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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pizza a la Hong Kong

Sorry, I can't get the image bigger than that, but if you want to see it properly sized, go to Pizza-BOX. They are one of the biggest pizza franchises here (they used to trade as Domino's) after Pizza Hut and I thought you might be interested to see the local slant on this delicacy.

We're pretty standard with the bases and the toppings, it's the sauces which are a little 'unusual'.

You have the choice of:
(a) Classic Tomato (I never vary from that)
(b) BBQ
(c) Thousand Island
(d) Japanese Curry Sauce

Yes, you can have any of those, onto which regular (and sometimes not so regular) pizza toppings are laid. To be honest, I've never tried hot thousand island dressing as my pizza sauce, not to mention Japanese curry sauce. Japanese curry has its own unique flavour with a very loose association to real curry, but it's actually rather good, in its own way. Especially the retort pouches (an improved version of the old boil-in-bag).

Though I'm not convinced about its application in the world of pizza. Mind you, as far as not-so-regular-toppings go, I've also never had the eel topping, nor the crab and peach topping, both of which are rolled out regularly, as specialty pizzas. We also had this really strange one about a year ago, called the 'moving fish' pizza. It was slivers of dried tuna drizzled over the top of the cooked pizza, which actually did sort of float about because they were almost lighter than air!! A true culinary experience a la Hong Kong.

There you are, Ian, a long-awaited food post!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stepping Stones

In recent conversations, and in reflecting on how I have lived my life so far, I have come to see much more clearly, the stepping stones I have found myself on for each chapter as it was written.

I like this picture because it shows the stones becoming smaller and I'm choosing to interpret my movement from bottom to top, from larger to smaller. It certainly does feel that way, that the stones I place my feet on as I move through life are getting smaller and in a way, more tenuous. But instead of making me nervous, I feel more sure-footed, more able to deal with a reduced foothold. As I leave the larger stones, I am more prepared to face the challenge of the ever-decreasing size of my future stones. I am more confident, more self-assured, more 'me'.

Those lovely large stones at the beginning of my journey are a little misleading, as I lived with a fear of slipping off the edge. In my early years, I so desperately wanted the safety, if not the sanctuary, of the middle of those large, flat, stable stones. But more often than not, I found myself on the verge, on the brink of true danger. Constantly nudged backwards towards the unknown. Sometimes it was because there were others who inhabited my stones with me, pushing me into a zone fraught with peril. And later they became demons of my own making, sharing with me the precious space I needed to grow. Overpowering my ability to grow. And there were times, I did topple over into the chasm of true danger. It wasn't always easy, knowing how to reclaim my life. Knowing how to claw back up onto my stepping stone. But I did. Sometimes with shredded, bleeding fingers. Sometimes with a heart torn open and raw.

Now, because the stones are getting smaller, doesn't mean I want to stand alone. It means that the space there on that small stone, will be sufficient for the two of us to share with a powerful intimacy. A closeness, a unity that will sustain and reinforce each other. Space enough for us to stand so very close together. And that's exactly how I want it to be. As Sally so beautifully described it: "skin-to-skin with nothing but love between you...".

I want nothing more than to stand on that final stone there, face-to-face, skin-to-skin with nothing but love between us, with the man who holds my heart, and whose heart I hold. And never before have I felt my heart held so tenderly. Never before have I felt so safe in my vulnerability.

I know he feels the same.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Do Love Me Some Dog!!!!

"Dogs Welcome"

A man wrote a letter to a small hotel in a Midwest town he planned to visit on his vacation.

He wrote: I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me at night?"

An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who wrote:

"I've been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I've never had a dog steal towels, bedclothes, silverware or pictures off the walls. I've never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I've never had a dog run out on a hotel bill. Yes, indeed, your dog is welcome at my hotel.

And, if your dog will vouch for you, you're welcome to stay here, too."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Underneath The Mask

Sharing from my Daily OM (see link bar)

Uncover Your True Face
Underneath the Mask

Many of us know the feeling of being stuck in a particular role within our families, as if we are wearing masks whenever we see the people we love. Maybe we are the good daughters, expected to always please others, or perhaps we are the family clowns, expected to be jovial and make everyone laugh. This same scenario can play out within a work situation or a group of friends. We may be so good at our role that we hardly even notice that we are wearing a mask, and yet, deep down, we know that we are not free to simply be who we really are. This can leave us feeling unseen and uneasy.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wearing a mask or playing a role. It is a natural part of any social dynamic and it can even be creative and fun. It only becomes a problem when you feel that you have no other choice than to wear that mask, and this is especially challenging if you realize you are never without one. Perhaps you have forgotten who you really are—a vast and unrestricted being of light—and have identified yourself completely with a role. You may be the dutiful, caring son who keeps his parents’ dysfunctional marriage intact. You may be the angelic wife who enables your husband to continue on a destructive path. You may be the cheerful daughter to a deeply depressed mother. Whatever the case, knowing the motivation behind your performance—the function of your mask—can help to uncover your true face.

