. Until now, I’m bewildered by the creation myths and I don’t know which one to believe and no one knows for sure the unquestionable history of Stonehenge.

So They Say:

a) Early legends link it with Merlin (the Wizard directing it to be removed from Ireland because of some superhuman giant) and King Arthur, but over the last hundred years the midsummer sunrise has attracted pagan groups and followers of the Ancient Order of Druids.

b) They also said that the stones were transported by slaves to create a religious temple.

c) Astronomically, this mysterious monument served as a clock, used for both the solar and lunar calendars.

d) Archaeological Significance: The Stonehenge was a Bronze Age burial ground.

Interestingly enough… Once you see it, decide for yourself whether Stonehenge was a place of sun worship, a healing sanctuary, a sacred burial place, a site for a planned temple or something different altogether. Who says Stonehenge is not worth seeing? It’s just a pile of stones, but I got stoned when I saw it😉.

Written at Stonehenge

Thou noblest monument of Albion’s isle!
Whether by Merlin’s aid, from Scythia’s shore,
To Amber’s fatal plain Pendragon bore,
Huge frame of giant-hands, the mighty pile
T’ entomb his Britons slain by Hengist’s guile:
Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore,
Taught ‘mid thy massy maze their mystic lore:

Or Danish chiefs, enrich’d with savage spoil,
To Victory’s idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
Rear’d the rude heap: or, in thy hallow’d round,
Repose the kings of Brutus’ genuine line;
Or here those kings in solemn state were crown’d:
Studious to trace thy wondrous origine,
We muse on many an ancient tale renown’d.

Thomas Warton the younger, 1777

III. THE BATH
-the England’s most beautiful Georgian City

Taking THE BATH CITY was the last leg of the day. Our trip here was as reinvigorating as taking a plunge into a natural hot spring. Dubbed a World Heritage Site in 1987, the breathtaking beauty of Bath is surrounded by other equally splendid examples of the heavenly English countryside including the Cotswolds, Somerset and Wilshire.  More to the fact, Bath was the first city in England to receive this prestige and proudly stands on the slopes of the River Avon.

The City of Bath is also one of the most famous secrets of England because it’s still partly undiscovered. Nearly 2,000 years ago the Romans established a complicated system of baths and a Sacred Temple. This city is a vibrant place in middle England with numerous galleries, theatres, restaurants, tea rooms and excellent shopping areas.

To do and see:
a) Enjoy a whistle stop tour of Bath’s famous monuments from the comfort of your seat.

b) Take in Bath Abbey, which saw the coronation of the first British King in 973AD. On the front of the church, there are angels climbing the ladders to heaven on the outside of the stonework.

c) Admire the architecture of the stunning Royal Crescent.

d) Marvel at the famous Pulteney Bridge, modelled on the Florentine Ponte Vecchio.

e) Explore the Roman Baths, built around thermal springs, which have been supplying water for over 2,000 years. In Roman times, a great Temple was built next to the sacred spring – the waters were believed to have healing properties and attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire.

The Reincarnated Roman gods and goddess,lol!

The Reincarnated Roman gods and goddess,lol!

Sacred Spring Overflow

Sacred Spring Overflow


The Cold Circular Bath- throw a coin and make a wish!

The Cold Circular Bath- throw a coin and make a wish!

When we were lining up to get inside the temple, it so happened that we were at the back of the queue, hence, we didn’t get what our tour guide had just said. And for us not to be misled, we  pleaded for the rewind of her directive utterances. What we got was nagging words . “What? You didn’t hear what I said?!” said she cantankerously.
Me: “Well, we were at the back so we couldn’t hear yah.” She then exasperatingly repeated what she just said and gave us plastic money chips for the entry and for a glass of Spa water.

As we ducked in, we were given (as usual) a little audio guides that looked like the very first models of cell phones, to help us understand the sights and every room we entered and passed by.

The Great Bath

The Great Bath

Bath houses are the best preserved Roman Spa from the ancient world. The Great Central Bath has a greenish shade and the water itself was very hot. It looked more like a swimming pool with nice pillars and old statues surrounding the site. You might think the water was clean but never get tempted to dip your hands in it; it’s been actually infested with different pests, rats and other germy creatures over the years.

THE PUMP ROOM

The Pump Room

The Pump Room

I was grinning when I saw the label of this room, couldn’t help myself🙂 Pump Room? Pumping what? Pump, the magic water! As I walked in, I told the lady in charge that I had a ticket, so she gave me a glass of the famous Spa water-  a glass cost 50pence. I enjoyed drinking the water straight from the historic Pump Room, others didn’t because of its weird taste. Believing that the spa water has a magical-rejuvenating effect, I lapped up all that was given to me, to the last drop! The spa water was quite hot and had an unexplainable flavor.

SPA water fountain

SPA water fountain

Out of the Baths: There is a lot to see in the Roman Baths- artifacts, millennia- old coins and mosaics. Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to explore everything inside because we decided to see more of this Georgian City. Some chose to stay put in the Bath instead of going around as we only had  less than an hour left before leaving the city.

Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon

Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon

After trotting around the Roman Baths, we sped off to have a glimpse of the city. We strolled around and took some photos of the River Avon and the Pulteney Bridge; it was a marvelous site, I so admired the city’s architectural splendour.

