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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Knew I Loved You

There are two songs with this title.

At the Oscars on Sunday, Celine Dion (not a particular favourite of mine) unveiled an Ennio Morricone song (originally the theme from 'Once Again in America') with lyrics written especially for her. He really is a prolific composer for the screen, having created some truly amazing movie scores, just think 'A Fistful of Dollars', 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', '1900', 'Cinema Paradiso', the list is virtually endless. For me, though, nothing can ever even touch his music for 'The Mission'.

I Knew I Loved You

I knew I loved you
Before I knew you
The hands of time
Would lead me to you

An evening star
Was from afar
It guided me here
It knew you'd be here

Now wrapped in moonlight
At last together
Here in the incandescent glow
We are all we need to know
As we softly please each other
'Til the stars and shadow glow
And we sleep
With our dreams around us.

Oooohhhh ahhhhhh
Ooohhhh ohhhh

It guided me
It knew you'd be here

I knew I loved you
Before I found you
I knew I'd built my world around you
Now all my days
And all my nights
And my tomorrows
Will all begin
And end
With you...
With you.

And of course there's the Savage Garden song:

I Knew I Loved You

Maybe it's intuition
But some things you just don't question
Like in your eyes
I see my future in an instant
and there it goes
I think I've found my best friend
I know that it might sound more than
a little crazy but I believe

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

There's just no rhyme or reason
only this sense of completion
and in your eyes
I see the missing pieces
I'm searching for
I think I found my way home
I know that it might sound more than
a little crazy but I believe

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

A thousand angels dance around you
I am complete now that I found you

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

To the man I cherish and adore, the man I treasure above all things .... I knew I loved you before I met you, I have been waiting all my life.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oink Oink

I was away, and at the mercy of a hopeless dial-up connection (I posted once and that took four drafts and over an hour of battling with data transfer surges) when Chinese New Year came around this year. As a bit of a catchup, I'm posting this prediction by Lo Si-Fu (Master Lo).

What I particularly like for this year of the Fire Pig is, as an Earth Dog, my prediction for the year tells me: Dogs are one of the zodiacs with the best love luck this year, meaning you will have an excellent love relationship. After experiencing many changes last year, this is in fact a year of settling into this love relationship. Woo hoo!!!

By Master Raymond Lo

The Chinese calendar, commonly known as the Farmers’ Calendar, or the Hsia Calendar, is a fascinatingly accurate system, which not only records the passage of time, but is also a tool for fortune-telling. The famous traditional fortune-telling system – The Four Pillars of Destiny – is exactly referring to reading a person’s destiny from his birth data as presented in the Hsia calendar format. The unique feature of such calendar is that all information about time – year, month, day and hour are presented in terms of the five basic elements – metal, water, wood, fire and earth, which are believed to be the basic components of everything in the Universe. The relationship between the fire elements accurately helps one predict what is to come by way of one’s fortunes and thus, one can by using this knowledge, multiply the good luck or minimize the bad luck in one’s life.

The Year of the Pig, 2007, in the Hsia calendar, is symbolized by two elements – with fire sitting on top of water. According to the cycle of birth and destruction, which governs the inter-relationship between the elements, fire will be conquered by water. Therefore, fire sitting on water is a symbol of conflict and skirmish and this may bring a relatively less peaceful year with more international conflicts and struggles. In recent years, the last time such fire and water elements appeared was in 2002 in the year of the water horse, which was the year immediately after 911 and terrorist attacks became a global threat . The fire standing on top in 2007 is yin fire which is compared to the candle flame. Whilst the yang fire in 2006 symbolizes the sun and represents openness, optimism, warmth, politeness and care, the Yin fire in 2007 symbolizes tension, temperamental emotions, agitations, and illusions. The Yin fire is candle flame, and a spark of fire. There is a common Chinese saying that “A spark of fire can burn down the whole plain”. As such, yin fire can be more damaging and destructive than yang fire. It is anticipated that there will be more international conflicts and disharmony which will even lead to regional warfare, uprising and unrest, or over throwing of the government in certain countries.

The Pig belongs to water element, however, it represents the beginning of winter and is the birth month of wood. As such, the pig symbolizes the germination of a plants, a new life is born. As such, the pig year can bring a new beginning of international relationships and social order, this could bring new regimes with new government in some countries. The pig is also considered as a “Traveling star”. So years of the pig will stimulate more traveling and this will very much benefit the tourist industry. However, the Pig is in clash relationship against the snake. This is a clash between water and fire elements and will often bring accidents related to both air and the sea. The snake can also symbolize the train.

