31 July 2013

Cake and candles

Cacoy, a close friend/cousin's youngest son whose real name is Caesar had a birthday last week. He turned 13 but to me he is still my baby nephew thus I ought to be forgiven for buying him a cake that does not look exactly like a teenager's cake. Aside from an exuberance of color candles, it's bursting with what resembles Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit for crying out loud. But unlike my son CJ who cried at seeing cherries instead of Ultraman on his cake (couldn't blame the poor, then 5-year old though), Cacoy was generally cool around the whole thing. Anyway he was probably too busy entertaining his buddies to care about what his crazy aunt has gotten him this year.

CJ's cake issue by the way has been sorted. (I'm a working, divorced Mom; do not have time to comb Bangkok for an Ultraman cake) I gave him Hong Kong Disneyland for his next birthday to make up for the girly cake. Boys!

I have been wondering about something for some time: technically I do not have nephews and nieces as I am an only child. But I am considered aunt to my cousins' children who call me Auntie. I'll appreciate it if any of you bloggity friends reading this, especially those from the mainly English-speaking side of the pond could tell me if you are also aunt / uncle to your cousins' or close friends' children.  Thanks.

29 July 2013

Serendipity in the drawer

It was a quick search for a blue liner to match the dress I wore that day. I rarely use this kind of thing on my face; they tend to get forgotten in the innermost corners of the drawer.  So I  rummaged deep. And out came something that slowed me away from the normally hyped speed of doing things at work. A thoughtful friend gave me this card when I was going through a very tough time.

Memories came rushing back as the card kept me company by the rustling photocopier. Soon the serendipity put me in a trance. The world went by like always.

My forehead transformed into a screen for a little panorama from 1999. Up and down the emotions went. There was stardust on 'joy and wonder yet to be explored....' 

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25 July 2013

Moments at the Royal Reign Exhibit

Thailand's Government Complex is huge enough to house several departments and ministries and to double as venue for major art and culture shows. That's exactly what I found during a recent run to the place. It was a riot of colors and style I was humming 'beautiful, beautiful!' all the way. There were paintings by local artists, Khon masks, silk-weaving and pottery demonstrations, village replicas, man-made waterfall among many other displays. Here's one of them -  

Demure peacock all made up of flowers and leaves. The two flower balls on the lower right corner are encrusted with anise seeds and resemble dunkin donuts.

While the ratio is normally one is to one at Government House, that is one immigration stuff takes one day to sort out, Lady Luck must have smiled on me I accomplished -

Two errands in one day which saved me time, energy and money. With the re-entry permit secured I can now look forward to a holiday in Singapore I booked last month.

Back at work, I learned to -

Say no.  Perhaps after a long while I did learn to grasp reason to refuse to do something. It wasn't just a regular colleague I said no to. It was the vice president. But time does come for one to dare, to risk and deal with a challenge. It feels wonderful to come out of it composure intact.

People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. This is part of Sam Levenson's inspirational suggestions that I had fun putting on the white flower photo above. The 'slim figure' bit particularly amuse me. Haven't we been all sharing food forever? But I'm gaining weight instead. Oh well, one final fave of the week -

Red velvet cake and green tea. 'Nuf said.

23 July 2013

Bedight with bougainvillea

Here's how a bougainvilleas-in-bloom day looks like where I live and work.

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20 July 2013

Bang your stick

That line is not mine. I mean I can't take it off my head since reading [Alan's] Marilyn's "You can choose; or go with armour, helmets... pantomime, theatricals, warlike women or big sticksIt's probably too much Nanny McPhee. I have become a fan of the unruly children-featuring film since becoming a mom to a handful.

Anyway, sticks. Perhaps something like a sceptre will do? And I got this photo from a recent Golden Reign Exhibit,  with exactly just that.

Known as Rama IX, Thailand's American-born King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world's longest-serving current head of state and longest-reigning monarch in Thai history (Wikipedia) He is also the world's richest royal with a fortune estimated to be worth more than $30 billion (Forbes). 

King Bhumibol (pronounced POH-mee-pahd) is shown on the photo with his wife, Queen Sirikit and son, crown prince Vajiralongkorn, holding his sceptre, which is adorned by Garuda, a mythical half-bird, half-human figure.