River Avon: While catching sight of the River, I was reminded by one of the remarkable things from the talkies of our tour guide- about the Avon River. The River Avon is a river in the south west of England. Because of a number of other Rivers Avon in England, this river is often also known as the Lower Avon or Bristol Avon. The Avon rises near Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire, dividing into two before merging again and flowing through Wiltshire. In its lower reaches from Bath to the River Severn at Avonmouth near Bristol the river is navigable and known as the “Avon Navigation”.

According to her, the name Avon is a cognate of the Welsh word ‘afon’ meaning “river” (f is pronounced as v in Welsh), so if you put these 2 words together, you call the river “River River”🙂.

As soon as we were done with pictorials, we headed back to the bus and went home. We got back to London around 8pm after 350 miles of travel. T’was a looong day but all in all it was an amazing voyage… zzz…

One Day, Three World Heritage Sites

One Day, Three World Heritage Sites

Just a Memo: This trip runs for almost 12 hours but it gives you a brief time to see some wonderful sights. Here’s the deal: You will never get to see everything at Windsor and Bath because the tour is like ‘hit and run’ or ‘touch and go’. There is so much to explore at these sites. But since the tour company was such in a hurry to get to the next destination, we never even had time to sit down, enjoy the site and pore over the enchantment of the place. Walked fast, peeked in, took photos, and then rushed back to the bus. Don’t ever think about getting late for the bus or you’d get chewed out. Well, they were just doing their job. A million thanks to Marge (our coach) and Derek (the bus driver) for this great trip!

TOP 10 Bits of London

London is full of take- your –breath- away views and vistas. With its hilly terrain and marvelous buildings, anyone can have the opportunity to behold the city’s many facets and angles. By getting around London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show. The city has served me well, I think. I am so grateful that we have discovered and explored ‘the most visited attractions’ in the city with the help of public transport (bus, Tube, Tram, Overground, etc.), Oyster card, and flat shoes… London is perfect for seeing the sights on foot.

By the way, before I forget , for the first time during our stay in London, I was able feel to the spirit of Shakespeare, one of my favorite English literature icons. If W. Shakespeare were still alive, I would make a way to see him in the flesh and ask him to write a poem dedicated to me, col (chuckling out loud)! Anyway, I am sure most of you are either bored stiff or cheesed off at this point so I shall move on.

Since I have already recapped a bit of our London trek, let me just enumerate some of the tour highlights by picking the Top 10 major bits to see or do in London. These are the landmarks you should not miss. And apart from these, there are so many other tourist attractions that can be looked for when visiting London.

(1) London Eye

London Eye

London Eye

Take a spin on this Ferris wheel overlooking the Thames. More than a Ferris wheel ride — London Eye’s rotating attraction offers 32 enclosed capsules for full, 360 degree views of historic London.

The London Eye is a major feature of London’s skyline. It is the world’s highest cantilevered observation wheel and offers passengers spectacular views of over 55 of London’s most famous landmarks – all in just 30 minutes. And while taking in the amazing views, you can enjoy a glass of champagne to spoil yourself. Champagne flight normally costs £35.

Tickets to Buy

Tickets to Buy

(2) Westminster Abbey

The Abbey

The Abbey

Westminster Abbey is neither a cathedral nor a parish church. It is a Gothic monastery church owned by the royal family.  When you pay visit here during the day, you can attend a church service for free. An architectural masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries, the Abbey has been both the coronation and burial site of English monarchs since William the Conqueror.

(3) The Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben

The Parliament

The Parliament

The House of Parliament is one of the largest parliaments in the world. Dating back to the nineteenth century, it contains about 1,200 rooms and displays intricate architecture and holds ceremonial events. The House of Parliament is also known as The Palace of Westminster. It is where two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom meet: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Big Ben: When I first heard about “Big Ben”, the image that came to my mind was the famous tower, or the four huge clock faces. However, during my stay in London, I’ve learned (from a planner booklet) that Big Ben actually refers to the largest of the five bells inside the clock tower. In other words, “Big Ben” does not refer to the whole clock tower, but to the huge thirteen ton bell that strikes the hour.

Jumping for Joy :-)

Jumping for Joy🙂

Another theory that I’ve proven wrong was that the bell was named after a popular heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt. The consensus however, seems to be that it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a (literally) weighty politician of the time who was the Parliamentary Commissioner of Works.

Parliament is open to the UK public and overseas visitors. You can attend debates, watch committee hearings and tour the buildings. Beware, MPs have absurdly long holidays or “recesses”.

(4) Trafalgar Square

National Gallery

National Gallery

Trafalgar commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars. Trafalgar Square is the largest square in London and has been a central meeting place since the Middle Ages.

What makes it ‘the Square’: Nelsons Column surrounded by 4 bronze lions, the National Gallery, Fountains and statues , including one of Charles I on horseback, and of course the pigeons. The Column itself is some 170 foot high, with the statue of Nelson himself being some 18 foot high.