The Five basic elements also represent different parts of our body, fire in general relates to blood circulation and the heart, and yin fire also represents the brain, the eyes and the nerve system. As such, the health problems related to yin fire could be heart disease, inflammation, hyper tension, in serious cases; it could bring about heart attack and stroke, or nervous breakdown, anxiety, depression and insomnia as well as obesity. Therefore in 2007 we should pay more attention to health of the heart as well as mental health. For people who are born in the day of yin fire, it is always advisable to take up more relaxation exercises such as Taichi and yoga in order to reduce tension and stress.
In recent years world wide epidemic such as avian flu has been worrying and there is also reason to see such threats could intensify in 2007. In human history the most serious outbreak of epidemic is the Black Death which started in Europe in the year 1347 which is exactly a year of yin fire on the Pig. This epidemic wiped out about one third of the population in Europe and this is estimated to be about 34 million people. Another signal of such threat to health in 2007 also appears in the feng shui flying stars. In 2007 the star number 2, representing sickness is in the centre. This centre number often reflects the focus of events prevailing in the year. Take for example, in 2005 we have 4 in the centre and the number 4 symbolizes the chicken. So this the year the threat of avian flu began. In 2006 the star 3 in the centre represents conflict and earthquakes, and so we have to assume the 2 in the centre in 2007 will bring more health problems. The best precaution against such health threat is to take a more healthy diet and taking health supplements such as anti-oxidants to improve our immune system.

In general, the yin fire Pig year, with fire on top conquered by water below, is symbol of more disharmony and struggle before the birth of a new world order. There will be more international conflicts and uprisings and unrest but such events may bring positive changes leading to longer term benefit for the future of humanity and global well-being.

The animal sign which is most unfavorable is the Snake which is in direct clash against the Pig. Such clashes will usually bring about turbulence, movements, accident or changes. So people born in the year of the Snake will anticipate more traveling , or movements such as changing jobs or moving house. It is necessary to carry the pendant of a Tiger as protection to attract the Pig away. For the Snake people, the clash against the Pig could bring accidents related to the water and fire element, such as explosion, fire disasters, air and sea traffic accidents. For people who are under clash with the year, it is okay to travel more, making changes such as moving house, or change job. However, for people born in the year of the Snake, it is recommended not to travel directly towards the direction of the Grand Duke, which is the northwest direction, and it is also not recommended for them to travel by sea. The other animals signs facing unfavorable positions is the Pig, as when Pig encounters a Pig year will form Self Penalty relationship. Such self penalties will usually bring irritation and frustrations, such as putting in a lot of effort without any concrete achievements. Also the imbalance of fire and water elements brought about by the Snake and the Pig may bring fire and water diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart burn, inflammation, diabetes, and kidney problems.

The animals combining with the Pig year are the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Goat. These animals are into a year of harmony. However, such animal astrology is not totally reliable as the system is not recognized as a formal type of fortune-telling. For more reliable assessment of ones fortune in the year of the Pig, it is recommended that one checks the full Four Pillars of Destiny, which requires full birth data information of the Year, Month, Day and Hour of birth. As the animal signs can appear in all four pillars in a person’s birth data, the clash and penalty relationship with the Pig will not only impact people born in the year of Snake and Pig. Such clash and penalties can also impact any one who has such animals in the birth month, or day or hour.

Feng Shui energies also change from year to year. Therefore, it is necessary to watch for the re-allocation of good and bad energies at the beginning of each year, so that we can take necessary precautions if some bad energy happens to arrive at important locations of our residence or offices. In the year of the Pig, the bad energy called “Five Yellow” – symbolizing obstacles and misfortune, arrives at the Northeast. If your northeast of the house is an important area such as bedroom or entrances, it is recommended that one hangs a metal wind chime there to dissolve this bad energy. The worst months will be in February, August, and November. Another bad star number 2, symbolizing sickness, will arrive in the centre in 2007. The traditional method to dissolve this 2 is to hang a string of six metal coins in the affected area in the Centre of the house The Grand Duke this year is in the Northwest, hence it is not favorable to “move earth” or make substantial construction work in this direction. It is also not recommended for one to sit with back against exact West as you will be sitting against the unfavorable energy called “Three Shars” or “Three Killings”. The bad star 3 is a star of conflict and robbery. This is present in the northwest of the house. It is necessary to put a piece of red paper in the northwest to minimize such a bad influence. Also the bad star 7, representing scandals is in the North, the traditional solution for this bad star 7 is to place 3 or 4 of bamboo plant grown in clear glass vase of water in the North location.

~ * ~ * ~

Strangely enough, my six bamboos reduced themselves to four while I was away - seems my feng shui sorted itself out for the New Year.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Taking a Deep Breath....

Motherhood. The ultimate bond, the ultimate trust. And when that trust is betrayed, when a mother doesn't keep her child from danger, doesn't protect her child from harm, be it physical or emotional, where is a child to turn to?

Sibling rivalry and jealousy. When does it cross the funny line? When does it stop being silly, childish pranks and become something altogether more sinister?