Anytime we find ourselves stuck behind a mask, it is an indication that we are entangled in a dysfunctional dynamic in which our true self cannot be seen. We have been placed in this situation for the purpose of our own healing and, in some cases, the healing of others. From this perspective, life can be seen as a series of situations that call us to remove our masks—gently, and with great compassion for all concerned—to reveal the beauty underneath.

I've worn a few masks in my day. I still do when it comes to my mother.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Little Frivolity Today

and just to prove that it does depend on the angle of the dangle....

the same pavement art viewed from the 'wrong' perspective!

More about Julian Beever and his art.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Right Piece

"You know when you're doing a jigsaw puzzle and the piece looks like it should fit exactly, but it doesn't? So you try to squeeze it in, but you know it's not the right piece. But you're lazy, so you leave that piece there. You really gotta find the right piece - and she's the right piece."

~ Ellen DeGeneres ~ (on girlfriend Portia de Rossi)

I have found the right piece for my puzzle. And until I did, I truly couldn't know how damn good it would, and does, feel! And I have absolutely no regrets about giving up my wrong pieces along the way. It had, in my long, lonely days, crossed my mind if I shouldn't have just 'settled' for what I had, when I had it. There were days I did second-guess myself and wonder if having nothing, really was better than having a bad something.

I can't tell you how relieved I am that I didn't settle. Because I know, I absolutely know, that my right piece is the man I want to grow old with. Or should I say 'older' with. Because when we're together, it's as though we never will be 'old'.

It's the best feeling in the world, finally finding the right piece. And knowing that this is my future. He completes the puzzle that is me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Il Divo

What an amazing concert last night. Il Divo (divine male performer in Italian) certainly live up to their name.

Individually, Urs Bühler, Sébastien Izambard, Carlos Marín and David Miller have absolutely beautiful voices that can make your heart beat faster.

Together, they can, and did, make me weep.

This is dedicated to the man I love with all my heart.

"Every Time I Look At You"

I used to think that I was strong
I realise now I was wrong
'Cause every time I see your face
My mind becomes an empty space
And with you lying next to me
Feels like I can hardly breathe

I close my eyes
The moment I surrender to you
Let love be blind
Innocent and tenderly true
So lead me through tonight
But please turn out the light
'Cause I'm lost every time I look at you

And in the morning when you go
Wake me gently so I'll know
That loving you was not a dream
And whisper softly what it means to be with me
Then every moment we're apart
Will be a lifetime to my heart

I close my eyes
The moment I surrender to you
Let love be blind
Innocent and tenderly true
So lead me through tonight
But please, please turn out the light
'Cause I'm lost every time I look at you
Lost. Every time I look at you

Monday, January 22, 2007

Of Babies and Wishes and Dreams Come True

Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate the impending birth of a little boy. And we celebrated his parents.

It is so heart-warming to be part of such a wonderful occasion and to see the happiness in the expectation of such a glorious event. My friend is going back to her native Canada to give birth and will return to us in a couple of months. Gone will be her lovely rounded belly and instead we'll be introduced to her baby boy.

There is such joy in impending parenthood, and perhaps most of all, impending motherhood. I've seen my best friend struggle to become pregnant, and carry to term a wonderful human being. Now a boy, but a future man who will represent the best qualities possible. A man who will be a true reflection of all the good of his mother. And as of today, she is pregnant with her second child, not an easy passage but one she is facing with her usual amazing courage and determination. She will be a mother again, she deserves it so much.

My heart tears just a little each time I see my friends bringing forth life. Something I always wanted and will always wish I'd experienced. It wasn't to be for me though. I can, however, be a part of their happiness through their friendship and that, in itself, is an awesome gift.

I owe them more than they will ever know, for letting me share in the incredible experience of pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Anuja

Happy Birthday my dearest, my best friend. The one who has always been there for me and with me, through thick and thin, good and bad, joy and heartache. My chosen sister.

Not In Her Storm
~ Sauni ~

I see the clouds rolling in and oh how it looks like rain
And it is always I fight for the welcome change
When it rains it pours on this heart of mine
So, I take the storms I feel to her each time.

But I know she has lived under her own pouring rain
Yet under her water her heart still doesn't change
She can walk away from what hangs overhead
And, not in her storm, are words left unsaid.