(5) Piccadilly Circus

Spending hours hanging out in here, you will see street performers, travellers, and busy business types wearing pink ties with blackberry as their weapon. If you are into books, you can hit the Europe’s largest bookshop, the Waterstone’s Piccadily bookstores, situated in the heart of London’s West End.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus

The name ‘Piccadilly’ originates from a 17th century frilled collar named piccadil. Roger Baker, the tailor who became rich making piccadils lived in the area. The word ‘Circus’ refers to the roundabout around which the traffic circulated. Piccadilly Circus is a good place to meet before heading off to eat, shop or go to area theaters. Soho isn’t too far a walk from here and neither is Trafalgar Square. The fashionable stores of Carnaby Street are also nearby. The area is quite a sight in the evening, with colorful and brightly lit advertising signs illuminating the area, high above the streets.

Further, Piccadilly Circus is an intersection where five roads meet; it is most famous for the advertising signs that light up the sky at night. It is London’s version of Times Square and the first ever lighted neighborhood in the world. People crowd around the steps of the statue known as Eros, the Greek God of Love (but really meant to be the angel of charity), erected in 1892 as a memorial to the Earl of Shaftsbury, the Victorian philanthropist. I didn’t dare to take a seat here though. The bustling noise made me giddy.

(6) The Royal Parks

The Park

Spring is a glorious time to discover London. With blossoming flowers and warmer-brighter days, and the great outdoors bursting into life, there’s no better time to venture outside and embrace the wonderful history and culture that London has to offer. London is blessed with eight royal parks offering 5,000 acres of historic parkland – and entrance is free! (but not the chairs). The grass carpet will serve as your bed when you get tired of walking . You can read book too, while savoring the crispy breeze. We had a lovely stroll through the park on a beautiful sunny day.

(7) Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard

The Palace

It’s the Queen’s home. Tourists love to go to see Buckingham Palace not because they wanna see the Queen but to witness the colorful ceremony of the Changing of the Guard: Accompanied by a military band, a detachment of the Queen’s Foot Guard march to Buckingham Palace in their bearskins and red tunes, and change with the Old Guard. Yes, we strolled around and in front of the palace and mingled with groupie tourists, unluckily, we missed the Changing of the Guard.

Surrounded by vast park lands and gardens, this grand palace has been the Royal London residence since Queen Victoria’s time, and contains priceless works of art, fine furniture and decorations that form part of the Royal Collection.

(8) The Tower of London and Crown Jewels

The Tower Bridge

You wanna get bloodily fascinated? Try the “bloody tower” and find out about the story of the two princes that mysteriously were murdered there.

The Tower of London is one of the most famous fortified buildings in the world. If you are in London, place the Tower of London under your ‘must see’ list.

(9) Covent Garden

covent-garden

No trip to London (or nywhere in the world) is complete without shopping experience. London boasts cutting- edge fashion houses, world famous department stores and quirky shops that are full of intrigue and wonder, making for a truly unique experience. Covent Garden offers a world- class cultural experience as well as excellent shopping. Talking about shopping, even if you close your eyes, it would be hard for you to resist some tempting shops; you might as well get carried away😉

img_0553

Primark is also a ‘going for a song’ shop but difficult to navigate. It is always jam-packed with shopaholics and the long dressing room lines… OMG! Anyone impatient like me, standing in queue was a No way José! So I just did the ‘pick and grab your size’ thing then zoomed to a cashier. I thought I could dodge the long lines but getting face to face with a  cashier was another course of action. Sigh!

(10) St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul's Dome

To experience the whole of St. Paul’s Cathedral, you should climb 220 stairs to the enormous dome and Whispering Gallery and on to the heights of the Golden Gallery above the Dome with its panoramic views of the capital.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is so much a part of London skyline. In recent years, it has seen the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer and, most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty of the Queen.

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

That’s all for now.

Note: I have tried to mount numerous pictures but I got tired of uploading them to the galleries one by one. Time-demanding.

So This Is London

So, this is London! The line I uttered upon arriving at the airport at 6pm , March 31, 2009- the same day that Obama and other leaders of G20 arrived in London for the summit.

Catching the train to the next station to the underground, I had a good time clicking the camera as I feasted my eyes on the views from the train. If you’re a first- timer in London, you’ll wonder why houses here have small and few windows- a question mark that we’ve been querying since we stepped into this ‘has it all’ place until the lady tour guide told us about the Law on Window in UK.

Finding our way to the hotel wasn’t that hard. You bet. It was fun getting lost as always. The Underground (aka Subway) was also stressful. It was a maze of passages and tubes, literally. Anyone would need a crash course on it.

look right, look left

look right, look left

RHT. Despite having been to other countries (e.g. Thailand) that have  the right-hand traffic (RHT), I still haven’t learned my lesson. For me, this system is still confusing and will always be. But that’s the rule of the road in London. It was a lot different from what I’m used to. No worries though- if you have been looking for traffic left to right (your entire life) before crossing the street, the signs can save your life.

To get in as much sightseeing as I could in my first day in London, I tried to get up the next day (April 1) notwithstanding the jet-lagged mind and body. We first visited the University of London to get some infos and hand-outs, and then set out  to the underground to check on the gorgeous sights. First Leg: London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, etc. Do Brits realize how wonderful London really is? I hope so.