Before my father passed away, I used to go home to visit him and my mother. The final year and a half was very tough, seeing him faltering despite his incredible courage. Witnessing his crippling pain. Knowing that I would lose him - my rock, my anchor - one day soon. But still, even with that tragedy looming, the visits were filled with love and laughter between us.

Now I go there to the house on the sea, which he chose, the place he loved, and spend time with my mother. And I'm uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because every visit, she speaks of my brother to me, and I cannot speak of him in return. You see, I loathe him. Yes, I can honestly sit here and type those words. I loathe my brother. I cannot forgive him for what he did to me as a child. I have been told that I need to forgive him because I won't move on until I do. But I will never forgive him.

And on these visits I have to sit and hear how wonderful my mother thinks he is. What a good child he was. And a good man he is. I bite my tongue and bile builds up inside me. There are times I have to just walk away and regain my composure. My sister dislikes him, for different reasons. A recent dislike and distrust of his motives for getting closer to my mother. The reason being, our inheritance. She may well be right but I will do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen.

My mother took me aside on this last visit and told me that she feels upset that my brother and sister aren't on speaking terms. That for her this is something she wants to see change before she leaves us. As though it's my responsibility to make it happen. I felt sick to my stomach when she said 'I don't even want to know what the problem is between them, I just want it fixed.' My reply to her was that perhaps this is an integral part of the problem, her refusal to show any kind of interest as to what is fuelling their mutual dislike and why my sister feels this way (my sister did email him over a year ago to try to build a bridge but he never replied to her). My mother was genuinely surprised that I would say that to her. And I took the opportunity to add: 'I'm not close to him either and don't want to be.' I guess I was hoping she might ask me why, especially as I'd just intimated she should ask what the problem is between my sister and him. But she didn't.

I was so damn close to telling her. To destroying her loving son's image in her eyes. To opening a gaping wound in our family that could never be healed. But I didn't. I couldn't. I couldn't tell her all those years ago and I still can't tell her. That he and his older friend abused me for years. That she sent me out with them every day. To 'play'. From the time I was eight years old. That the tantrums she laughs about to this day were probably something to do with the anguish and fear I lived with every day of my life for years. That I was afraid to fall asleep at night because he would come into my room and pull my nightdress up and touch me. That years after he stopped, I could still turn ice cold from remembering how his fingers felt on my skin.

That his friend would make me sit on his lap in the cinema and touch me. That I had my first orgasm sitting there at the age of eight or nine, watching the Disney movie 'The Sword in the Stone'. That I didn't know what had happened to my body that day and my first boyfriend ended up with a catatonic mess on his hands when he touched me in the same places so many years later. That I was sexually shut-down well into my 30s. That I didn't orgasm again until my mid 30s and that is when I realised what had happened to me in the dark cinema that day. That I had tried to destroy the body they had had such an unnatural interest in, first by overeating, then through anorexia and finally with a passage into the depths of bulimia.

And as if it wasn't enough to steal my childhood, he also tried to kill me three times. That's harsh, I know, but it's true. My mother knows about two of them. And laughs about them as though it was some silly childhood prank. Once he helped me up onto the railing of the balcony of a ninth-floor apartment when I was only four. When my mother recounts the tale, she treats it as a joke and her punchline is: 'I don't even remember running to pull her off the railing but I suppose I must have because she's here today.'

The second time, using a bow and arrow set my dad had given him (not a toy, my dad was at sea in those days and brought home a tribal artifact, not thinking ahead enough to remove the arrowheads before giving it to him to play with), he sat on my chest, loaded it and stuck an arrow in my mouth, then shot it into my throat. For some reason my mother finds it amusing that I had to be rushed to the emergency room of the nearest hospital as my throat swelled up around the lodged arrow and I couldn't breathe. Funny stuff isn't it!

The third time she never found out about because my brother threatened me if I told her. And I knew his threats weren't empty. This is why. A normal day, he was told to take me out to play, to go and have a swim in the pool in the complex. I was under his care because I hadn't learned to swim yet, I would have been about 10. I was given my inflatable ring. I got into the pool with it on, in the shallow end and my brother, who could swim, towed me to the deep end, put his hands on either side of me, on the ring, and pushed it down under the surface until it was free of my legs. My buoyancy aid removed, I slid under the surface. I still remember tumbling over and over as I sank into eight feet of water. To this day I believe I had a guardian angel looking after me because somehow my fingertips found the bottom rung of the ladder and I managed to grab hold and pull myself up. He was standing there on the side of the pool laughing, holding my ring.

From that moment I feared being near him. That's when the tantrums started, my refusal to go out, my dark moods, all the tears. All of which made me a 'bitch' in my mother's eyes. To this day she'll tell people what an absolute bitch I was as a baby and a child. Well, these are the things I remember, perhaps there are some I still don't want to, still can't. I honestly don't know. Maybe I just don't want to know.