Not in her storm have I ever felt alone
Her storm ends, so I, may find my way home
It's for me that she pushes away her own rain
So, that I may find comfort in calling her name.

She lives in this world for the sake of another's heart
God, how she eases the miles when worlds apart
And she never wanders when your world falls through
Not ever in her storm would she do this to you.

She has wings that I know not only I can see
Cause only an angel could find strength to carry me
It's the way that the eyes can surely view
How her heart's written so clearly in what an angel can do.

Not in her storm is her work ever done
And even in her storm she hands me the sun
When her world is dark - I always have light
And now how I hold the new color of night.

She takes then she gives to an unhappy face
So that many can find an awesome place
I have been able to love her more every day
And with her hand in mine the clouds roll away.

Not in any storm that I will ever live beneath
Could ever change what I hold here inside of me
Not in any of her storms have I lost my angel's touch
To that angel out there, I love her so much.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where I'll Be on Monday Night

Was hoping to go with Nooj, but unfortunately she's going to be laid up.

Waving my extra ticket around....anyone want to go????

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Warning - Some Irreligious Content

I have a little travel tale to tell, but first let me give you some background.

I'm Scottish Protestant by birth, at times Catholic-educated, influenced by an Agnostic father. Growing up, I've been exposed to, and at times inflicted with, religion of various types. I've witnessed it, partaken of it, been yanked unceremoniously out of it.

I remember Sunday school from my very early days, courtesy of my mother, but no church visits. I went to Catholic schools from the age of about 7 up to 12, until my father visited mother superior and swore at her!! Basically, my sister had been having nightmares and they were tracked back to the use of a certain junior reading book (she was 7 then) which showed pictures of the devil tempting a little girl to steal cookies from a jar. My poor sister was a mess over it.

So off my dad went to complain, both she and I were taken from class to sit in the office with them and it all ended up in a huge row and I do believe the 'f' word was uttered by him, perhaps even in reference to the pope. Knowing my dad, this is a definite possibility. He then, apparently (I don't remember this), took both his girls by the hand and told a very shaken nun that we would NOT be returning. I won't repeat here what my mother had to say about that, as putting us in school fell under her responsibility.

I know that at my brother's school, another Catholic establishment (we were in Macau which was under Portuguese rule then and it was Catholic or nothing), my father had specifically requested that he didn't want his son undergoing religious instruction. To which he was told "That's quite acceptable, we have several heathen here." So there you go, my parents were the proud owners of three heathen children in a Catholic environment.

Before being dragged out of my Catholic experience, I became pretty much brainwashed by the whole thing and I think that probably influenced my father as much as my sister's fear of ever putting her hand in a cookie jar. I was heavily into the periphery of the whole scene. The holy cards, the rosaries, the accoutrements of the belief rather than the belief itself. Oh the hours and pocket money I spent at the Catholic Centre! I do recall that it was me asking for a veil that was the final straw to my father. And knowing him, it would have gone something like this: "No bloody daughter of mine is wearing a veil in church."

With a change of school, I grew out of it all and settled back into my non-religious ways, merely observing the many and varied that surrounded me in my next school - Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Catholic, Islam, Sikh, Christian. Today I don't have a religion, I have a belief in the power of the individual and each person's choice to follow good or evil ways. I also don't believe anyone has the right to accuse me of 'sin' as it relates to their belief system.

Anyway, my flight out of Tokyo was a bit late and the departure lounge was full. I managed to find an empty seat and as I was pretty tired from the long haul over the ocean, I just wanted to sit quietly until it was time to board the next flight. I sat next to this middle-aged gentleman and he decided to strike up conversation with me. The usual: Where are you headed, holiday or business, etc. Not that I asked him for details, he started to tell me about his missionary work in China, bringing Christianity to the people there.

At that, my left eyebrow was already climbing up my forehead. I was politely nodding and my eyes were glazing over. Then, he had the f'ing audacity to ask me - Do you know where you're going when you die? Let me just say I was NOT in the mood for a conversation like this. I merely answered, yes, ashes to ashes and scattered in the wind is my wish. Nope that wasn't going to suffice. He said no, I mean do you know, really know, if you are going to heaven? Well at that, my right eyebrow joined my left up towards my hairline and the glaze fell away. Had I not been so tired, I think I'd have told him that I thought it was all a load of codswallop and he really should think twice before asking questions like that one. Instead, I just said conversation over mister, you're selling and I'm not buying...and got up and sat elsewhere!!!

Not so far away that I couldn't observe him and the poor guy who took my place next to him. He was in for the same line of questioning. And when he told the missionary that he was in electronics import-export, he immediately said that he was looking for an ipod and a dvd player and could he help out!! Oh and by the way, Mr. Missionary was travelling business class.