A Federal Mega University Made Up of 31 Affiliates

A Federal Mega University Made Up of 31 Affiliates

The London Eye

The London Eye- height:135 metres (443 ft). It's the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe

Westminster Abbey

The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster

Big Ben

Big Ben- The World's Famous Clock

Trafalgar Square Monument

Trafalgar Square Monument- at its centre is Nelson's Column

The things I’ve seen here lived up to expectations. Emmm… except for the Big Ben. It was a bit smaller than I originally thought. Well, it wasn’t my first time to experience such. When I first saw the Moulin Rouge in Paris, I was a bit disappointed. I thought it was a huge Red Windmill… it’s not.

A sense of direction. Unluckily, you can’t rely on me when it comes to maps. That’s the irony of me- a traveler who sucks at direction. Thanks Mik2, maps are just in the palm of your hands. To get a glimpse of the metropolis, we thought that it would be a great idea to take the Routemaster where we could sit-relax on the upper deck. This way, we could also go sightseeing by simply parking our feet on the bus minus a tour guide piloting us. But it turned out that taking the bus wasn’t really the best way for us to get to the planned destination. In the first few days we’ve gotten on the wrong bus and ended up much farther from where we were meant to go, not only once, but all the time. Knowing how to decipher maps from dot to dot is as essential as understanding what trains have transfer points to what lines. But even if they have the Tube, I advice you to take a Walk around London first and see what the Capital has to offer. With free maps and guides available at the hotel or stations, the routes in the leaflets will ensure you see all the sights and enjoy your  moment in London.

Sightseeing is no doubt fun but marching to and from many places can be exhausting. My feet hurt and burnt so bad that at the end of a day I couldn’t walk. Everyday was a tour day- long walk, long street but worth every step.

You have to see the city for yourself. There’s lot to explore, lot to do. It’s not the cheapest place in the world, but it still rocks!

This is the London Trip Part One. More to tell.

On Board

europe partial map

(By the time you read this, I’ll be on the flight. Hurray!)

It is Europe’s largest city, spanning more than six hundred and twenty square miles from its heart on the River Thames. It is Europe’s most diverse metropolises: there are around two hundred languages spoken within its confines, and more than thirty percent of the population is made up of first, second and third generation immigrants.

This city boasts four World Heritage Sites, 238 attractions that are free to enter (so there’s nowhere else in the world where you can see so much for so little).

As everybody attests, it is one of the finest capital cities to be found anywhere. I could say therefore, that one will have absolutely no chance of getting disappointed when he or she comes to visit the city.

I’m so excited to go around this city. It’s gonna be a great adventure and I’m gonna enjoy every bit of it. Mik-mik, get ready to rock the city! Be sure to connect the dots from A to B on the map😉.

The One-Armed Swimmer

I went swimming in the nearby pool last Friday. As I was taking a break after swimming a few laps, some swimmers from the other side of the pool were gazing at me, I just thought. Wrong. Their eyes were not upon me; they were gazing at this tall, blue-eyed, white as a sheet, preggy woman. As I turned my head towards her, we smiled at each other. I tried not to stare at her because I’ve been taught that it’s impolite. But curiosity forced me to steal a second look at what should not be but is, what you are not.

When she plunged into the water, I was amazed by her speed and graceful aquatic moves as she tracked the pool lane. Boy! How I admired her knack with water. She swam the pool exceptionally well. I could tell by her silicone flag swim cap and by her swimming skills that she was a big shot swimmer. While she was cooling down by the poolside, with all guts, I candidly complimented “You’re such a good swimmer.” She just smiled at me and said that she lost her right arm in an accident. I was right; she was a competent swimmer and still is! She told me a bit of her story of her own accord. She wowed me by the things she shared. She, despite having just one arm, didn’t let the injury stop her from swimming. It’s one of her passions and she never gets tired of it. What’s more, she still does pretty much whatever else she decides she wants to do.

I am always inspired by stories like hers and use them to stay motivated with my own fitness goals. Whenever my body aches from gym-ing, I am grateful that I have the complete pack of it- from head to toe. When my legs hurt due to vein/muscle cramps, I just think that I can still walk and jog because I have both of them. Whenever I see my hands with lots of cat’s bites and scratches that left scars on my skin, I just think about how lucky I am to be able to grumble about having two arms and two hands.

There are a lot of things we can learn from people who got disabled from a terrible accident or misfortune. I’ve learned with disability in a situation there is ability. Meeting the one-armed swimmer in the pool is a short-time encounter but I will always cherish it. She’s one of the disabled people I’ve known who have a will and determination that put a lot of us to shame. Instead of dwelling on their conditions and feeling sorry for themselves, they’re out achieving their goals proving that just because they’re disabled, it doesn’t mean they can’t play a part and make a difference. Essentially, they are no different than anyone else. So next time we don’t wanna do something because we are crippled perceptually and emotionally by our painful or awful experiences, think about the handicapped and the disabled whose strengths are great enough to withstand the hard- hitting winds because they have the power to bend but not break.

A Wise Spender Looks Twice

It has been a while since my last post, again… Time just slipped away, again and again… I wonder where I’ve gone aside from tripping around Sweden and blowing pretty bubbles in the air. The clock runs a little fast that make days go really past and it’s SPRING already- flowers to bloom, the sun zooms in and my gear is on the brooom brooom brooom!