My mother may wish to see her children a happy little trio before she goes. But she won't. And she is partly responsible for it. As much as we are, anyway. I may be wrong in not telling her some, or all, of this. But to me it's the only compassionate thing I can do. To protect her. Even though she failed miserably to protect me as a child. And I cannot sacrifice myself again. I cannot risk finding out she knew and did nothing. Or that she'll disbelieve me. Or that she'll like me even less if she thinks that because of me, my brother becomes less than he is, in her eyes.

How could she not know what was happening? Or did she know and choose not to see? My father wasn't home all those years, he would be away for almost a year and then back with us for only short periods of time. That was the way it was for men at sea in those days. I know he'd have believed me, but he would also probably have wanted to kill my brother if he'd known.

Breathing out again....

Update 27 February:

Thank you all so much for your words, your support, your understanding. I'm overcome by the outpouring to what was such a difficult post for me to write, one that I very almost didn't put here. After my second quod-me-nutrit-me-destruit post way back in August, Sunny and I exchanged some comments that bear repeating here, to show that these experiences don't need to leave a person in a state of hopelessness :

Sunny: Abuse is an insideous evil in our world...but those of us who survive it AND the punishment we mete out upon ourselves for being abused....we are stronger, we have steel backbones, and we teach...sometimes in small ways...sometimes in large...YOU my dear are teaching :)

Me: We do end up with backbones of steel, without a doubt. I have grown up to be not the victim. He is more the victim than I ever will be. He is the one haunted and unable to form any kind of relationship with me. He is the one who remained silent at our father's funeral, unable to even speak of an exceptional man, for I believe he knows people would have looked at him and through him. He does not wear his guilt, it wears him, putting him in a constant state of discomfort.The perpetrator becomes the victim in the end. I instead grew up and grew strong.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I have a routine in the morning. I leave for work, take a short detour to Starbucks for a grande triple skim latte and cinnamon/apple scone. Pass by the newspaper stand to pick up a newspaper and then into the office to spend 15 minutes or so savouring the silence and catching up with what's been going on in the world while enjoying my coffee and scone.

Well today, horrors of horrors, no cinnamon/apple scones!! My choices were blueberry, pepper or coffee. I'm not a huge fan of blueberry anything, pepper first thing in the morning with a latte just made my stomach turn....so it was the coffee scone.

I sat here eating it, not too convinced but it wasn't totally unpleasant. Until.....I got to the centre and there was this mass of gooey chocolately stuff. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a total chocoholic but I was not expecting anything like that in the middle of a scone. That's just so wrong. So very wrong. If there's going to be anything inside a scone, I want to be the one to put it there. Like clotted cream and strawberry jam. NOT some thick, pseudo-chocolately goo.

So my morning has been completely ruined. Tomorrow I'll be giving those a miss, if they are on the tray again. And if they are I'm going to have to say something to the manager. Something like 'bring back my apple/cinnamon scones or I'm going to Pacific Coffee'!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Whether with or without my glasses at the moment, nothing seems clear. I see everything in a distorted light. I'm confused. Muddled.

My family gets to me. No, wait, I let them get to me. Every time, because they know my buttons. And every time, I expose them. Why, as adults, do we continue to let ourselves be so affected by those we haven't chosen to be in our lives? Steve posted something in a similar vein, just yesterday.

I was looking forward to my trip. And by the second day I was so miserable, I just wanted to come home. To be home. Well, one of my homes. I now have two. The physical environment with my furniture and my name on the lease is one home. My second home is with the man I love, the togetherness we feel is 'home' for us.

It was hard being in Tenerife, surrounded by the memories. Being in the apartment where I experienced so much unhappiness. Sleeping in the bed I had once shared with the man who almost destroyed me. Every visit, I tell myself I can handle this, I'll be alright, enough time has passed. But each time I'm there, I lose my sense of self. The memories pulsate deep within me and I feel as though they crawl up to just under the surface of my skin. I feel detached from me. It got so bad one night, I was in tears simply because my sister wouldn't turn her stereo down in the small hours of the morning when I was trying to sleep. She was drunk and kept playing with the volume. Turning it down then back up again. I called my love and he spent time with me, helping me, talking me through it. I don't know what I'd have done without him, thankfully I didn't need to find out.

Her drinking really affected me. My sister is a really wonderful woman with a fragile disposition and a poor sense of self. Hell, I know how that feels, I've struggled with my own self-esteem all my life. When she drinks, she turns nasty. Usually against me. There is something so very wrong at the heart of her relationship with me. I suspect it's jealousy. I conformed and she didn't. She refused to apply herself to anything and is now paying the price. I help her as much as I can and even that she spat back in my face during one of her drunken episodes. She hates me for being able to help her. I tried to explain that's not really it. That it's more about her hating herself for not being able to be self-reliant.