I've seen religion, I've seen faith.....not the faith that means a trip in the car to church on Sunday, but the kind they practice in Tibet, where pilgrims from all corners of the region make their way to Lhasa, to the Jokhang Temple, which is the spiritual centre of Tibet. Prostrating themselves devoutly, inching forward body length by body length as they make their way slowly towards, then clockwise around, then into the temple, a painful journey which demonstrates the power of their belief in their faith. This isn't a day's outing, it can take them years of travel.

A faith that overcomes the incredible hardship that these people face, not only on their pilgrimage but every day of their lives. Lives they lead with an incredible appreciation for everything around them, for the smallest of considerations. And who share what they have with strangers, with a smile, and with absolutely no expectation of reward. Tibet was a humbling experience for me. To see people with so little, expressing such happiness and satisfaction with their lot. Since then I've never taken anything for granted.

I think I'll just remain an observer of many ways of thinking, and stick to my own.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Little Leunig

Today, I just wanted to share a couple of things from Michael Leunig, with you.....

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken
Do not clutch it
Let the wound lie open

Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt
And let it sting

Let a stray dog lick it
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell
And let it ring


Let it go. Let it out.
Let it all unravel.
Let it free and it can be
A path on which to travel.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My Long Distance Love

"The feeling of being wrenched from each other every time our trips come to an end."

I posted that in a comment after my last trip. While it is easy, so easy, to speak of the wonderment of being in love and being with the man I love, what I haven't spoken of is the pain of each parting.

I would trade the nights in lovely hotels, the trips to exciting places, the serotonin rush of seeing the man I love each time for the first time again, for the routine of living close enough to go grocery shopping or to a movie or to just hang out together. I envy, so totally envy, the routine that so many people have together. The routine that they often wish wasn't quite so routine.

When we see each other at the airport, we rush to be together and you couldn't pry us apart with any amount of force. We slam together in an embrace that takes our breath away and it lasts as long as we can stand there, before realising that the sooner we get out of the airport, the sooner we can get to the hotel.

Every second we're together is amazing, just amazing. We drink latte together and we find a way to make it about loving each other. We sit in the car driving around and we're loving each other. We sit in a restaurant booth eating (carefully positioned on the same bench as he's left-handed and I'm right-handed) and we're loving each other. We do everything while we love each other, and we love each other while we do everything.

But the parting. The damn parting leaves me feeling raw every time. I can't even begin to describe what it's like as the minutes tick towards whichever of our flights is the first to leave. If there was a sound associated with us having to release each other, it would be like the millions of hooks on industrial-strength velcro being ripped from the anchoring loops.

The ache that starts in my chest and overwhelms me as our arms are forced to let go of each other. The emotional pain that turns physical as I watch the distance between us grow. The way I feel as though I can't catch my breath and I hear my heart pounding in my ears. How my eyes burn with tears, fighting to hold them back so he doesn't have to see me cry. The emptiness, the total and absolute emptiness I feel when he goes from my sight. And those long, lonely trips home.

I miss him. Christ, I miss him with a hole in my being that can't be filled unless I'm with him. Oh yes, I hear murmurs of 'she's in the honeymoon stage' and I probably am. Believe it or not, however, there is something so pure and right about how we feel when we're together, I believe this period will last long beyond any expectation. I've had two serious relationships, one of which led to a short and very unhappy marriage, but I can honestly say that I've never in my entire life felt the way I do about this man.

This man who completes me.

This man who makes me a better woman by loving me.

This man who opens himself to me and accepts all of me, even the imperfect sometimes hard-to-love me.

This man who gives me more love, and more reason to love and be loved, than at any time in my past.

This man who is the love of my life.

This man who is my future.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Back in the Saddle

I got home last night sometime before 1am. Not a bad flight back over and I even had three seats to myself on the Tokyo-Hong Kong sector so I could stretch out. But turbulence put paid to getting any sleep. Before that flight I was squishy-squashed into a full plane for my journey over the Pacific and didn't get any sleep on that routing.

After getting in and unpacking and showering and having some toast (NW has the worst food in the air!!) I did get about three hours' rest last night so I'm actually doing quite well. However, I can't seem to get enough liquids into me, flying is so dehydrating!! Starbucks had a good customer this moring as apart from my latte, I got a ginger punch (yummy fresh ginger with lemon), a mineral water and a fruit salad. Since then I've also guzzled three very large mugs of hot water and three of cold.