My Wool Cashmere CoatIt was a beautiful sunny day. The clear blue sky just made my day. And since I was grinning like the sun today, I hit the mall and treated myself to this soft, lightweight Wool-Cashmere Coat (Italy Made). It made my face even much sunnier. After trying it on, inspecting its fabrics, verifying the buttons and buttonholes and examining the hems, I fell in love with the coat, eventually. You’ve got to pay a good chunk of change for this original coat. Questions weighed up: Do I really need this or I just want it?! Both. To redundantly express how ‘big time’ I wanted the coat- over and above, I ought to give myself a fresh SPRING look (chuckles!). Hence, no teeny doubt, I splashed out on it. (Woolicious & CASHmore coat, so to alter.)

Look Twice: “Buy the best you can and buy less. Good quality coats and clothes cost money, but you won’t regret it.” It may sound vain but it’s worth buying things that make you look amazing and that will keep you up with your poise. But wait a minute, as I claim myself a ‘wise spender’, I ask as I scribble this down- did my impulse beat me today? I just bought a leather jacket last month plus my not-so-old coats are just hanging in the closet, unused. If they could only talk, they would scream out loud “Please use and wear us!”

Let’s face it, most people think (as I used to think and still do sometimes) that splurging their hard- earned money into something cheap is a great idea to save up but it’s not. It’s actually a false economy. I’m not saying that you go making impulsive purchases just because you see everyone else decking out in the latest styles. That isn’t a green light for you to let loose of the “Living Beyond Your Means” cliché. But unless you have your own moneymaking machine, you go ahead and have fun at buying ALL the stuff you wish to have😉. But just remember to implement your plans of spending wisely before ending up like a spendthrift- Manhattan shopaholic.

Chew on this for a moment: Personal Money Management. I totally understand that it is not easy to drop a penny into a piggy bank especially when you live in a material world nowadays. However, if you possess a sound financial planning and an incredible, practical judgement, it will help you put on the brakes before you jump into a spend-pen, and wisely gauge just how much fashion you can afford.  Blah! Blah! Blah! GUCCI, CK, LV, PRADA, CARTIER, etc., BURBERRY coat, ANYONE?

A Grip of Double R&R

So much going on, so little time to write. This time of year is tough to get things done.

The past few weeks have been so extreme and exhausting: Having accomplished my target at work driven by mundaneness, busting gym and then being able to attend a university orientation, and being inspired by the passionate sharers and speakers, made me humbly alive again. I could feel the energy of students in the hall. That’s where I get my vigor- attentive, listening crowd.

This week however, I’m taking a double R&R. Of Army, R&R stands for Rest and Relaxation. I’m a soldier of life (not in uniform) who needs R&R- so here I am, having a good time resting and relaxing from stressing list of appointments and commitments, afterwhich, I’ll get back on the move when I feel my fuel has levelled up. And even though I managed to spank myself just to pull up a seat right now, still, part of me is craving a little action that’s why I’m getting a grip on the other R&R- Responsibility and Realization. I’ve been denying the immediacy of my responsibility to realize my dismissed and coveted goals. I guess it’s time to dig a hole and put my excuses in it. Lame excuses- I have a lot. And I’ve been constantly using them to keep my aims on hold. Rationalizing, is it because it takes an overwhelming amount of effort to achieve a race’s end? Not as it should be. Looking back, what the heck was I thinking then? I’ve been goofing off.

So, I’m taking a double R&R (Rest and Relaxation) to kick back then, bounce back to take in hand my personal Responsibility & make my missions into Realization. Oh, it just made me smile🙂 that I’ve taken a small step and I hope, and I hope and I hope that I become hard as nails that no matter how tough the hammers of life are, I stay calm, cool, focused and collected.

That, my friends, is the sermon for the day, not for you, but for me.

🙂

Get a life-get a grip
Get away somewhere, take a trip
Take a break-take control
Take advice from someone you know

CHORUS:
Come on over-come on in
Pull up a seat-take a load off your feet
Come on over-come on in
You can unwind-take a load off your mind

Make a wish-make a move
Make up your mind-you can choose
When you’re up-when you’re down
When you need a laugh come around

Repeat CHORUS

Oh, oh, oh…

Be a winner-be a star
Be happy to be who you are
Gotta be yourself-gotta make a plan
Gotta go for it while you can

Repeat CHORUS

Get a life-get a grip
Get away somewhere, take a trip
Take a break-take control
Take advice from someone you know

Repeat CHORUS

Oh, oh, oh…

I Love Challenges!

Say it out loud- “I LOVE CHALLENGES!”

When I looked through the summary report of the workforce’s performance posted on the entrance wall a week ago, the highlighted name of a colleague got stuck in my eyes and in my head like glue. For the first time this year, somebody got acknowledged by her outstanding work. I have to admit it made me green with envy, not in a negative sense. I’ve actually been toiling with this ‘donkeywork’, so to speak, but never felt really fulfilled. Suddenly, a motivational envy pumped me up. I reversed envy into challenge and it surely was a healthy dose of vitamin E (Envy). That word ‘E’ is perfectly normal as long as you use it positively. I always think of it as fuel to drive my way to attaining a goal, worthy or not.