Then there was the time spent with my Mum. That's for another post. A deeper hurt. Right now it all feels like this:

I know that's a rose, I believe it's a rose. But it's all distorted. I want to see the rose. Smell the rose. Feel the rose.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The last three times I've left on a trip, I've hated coming back. Hated being wrenched from the man I love. This time, after my family trip, I couldn't wait to get back, couldn't wait to be behind the front door of my little home.

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last three posts, your kindness, understanding, support and love never fail to amaze me. In this short time friendships have blossomed and there is a huge bond between so many of us. Thank you, I'm humbled.

My trip. Ups, downs, in betweens. Love, dislike. Tolerance, intolerance. Anger, understanding. So much to sort out in my mind, to try to come to terms with, to understand, to accept.

Right now I'm just glad to be back here, in my own little space. And back in touch properly with my love. I missed being able to reach out whenever I needed him. And I know he felt the same way. What I would love more than anything, would be to rest against him, his strong arms wrapped around me.

It's the safest place I've ever known.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Half-way Through

My trip is half over, here I am in London, at a Gatwick airport hotel overnight. I was to fly out early in the morning but I've changed it to an early afternoon flight instead. I need time to gather myself before the next onslaught.

Four days with my sister. One day she was OK, the other three she was mildly drunk to totally drunk. She has a serious drinking problem. If it's there, she has to drink it. Nothing comes before it. Nothing takes its place. And if it's not there, she has to go and find it. No matter the hour. She and her boyfriend actually went out at 2am to the local bar, after drinking the house dry one night.

And her boyfriend also has a drinking problem. A little different from hers, but a drinking problem nonetheless. He binge drinks. One day he'll have nothing but juice and tea and soda. And the next he'll drink from morning to night. And I see the co-dependency where my sister defends his behaviour. She goes to pick him up from the bar where he has spent the entire day and is totally legless. Trying to rationalise his behaviour to me.

I was so unhappy those days, except for the fact I was with my dog. I do miss him so very very much. By Tuesday I wanted to leave. To just get out. Only by speaking with my love on the phone, was I able to hang on. I called him, in tears, and he calmed and soothed me. He can reach through a phone and comfort me with his voice, with his love. I appreciate him so very much.

I support my sister financially and she told me she hates that. I support her emotionally and she told me I'm cold. I defend her to other members of my family and she told me I am never on her side. I have tried to help her with treatment for depression and anxiety and all she does is go back to the bottle. There is nothing I can do that is right. And she hates the fact that she needs me.

Tomorrow, I fly up to Edinburgh then travel by train to my mother's. Rhona will fly from Tenerife to Newcastle and then go by train to my mother's. We will have another three days together.

Right now, I wish I was catching a flight back to Hong Kong. I feel drained. I feel in need of my love's big strong arms wrapped around me, making the rest of the world go away. Soon, I need that soon.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For My Valentine

On this day of love, I celebrate the most amazing man I have ever known. I've tried to come up with a post talking of his qualities, his abilities, his amazing ways. Words could never describe him adequately.

I love him. He loves me. His love is a balm to my soul. The love which I share with this man is like a soft putty seeping through my entire being, smoothing out the cracks, filling the gaps. Completing me. Making me whole in ways I never thought I'd ever feel. His love comforts me, inspires me.

We celebrate our love every single day, in so many ways. When we're apart and most incredibly when we're together.

Today, my love, this is for you. I know you will see it and smile that beautiful smile of yours and understand all the elements......

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
(Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.)

Andrea Palmas
2 August 1949 - 10 February 2004

I was young when I met this man, and older than my actual years by the time I left him. A soul so full of demons, a heart that refused to love any woman but the one who would not love him. I've written a little about this man on my blog before.

Today is the third anniversary of his death. I wonder how many people whose lives he touched, are remembering him today. Those who are will most probably include his mother, his three sisters, two ex-wives (I'm not one of them), a daughter, a son, five nieces. My hope is that others will also stop for a moment and remember him.

Andy was so many things, father, son, husband, brother, uncle, friend. And what he loved being the most, dive instructor. His passion was the sea and inspiring others to find beauty in the underwater world. Noone only ever dived once with Andy, he had an ability to fire up their interest and they all came back to learn the sport. He lived to develop others' interest and had such a way about him when it came to diving. His dream was to run a dive business focussing on education and together, we opened up a dive centre in 1999. I gave up my career, my home, my friends and we moved to the Canary Islands. I owned and ran the business, he was the head instructor and staff manager. It was only four years later, that I posted this on the website:

It is with great sadness that I am writing this today. Andy (Andrea) Palmas passed away suddenly in Italy on February 10, at the age of 54.

Andy was the heart and soul behind Aqua-Marina when it was founded and played a crucial role in helping to build the business from the ground up. A passionate diver and educator, nothing made him happier than to turn a non-diver into a diver and he so loved the excitement in the eyes of those returning from their first dive. Some of you will remember him as being the person who introduced you to diving, others as the enthusiastic authority who took you further into the world of diving, while some of you will recall time spent just being underwater with him in the medium he so loved.