I had a wonderful, awesome, phenomenal time. Well, how could it be anything else when I was spending time with the man I'm head over heels in love with? We were certainly ummm 'enthusiastic' at being together again and I hurt a little in all the right places. I think he may be a little raw himself!

I have a heart and mind enhanced with more precious memories. We drove, we ate, we laughed, we shared thoughts and sights, we hugged, we kissed, we touched all the time and..... we loved and loved and loved.

I am awed by my ability to love this man....and moreso by his ability to love me as he does.

I'm sure my saddle will get more comfortable in a couple of days. My heart on the other hand, is already aching to be with him again.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Time for Some Loving

I'm taking to the skies for another trip to see my beloved man (great big humungous grin).

It's not even light yet here, but I have to get to the airport for an early flight. Please let Starbucks be open by the time I get there, I'm in desperate need of a grande-skim-latte-with-an-extra-shot-please.

Sadly, not much time together, but we always manage to make every single second count.
I'll be back on Wednesday night.

Be good to yourselves, and everyone around you.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Soldier's Letter

Something definitely worth reading if you haven't already seen it elsewhere.

While I have never supported the war, I do feel for those over there. Everyone, not only the soldiers, the civilians too.

I hope he gets home safe. I hope they all do, even though sadly, I know they won't all get home. And of those who do get home, many will never be the same again.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

On Being Odoriferous

I love scents. Lots of natural scents. I have candles and incense sticks. I have an oil burner and a diffuser. I open my door when I come home at night and I smell 'home'.

This bowl sits near my front door and the Buddha's hand gives out the most beautiful light lemony scent. If I want to enhance the intensity, I just squeeze one of the fingers. It lasts a couple of weeks and truly is one of the best natural room fresheners you can find.

Another one I just adore is the white ginger lily

which has a very course foliage, big thick stalks and tough leaves, but an incredibly beautiful light aroma. A big bunch of these (10 or more) in a vase is just the most wonderful delight to the olfactory senses.

It's amazing the power a scent can have on us....bringing back specific memories from years gone by. Some good, some bad. These days, I often find myself sitting with my eyes closed, breathing in deeply and remembering the scent of my love's neck. Not a cologne, but his own natural scent. Wow.

We have a couple of unpleasant scents here (well more than a couple) but there are two in particular that I actually enjoy - I think you have to have grown up with them: durian and 'chau dau fu' (stinky bean curd).

Durian is a tropical fruit

I think from the jackfruit family and is so pungent that it's forbidden on aircraft and in hotel rooms!! Some people say it smells like vomit and yes, many people pinch their noses as they put it in their mouth, but it's so delicious!

My favourite Hong Kong smell has to be the wonderful fermented bean curd, the 'stinky tofu', which really does have a pretty powerful odour.

It's so yummy. Cubes are deep fried to give a crispy shell inside which is a creamy delicious curd. A few of those dipped in chili sauce is heaven!

While I wouldn't want either of the last two as room scents, I do love to catch the odd waft of them. Chau dau fu is becoming increasingly rare here, unfortunately.

And right now I'm going to spend a few minutes with my eyes closed, remembering the scent of a particular man's neck.


Moon Rising

Today I would like to share just one photo. But what a photo!

Hong Kong harbour at sunset, moon rising.

This is the work of Codino A.C. Divino. His galleries are here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Back to the Food

It has been a while since I mentioned food and I'm sure Ian has been taking note of my abstention in that area.

Someone, who shall remain nameless, raising an eyebrow over at you-know-who-you-are, said to me recently that I seem to eat some very strange things. So I just wanted to placate him, and any others who may think that of me, with a picture of a recent dinner:

Quesadillos with pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream, accompanied by a side order of refried beans.

It was good, I'll admit, but next time I'm quadrupling up on the pico de gallo because I love me some chili and that tiny little helping was gone after consuming only one of the four quesadillos.

As you can see it was delivered to my door by Cuisine Couriers, one of over a dozen delivery firms who collect orders from over 300 restaurants and bring it right to your door for the cost of ten percent of the order price. Aaaaaaaah what shall I have tonight?

So you see, it's not all duck tongues and chicken feet and dried fish skin and honeycomb beef (tripe) and other incredibly good eats. The width of my palate is closely associated to the width of my hips.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Happiness is:

* Bringing in the New Year (his) with the man I love, on the phone and webcam

* Looking forward to another trip this coming weekend

* Knowing how it feels to be loved by a good man, who means what he says

* Believing in the potential of loving someone and being loved equally back

* A brand new year with limitless possibilities ahead

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and that your 365 days of 2007 are filled with health and happiness, joy and love.

Mine is off to an absolutely wonderful start! I feel blessed.


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