Hitting the road on my way home that day, I told myself, “If she can, why can’t I…?” That was the time I took a shot of vitamin C (Challenge). Going back to E, envy could constructively add flavor to your work, as it did to mine, that makes competition more exciting. I hope I don’t come across as ‘the green-eyed monster’. No, I’m not. I was just ignited by the idea of achieving something that I believe I can by channelling my energies to what is supposed to be done. Crunch this, there’s no need for you to envy somebody or anybody. You just have to use the person you envy not as someone to compete with but someone to emulate. Mind you, being challenged, I was also working ‘ridiculously crazy’. Trying to surpass what she has accomplished was like climbing up a pole until I reached the flag of a feat (all the reason to stick to the job for a while).

Yesterday, when I walked by the news flash board, my heart missed a bit when I saw my name on the list highlighted in green neon, not only on one sheet but two. Ho ho ho! That’s what you call PL (Performance Level) to the max twinned by another PL (Passion-Liveliness/ joie de vivre!). I don’t intend to blow my own horn by putting this down here. I just wanted to underscore that finally, my hard work has paid off at least in that manner. What do I get from that? Talk to the hands of the company system! Not negotiable- no incentive, no bucks handed in, no extra cheque, no “employee of the month” award plaque but it definitely made me ‘a bit’ fulfilled, lol! I’m not a person who only works for the sake of money but for self- actualization cause as long as a challenge could boost me up when I feel that my motivation is waning.

Global Crisis Bites

Today, as the boss read the company’s annual report, she couldn’t help her hands from trembling as she ad-libbed “this is irritating.” Her face was much gloomier than the murky  Thursday weather. It’s an awful task, one that most bosses or managers want to be done with as quickly as possible. I, myself, was in that position years ago so I do understand how she felt.  For me, firing is like  weeding  out your  floral garden. After a careful cultivation, time comes that you have to get rid of some… for odd-rationale. Between a boss and a person in charge, evaluations usually happen behind closed doors where the decision is made. And when the annual report day rolls up, the decision is being relayed to the person most affected, then voilà, sacking is being executed.

An ugly head of the financial turmoil has already popped out. It’s indeed snapping. A number of employees got fired, 2 male colleagues in our department. It’s a terrible day. Everybody has extended sympathies to those two. I didn’t cry😦 as some did to show how sorry they were. Instead, I put some chocolates that I brought with me in a big bowl to release the tension among them. They love sweets that at 1pm, the bowl got emptied. Even though I didn’t display any fellow feeling as the two bid goodbye, in my mind, “Something good will come along their way.”

O mighty wolf howl so loud, so does the global financial crunch. Connotatively, ‘wolves are actually at every country’s door.’ It’s deeply felt and vividly seen. No matter how confident, capable, or efficient you may have thought you were, getting terminated can bring you to your second- guessing knees. This increase of global unemployment is just one of the impacts of the crisis that continues to spread all over the world. Fretting it is. Well, it’s not always been easy to stay positive through this appalling crisis, but I hope we stay cheerful and buoyant. Life goes on!

By the way highway, it’s not my responsibility to offer a solution to every whim of concern for I don’t have any government handout, nor do I collect tax😉

Change Flaaash!

With my habit of rearranging/ changing things around or changing my mind all the time, it makes more sense for me to have something that will be easily taken down to CHANGE.

The Plan C- Change

The Plan C- Change

This has always been my mantra and that allows me to do a change inventory on a regular basis. As I dip my toes into 2009, I’m trying to change something about my old thinking. Old thinking that’s not worth carrying around and isn’t producing right actions. The same holds true with a stuffed closet- you have many unused or old clothes in it, there’s no room for the new clothes. Sometimes you gotta let go of the old things, old attitudes… purge yourself and get rid of the bad or old stuff that are no longer nifty and you’ve got to make a room for change.

the white job

the white job

“Change means actions. If you don’t like something, change it.” Change is therapeutic. It somehow eases your ‘worked up’ senses. If you can recognize change as a basic principle, you can also do the basic things that you’ve been ignoring before. So let the change saga begin: pampering the flat to make it “a home” like hanging new draperies, organizing book shelves, mounting wall decors and painting the wall. How many of you try to make your apartment feel more like HOME by painting or replacing things to your liking? Painting your apartment is really FUN! The color that you paint your walls can help promote certain moods and can reflect on your decorative capabilities in huge ways. Changing dull gray walls to a shimmering white or splashing a fresh coat of gleaming white paint on a serene but agitated yellow living room can wondrously revolutionize your flat; your mood likewise. It just seems so much nicer now and more like home🙂

Out of the Strike Zone

People at work keep asking me why I don’t go to the canteen for lunch these days. Excuses like -I don’t have time- I lost track of the time so I forgot to eat- I have no appetite etc.- sound lame and inexcusable but I let myself off anyway from grabbing some grub. I am not on a diet; in fact, I love to eat. I am not trying to kill ‘me’ either. I am neither anorexic nor bulimic. And Mahatma Gandhi has nothing to do with this at all.

Lemmi tell you what has gotten into me. “I am on a fractional hunger strike: to stop the war between Israel and Gaza.” Yes, I am a hunger protester (but not unto death) until the war is over! But why fractional? I don’t miss my dinner:-). Hunger-striking for me is a way to connect physically with what I feel emotionally and what I know mentally. The slight damage that I’m doing to my body is nowhere near the devastation that people of Israel and Gaza have faced because of the bombings causing vast scale of death and destruction.