A beloved son, brother, father and partner, Andy is survived by a daughter in Italy and a son in Sweden.

Andy was a part of my life for 15 years and I shall miss knowing I could hear his voice if I picked up the phone – and how I now wish I had over the past few years since we went our separate ways.

Go in peace Andy and for those of us who knew you, who truly knew you, you will remain in our hearts forever.

Such demons haunted this man's soul. I hope that now he has found his peace. I know I have found mine with him. I found it in a tiny church outside Rome, by the sea. Looking at that picture, in front of which his urn was placed. Listening to a priest hold a mass in a language I cannot understand more than a few words of, Italian. Words Andy taught me. But I felt peace finally come to me. Knowing his tortured journey was over. It wasn't an easy peace to find, in the four years we lived together, he had taken me to hell and back. He broke my heart, he tortured my soul, he even took me to within an inch of my life one dark, evil night.

About his life I can honestly say two things: He only ever loved one woman (not me) and he loved the bottle even more than that. I fought for him but the alcohol won. I fought until I'd lost myself in the process. I realise now that I did everything I could to save him, but he didn't want to be saved. There was a time when he was with me, when he actually died. No pulse, no respiration, eyes glazed over. But I managed to revive him and he never forgave me. He told me he had watched me giving him CPR, from above, that night. He recounted to me later, my exact words, my exact movements. And he said it didn't hurt to drift away, but coming back into his body, he experienced excrutiating pain.

Two other times, he tried to take his life. I didn't let him. Maybe I should have. The last time, I really did consider letting him go, letting him make that ultimate choice. When I found him, only barely breathing, I hestitated about going for help. But, for whatever reason, I wasn't ready to let him go, or to be the one who didn't help when I could. I know he was trying to follow his son, who ended his own life at 18. Andy never got over that and in the end, the slow suicide of alcoholism got him. After I had given up. After I had walked away. After I had let him almost destroy me as part of his own destruction. After I left him to rot if that was his choice and maybe his destiny.

His sisters chose that picture of him for the funeral service. He looked so happy. He was happy then. For that fleeting moment in Hong Kong, before he lost his eldest son, he was happy. I find just a little solace in knowing that I was the one to have put the most effort into helping him, of giving him something to feel happy about. Of trying to bring some light and love into his life. Of giving him his dream. And because of that, being the one to witness that smile there, firsthand. Maybe that's the worst thing, knowing that the potential was there, he just wasn't strong enough or didn't want it badly enough.

Rest in peace Andy. And if there's a bar where you are now, it's a sure bet you're sitting drinking a large bourbon straight up and people are enjoying your company. I wish you had believed me when I told you that you didn't need that glass in your hand, for people to like you.

Friday, February 09, 2007


This post doesn't feel like me. It reads as discombobulated as I feel. I'll be better soon, so many things I want to write about, so little time in the past two weeks to write.

I'm here....I'm there....I'm everywhere!!! I don't feel ready to travel, even though I've checked-in online and I've started to pack. And now I hear it's COLD COLD COLD in the UK, hopefully by the time I'm on my way there, on the 15th, it has warmed up a little. Actually I don't feel the cold too badly (all this insulation I have) but Rhona will be miserable!!

Travel....checked-in online, managed to get a good aisle seat with extra legroom at the bulkhead, in BA's World Traveller Plus compartment (bit of extra room). My wonderful Hilton contact has secured a day-use room for Saturday and again on the 15th overnight (due to connections) at Gatwick at the amazing rate of 25 quid inclusive of VAT and breakfast. Usually it would be about 100-120 quid.

Packing....clothes for heat and clothes for the cold. Wish lists completed. Six frisbees for Lupo. 12 packets of satay marinade for Rhona. About 50 dvds for Rhona. Pashminas and perfume for Mum.

Money....Euros and Pounds sorted.

Work....is pretty much about 'there'. I am down to about six things I must get done before I go. Email rule is ready to be enabled. Will hand over active projects, some upwards and some downwards.

Newspaper delivery....damn I forgot to cancel my weekend paper delivery at home, but that's nothing too major to worry about.

So, why the discombobulation? I don't know, maybe just trepidation about seeing Mum again, preparing for battle, hoping there is only calm and good times. I'm worried about Rhona's drinking, she gets so aggressive when she over-imbibes and she tends to do that a lot, especially when she's on her own home ground. Wishing I was going to see my love, instead of travelling in the other direction.

We had a wonderful telephone date my last night/his yesterday morning. Truly wonderful! I love that man, my god how I do love him. Suddenly, it all feels more like this.

And although I won't be on the computer while I'm in Tenerife, I will be able to connect again when I'm in Scotland. Nevertheless, I have my mobile and am getting more and more proficient with the text function so we'll be in constant contact by text and voice. Which makes me feel like this.