Being Thailand's national symbol, the Garuda can be seen everywhere in the kingdom. What I have not seen is a follow-up report of that 546-carat diamond said to adorn the King's sceptre to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

13 July 2013

The rain, the catfish and the chedi

Rain. I associate it with a weekend spent with friends frolicking with an army of tame fish in a national park. I remember it because that was when I learned that to deliberately stand in the rain just for the fun of it is sheer joy. The other reason was these delightful swish-swooshing catfish 

They sense it when people approach. They come near as if they know dinner is served.  We fed them string beans. What a greedy bunch!

Further up a slope as we continued to hike we found this moss-covered chedi made from laterite. It was built to commemorate King Rama and Queen Sunantha's visit to the park in 1876. Queen Sunantha drowned when the royal boat capsized in the Chao Phrya river. 

A Wikipedia entry describes the drowning, "despite the presence of many onlookers they were forbidden on pain of death to touch the queen - not even to save her life."  Nearby is a sign that forbids anyone to come near if they are not properly dressed. I took this shot using my phone from a distance. Perfect thing to do after the rain has stopped.

10 July 2013

A dose of country

It's another week of learning, inspiration and gratitude for blessings.

A dose of country. An aunt in Morganton, NC was game with my request for a close-up of the birdhouse in her summer garden.  The image colors my dreams of country living. Oh, one day when I retire....

Quick humor. It's one of those moments when you overlook little imperfections, but just smile and let things be. (Source: Report Card)

Quote: "You know what I like most about people? Pets." ~ Jarod Kintz, Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life

The link takes you to a review of the book on Good Reads by M.C. Humphreys.

Health tip. "Saturated fats are actually the healthiest oils to cook with," claims Barton Publishing. Here's why.

Chicken pancit. I was invigilating killer Cost Accounting, Strategic Management and Business Law all day. On an empty stomach. During break some undergrads were smoking like heck; others looked catatonic staring at their iPads. With the tummy rumbling I mused it's what happens when CPA-Lawyers listen to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger while writing the finals. Thank goodness a colleague's wife sent reinforcement at 3 PM. Starvation sorted!

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05 July 2013

Thrones, stairs and ambassadors

The few visitors in the throne hall of King Narai's palace were leaving when I got there. Pleased with the solitude, I lingered. The quiet seemed to usher in an opportunity to commune with the spirit of the ruins, however fleeting it was.

Like usual thrones this one is elevated.  Over at his palace King Narai had foreign dignitaries, those of France's King Louise XIV whose practice of wearing high heels was hypothetically due to his short height.  There must have been some influence or connection there.

This is the Dusit Sawan hall. The stairs are steep. Imagine King Narai going up the steps to sit on his throne. I fancied going up. It was uncomfortable, but then I'm no king and they must have adapted some fashion of climbing steep stairs in 1666.

This is a close-up of the memorial plaque by the throne. It portrays King Narai granting an audience with French ambassadors -

The ruins still exuded so much character. Ambling behind the throne was like playing hide n' seek with whatever friendly ghost was left in there. Numerous climbs must have taken place on this flight of stairs before the roof went off to reveal that sole flier in the vast space above.

Then I proceeded to the living quarters of the king's many wives....

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Shared with Time Travel & Sepia Saturday

Antebellum reverie

It's a lovely week in the chili patches. Here's celebrating moments that made it so.

Dainty Dory a seafood bistro at Terminal 21. Inside it's like finding yourself in one of those sunny seaside Greek cafes featured on TV and films

Carnation cheer brightened up a dreary day in the office. Read: marking finals that never seem to end. A vase of red pink carnations is the only cheer in a sea of academic bits and pieces. I made it til sign out time by imagining tea served on the porch of an antebellum mansion.

Mother's Day gift. The day for Moms has been awhile but I've been busy. This week was my only chance to take a close look at a gift a friend gave me. 

Finding the perfect purchase during a routine book shopping. The friend who gave me the Body Shop Chocomania gift set (above) mentioned she and her diving buddies fancy the Great Barrier Reef next year. The Dive Sites of the Great Barrier Reef is a nice book that provides what my friend would most likely need to know about the place. I love it when it's my turn to give gifts.

Calamari wish granted: my little brunch at Dory
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