And how do I survive the ‘all- day- long’ work without breakfast and lunch? An apple or a carrot and water are enough to keep my brain ticking. Undertaking this blue out, unsponsored walkathon is a part of the protest. I’m not the walkingest person around but for a speck of world peace, I’d work at it. Venturing out into the sunny, but sub-zero Saturday afternoon was fun but not cool. As I endured the cold, my gloved hands were adventurously steady because they were frozenly dead. While walking, boy! I was shivering inside, “Now shall I still walk or shall I ride?” I opted to walk. Geezzz, the frozen north wind was stinging my skin. Every molecule of the airstream was like an acupuncture needle stabbed deep into my flesh penetrating into my joints and into the marrow of my bones. Yeah, outdoor walk seemed like a good idea, but not on winter days.

These insane ideas of strike popped up one day when I saw the videos of some students who were trying to get through to their families in Gaza. But whenever they got a chance to hook up, all they could hear was the deafening sound of bombs on the other line. Thanks to the internet! Their histrionic message- “Urgent humanitarian access for the people of Gaza”- was relayed to the world via www.

Today, after reading the headline news “Israel declares Gaza cease- fire”, I am breaking my fast as they halt the fire and I am out of the strike zone for now. Yipeee!

I don’t know if the things I’ve done are significant or trivial. But what I do know is that I didn’t do them for the sake of just doing them. My intention is anchored off the PEACE coast. Crazy, I think, I can do better than these.

Loose Nerve

release your inhibitions...

release your inhibitions...

Embrace your inner eccentric and try not to edit yourself — so what if you raise a few eyebrows, or provoke people into wondering what’s up with you? Their opinions matter less than the freedom you will feel by doing what you want to do in the way you want to do it! Trying to fit in with the status quo all the time is not only exhausting, it limits your creativity! So let your freak flag fly — ignore propriety and you are likely to inspire a few of your more adventurous friends to join you.

Cats Talk?

If you are a cat lover like me, you might have also wondered “what on earth is my cat meowing about?”. I like translating a language to another language but when it comes to cats’ lingo, I’m not fully equipped to decode such. Basically, cats talk cryptically. I’ve been a keen observer of cats since childhood; hence I notice that cats make a variety of different weird sounds. I don’t wanna claim that my cat speaks a number of recognizable sounds but he really does. Even so, bit by bit I’m learning to read between the ‘meows’. A strange/ non-sense, albeit funny thought- there’s one sound I’ve been waiting to hear from my cat- his fart. It sounds totally gross but he skunkingly farts whenever he eats wet food aside from his kibble. I wanna hear him fart so I could at least wave him away before I get suffocated from his potent and utterly foul gas.

Another sound that’s eminently heard from cats is the purr. Though to most of us, the purr is often considered a sign of contentment, it also suggests a therapeutic function (the sense of relaxation) to humans that can be felt of course by cat owners when cuddling a purring cat- according to vets. Some cat owners aver that their cats can actually voice out “words”. Do they really think so? Cats’ sounds don’t conform to our concept of grammatical structure so we cannot really label cats’ sounds as words. Cats are just cats. Yes, they are smart but they lack language.

The way I understood/ understand my cat’s meows is by paying attention to his tone, rhythm, pitch, volume, and phonation. A cat-aholic as I am, I had to agree with Jean Craighead George that felines’ sounds vary according to their age, gender, and situation.

Kittens:
• Mew (high pitched and thin) – a polite plea for help
• MEW! (loud and frantic) – an urgent plea for help

Adult cats:
• mew – plea for attention
• mew (soundless) – a very polite plea for attention (this is Paul Gallico’s “Silent Miaow” which is probably a sound pitched too high for human ears)
• meow – emphatic plea for attention
• MEOW! – a command!
• mee-o-ow (with falling cadence) – protest or whine
• MEE-o-ow (shrill whine) – stronger protest
• MYUP! (short, sharp, single note) – righteous indignation
• MEOW! Meow! (repeated) – panicky call for help
• mier-r-r-ow (chirrup with liting cadence) – friendly greeting

Tomcats:
• RR-YOWWW-EEOW-RR-YOW-OR – caterwaul
• merrow – challenge to another male
• meriow – courting call to female

Mother cats:
• MEE-OW – come and get it!
• meOW – follow me!
• ME R-R-R-ROW – take cover!
• mer ROW! – No! or Stop It!
• mreeeep (burbled) – hello greeting to kittens and disarming greeting to adult cats (also used between adult cats and humans)

New Year’s Pledge

It’s 2009… How fast the year seems to have passed!

And how I love New Year- it brings wild pledges of self- improvement. I bet most of you have listed or made resolutions about your lifestyle changes. If you’re that kind of person who strictly follow your resolutions, then you deserve my salute. I’m not a person who makes resolutions at the start of the year. What I do is just look back to the past and try to reflect on the changes I want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

Some old resolutions just vanished like melting snow because the goals they (not exempting myself) set were unattainable somehow. As I read the sharing of others, it didn’t really surprise me when they said they failed to keep those ‘I will do this and that’ lists. The truth of the matter is, we can’t change our life around a matter of weeks, it can take months and years to do it. The way to keep a New Year’s resolution is to pick a good specific goal, small or big, and then overhaul our life to in order to meet it. Duh.

HAPPY 2009!

HAPPY 2009!