Every little smidgen of contact we have, warms my soul.

Still, we want more. We need more. We will have more. Including more, of this.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Juggling, Trying Not To Miss Any Balls As They Descend

*apologies to anyone with coulrophobia*

That is what work feels like these days, just one big juggling act. A constant prioritising and re-prioritising effort. I've been so busy at work these past few weeks. Lots of interviews, lots of meetings, lots of end-of-year 'stuff', lots of 15-16 hour days. And I'm all too aware that lately I've been putting 'filler' here, partly because of a lack of time to sit and delve deep, partly because there's so much to say about so many things around me, that I'm not sure where to start.

I did write something yesterday, date-specific for the 10th, so that's done at least.

Oh, and I'm about to go on walkabout again. This time, flying west to Europe. First stop Tenerife by way of London, to spend some quality time with my beloved boy and my sister of course, mustn't forget her!! Then we're travelling separately over to Scotland (me via London, she's going via Newcastle) but we'll get there on the same day (with several hours between us). A few days with Mum, then it will be time to make the long journey home, to get back here on the 2oth as our Chinese New Year break ends on that day and it's time to be back at work on the 21st. My sis is planning on staying a few extra days in Scotland.

I'm looking forward to the trip but it will be hard to sit at the airport here and watch the flights heading east towards the man I love. The last three times I've been at the airport, it was to go to visit him. Sighs. We need to be together again soon.

I'll write more tomorrow, before I go. Hopefully, something a little more interesting than this!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When All Is Said And Done

Whether pro, anti or undecided about the war, sometimes a simple picture says more than any words ever could:

Some further information is here and here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sometimes, When I'm Bored

Although there's rarely a moment for mindless entertainment, sometimes, when I'm bored, I play here and here

Sorry to those expecting something a little more......raunchy ;)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Stress Test / Optical Illusion

Stare at these pictures for a few seconds (you may need to click on them to enlarge to full size for the proper effect)

Are the patterns moving?

Or are they perfectly still?

The patterns are used to test the level of stress a person can handle.

The slower the pictures move, the better your ability of handling stress.

Alleged criminals that were tested see them spinning around madly.

However, senior citizens and kids see them standing still.

None of these images are animated.

For me the rate of movement is: middle one, then the first, then the last. But thank goodness none are moving very fast. And even more thankfully, none are standing still!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Collection of Wise Words

In the TV miniseries "Taken", the character of Allie Keys (played by Dakota Fanning) is eight years old. Allie comes from a long line of alien abductees both on her mother's side, as well as her father's. The unique thing about Allie is the way she was concieved - both parents were 'taken' at the same time on the same day, though they had never met prior to the abduction. And it was during this abduction, that Allie was conceived.

If you haven't seen this Spielberg series from 2002, it is worth a 'wee shooftie' (a little look) as my dad used to say.

One of the most amazing things to come out of it are the words spoken by Allie Keys as the narrator (credit the writer Leslie Bohem). Imagine them, if you will, voiced by an eight year-old girl.

My mom told me once that when you're afraid of something, what you want more than anything else is to make it go away. You want your life back to the way it was before you found out that there was something to be afraid of. You want to build a high wall and live your old life behind it. But nothing ever stays the same. That's not your old life at all. That's your new life with a wall around it. Your choice is not about going back to the way things were. Your choice is about hiding, or about going right to the heart of the thing that scares you.

Sometimes the best way to move into the unknown is to take familiar steps, small steps. To do ordinary things to deal with something that is in no way ordinary. We're always going someplace new, all the time. Familiar things just let us pretend that we aren't moving into unfamiliar territory. You take those small familiar steps, and you try to be honest, not to live as if nothing had changed, but still to go on with your life. But there are times when what you need is a piece of how things used to be.

My grandfather used to tell my mom that kids should never have to worry about anything more serious than baseball. Everything you need to know is there. It has success and failure, moments when you come together and moments where you stand alone. And it has an ending. Not a clock, like in other sports, but an ending. And that, my grandfather said to my mom, is as close as a kid should have to come to that sort of thing.

People talk a lot as if the most important thing in life is to always see things for what they really are. But everything we do, every plan we make, is kind of a lie. We're closing our eyes and pretending that the day won't ever come when we won't need to make any more plans.

Hope is the biggest lie there is, and it is the best. We have to keep going as if it all mattered, or else we wouldn't keep going at all.

People say that when we grow up, we kick at everything we've been told, we rebel against the world our parents worked so hard to bring us into, that part of growing up is kicking at the ties that bind. But I don't think that's why we kick at all. I think we kick when we find out that our parents don't know much more about the world than we do. They don't have all the answers. We rebel when we find out that they've been lying to us all along, that there isn't any Santa Claus at all.

Is every moment of our lives built into us before we're born? If it is, does that make us less responsible for the things we do? Or is the responsibility built in too? After you hit the ball, do you stand and wait to see if it goes out, or do you start running and let nature take its course?

What makes a man who he is? Is it the worst things he's ever done, or the best things he wants to be? When you find yourself in the middle of your life and you're nowhere near of where you were going, how do you find the way from the person you've become to the one you know you could have been?

My mother always talked to me a lot about the sky. She liked to watch the clouds in the day, and the stars at night... especially the stars. We would play a game sometimes, a game called, what's beyond the sky. We would imagine darkness, or a blinding light, or something else that we didn't know how to name. But of course, that was just a game. There's nothing beyond the sky. The sky just is, and it goes on and on, and we'll play all of our games beneath it.

Most people change kind of slowly. They're who they are and then after a while, they're someone else. But some people know the exact moment where their lives changed. They saw the person they were going to marry or the look in their baby's eyes the first time he smiled. For some people, it's not the good things in life that made them change. It's something they've gone through that makes everything they look at from that moment on seem very different from how it had always been.

People are lonely in this world for lots of different reasons. Some people have something in their disposition. Maybe they were just born too mean, or maybe they were born too tender. But most people are brought to where they are by circumstance, by calamity or a broken heart or something else happening in their lives that wasn't anything they planned on. People are lonely in this world for lots of different reasons. The one thing that I do know is, it doesn't matter what any one of them might tell you--nobody wants to be alone.

Some people have given up all hope of anything in their lives ever changing. They just go on with it day by day, and if something were to come along and make things different, they probably wouldn't even notice it right off, except for that kind of nervous feeling you get in your stomach. My mom and I used to call that "the car trip feeling," because it was how I'd feel whenever I knew we were going to go somewhere far away or somewhere new.

There are times when it seems like the whole world is afraid...when the fear is something you have to live with day in day out. When people get scared, they do a lot of different things. They fight, or they run, they destroy the thing they're afraid of, or they put a lot of distance between it and them.

Why do people want so desperately not to be alone? Why is it more comforting to think you are being watched than to know that no one at all is watching? And why, really, does that make us any less alone? In the end, if there are others out there, then wouldn't we be, all of us, still alone together?

People like to examine the things that frighten them, to look at them and give them names, so saints look for God, and scientists look for evidence. They're both just trying to take away the mystery, to take away the fear.

We all like to think that we have some control over the events in our lives, and a lot of the time we can fool ourselves into thinking that we really are in charge. But then something happens to remind us that the world runs by its own rules and not ours and that we're just along for the ride.

The world is made up of the big things that happen and the small ones. And the part that's so unfair is that we call them "big" and "small", because when something happens to you, when you lose something or someone that you really care about, that's all there is. The world may be blowing up around you, but you don't care about that. You don't care about that at all.

We're all standing on the edge of a cliff, all the time, every day, a cliff we're all going over. Our choice isn't about that. Our choice is about whether we want to go kicking and screaming or whether we might want to open our eyes and our hearts to what happens once we start to fall.

I think when you're older, what gets hard is that you forget how to take things as they come. And sometimes, the things that do come are more than anyone should have to take.

*Everyone knows not to stare into the sun. It’s something your mother tells you when you’re a kid, “Don’t stare at the sun, or you’ll go blind”. But sometimes you want to understand something so badly, that you’ll risk going blind for just a glimpse of what it might all be about.

People come home for a lot of reasons. They come home to remember, they come home because they've got no place else to go, they come home when they're beaten, they come home when they're proud. They come looking for a door out into their past, or a road out into their future. They come home for a lot of reasons. But they always come home to say goodbye.

Some people put a lot of work into their lawn, as if a patch of green grass was the most important thing in the world. As if they thought that as long as the lawn out front was green and mowed and beautiful, it wouldn't matter at all what was going on inside of the house.

Do you know the feeling of daring yourself to walk across a dark room? That way you're excited, because you know, you really do know that there's nothing there to hurt you. Some people get to chose their dark rooms. They get to look for places where the fear is only skin deep, but some people are nowhere near that lucky.

*Some people spend their lives hoping for something to happen that will change everything. They look for power or love, or the answers to their biggest questions. I think really what they're looking for is another chance. Some way to lead another life where all the mistakes they've made would be erased, and they could just start over, nothing bad has happened yet, and all their possibilities are still in front of them.

People move through their lives sometimes without really thinking about where they're going. Days pile up, and they get sadder and lonelier without really knowing why they're so sad, or how they got so lonely. Then something happens. They meet someone who looks a certain way, or has something in their smile. Maybe that's all that falling in love is: finding someone who makes you feel a little less alone.

Life, all life, is about asking questions, not about knowing answers.

*How do you let someone go? How do you understand that that's alright, that everything changes? How do you find a way for that to make you feel good about life, instead of breaking your heart? The hardest thing you'll ever learn, is how to say goodbye.



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