I had purposely stopped making New Year’s resolutions because I kept breaking them. Yet, despite it all, I’m making a resolution this year and I’m putting hope above experience. I said, it’s just “a resolution” and that is TO KEEP RESOLUTIONS. Shallow? I guess not; I’m just trying to be a bit vague to determine what resolution means to me. “Resolutions are better done than said.”

It’s gonna be a tough mission to take corrective action this 2009. However, whatever craziness happens to my routine, I’ll try to enjoy the ups and downs of it. I may manifest doubts (obliviously), but I always believe I have wonderful way of seeing the bright side of everything. If a wrench gets thrown in my plans, I’ll catch it with grace and build something amazing with it!

Here’s another year of working hard and having fun at the same time, CHEERS! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Winter Solstice

As I start to think about the year to come, I feel the energy nudging me to get back to myself. I’m starting to review my hopes and figure out some new things to do. This introspection mode is the influence of the Winter Solstice that arises on December 21, 2008.

As the light returns in this sacred season, May you find abundant happiness and joy.

As the light returns in this sacred season, May you find abundant happiness and joy.

Winter Solstice is the longest night and darkest time of year in the North of the Equatorial zones, when the days are short and the nights are long and lonely. The day of the Winter Solstice is also called “The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” or simply the Yule. Though it marks the beginning of Winter, it also signposts the beginning of a new Solar Year.

For years, people assumed that there was a psychological effect of this time of year on many. But since I, myself, experienced the effect, I can say that it’s not only psychological but it is also physiological. Astronomers call the phenomenon Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)- a real reaction of the body, and thus linked to the mind, of low light levels. However, despite these low light levels, Winter Solstice reminds us that darkness never lasts forever. It marks a central part of nature’s cycle- It is a time of new growth and renewal. It is a reminder that in order to begin anew, the old must end.

We often speak of getting through the winter and surviving it, rather than understanding the true pith hidden in the long dark months of the year. Solstice is actually encouraging us to slow down and do some soul searching. So take some time out from the seasonal mania to envision your life in the coming year.

And what am I gonna do on that night? I will be dancing, tumbling, doing an aerial cartwheel in the Zen Garden at least in my head during my midwinter night’s dream. I will envision that this Channel of Life will carry me to my destination, no matter what happens along the way. And as a part of my solstice ritual, I will try to let go of all that WAS, folding the 2008 journey book.

So- mark your calendar, greet the new dawning, join the day of reinvention and try to metamorphosize on Wonderful Winter Solstice.

Keep Looking Up!

On Tranquilizer

I thought of these a few moments ago before going to bed thinking of the things that happened to me this week.

Pathetically I admit, my momentum is zero. I always thought that I could hit three birds with one stone. I couldn’t. As I press forward in life, it also becomes more and more knotty.

I’ve been toiling with this language that is no longer pleasing to my ears and to my maxilla-mandible. I wish I could say “Oh, how I love this language as much as I would love to study French or Greek.” I’m still digging deep within to see if I could hoist my momentum with my own illusory winch. Then I finally had to acknowledge the fact that I really don’t have motivation for this thing. I’m following a path but my heart is not in it. I know because I am not inspired… not motivated naturally.

For the meantime, I guess all I need to do is to shut my pooped out wit and live for the moment; gotta follow the lead of my soul to calm my vibes.

I may be at the end of my tether but through these fights (against all odds), I believe that I’m developing the inmost strength of my heart.

Have a Pleasant Weekend, mates!

Say My Name, Say My Name!

C'mon Cinnamon!

C'mon Cinnamon!

Most of us perhaps have asked our parents about the meaning or origin of our names. Some of us are named after our parents’ favorite celebrities, famous or great people in the history, after our grandfather or grandmother, the blending of our father’s-mother’s names, etc. But still most people have a fuzzy idea what their own names mean. Why? Because some parents just name their children for the sake of ‘namesake’.

I was having a conversation with two of my former classmates (Randy and Julia) the other day when Randy said “Please do me a favor…just call me ‘R’. I never liked my name.” Julia snaply said “I don’t like my name either.”

RANDY: Well, in England when somebody calls you ‘randy’, you are regarded as ‘sexually aroused or horny’ human being. Can you imagine being laughed at when you introduce yourself with that name? My parents just picked a name that they like and stuck me with it. They didn’t even bother to look it up in a dictionary. Oh how I wish they had consulted just one dictionary, any dictionary. But no!

My casual remark… You were just a babe in arms. How could they consult you if you couldn’t even say ‘mama’?

JULIA: I hate my name, even as a little kid. My parents could’ve at least named me “Julie.” They even have to phonate it ‘Jul-yah’. It sounds dull and stuffy.

My casual remark… Consider yourself lucky for not having the surname “Gulia”. Try greeting somebody- “Hi! I’m Julia Gulia.” This actually reminds me of the Wedding Singer (Drew Barrymore kept parroting “Hi! I’m Julia Gulia… Hi! My name is Julia Gulia.”)

With all these name nitpickings, I encourage every parent to check the meaning of your favorite name in several languages before inflicting that on your child. You don’t wanna be nagged by your kids while they grumble “What were my parents thinking when they named me?”

You don’t need to take up onomastics to learn the different etymologies of names. I’ve learned a thousand of names and their meanings from Mike Campbell’s names database at Behindthename.com. Search for your name!