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Friday, November 30, 2007

If You Ever Get Bored at Work....

...you could always try some water cooler fun...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is This Supposed To Make Me Change My Mind?

After a couple of years at work where nothing much happened to excite, challenge or stimulate my brain, we're planning a year ahead where so much will happen. Good, meaty, substantial stuff that will be hard work, but a joy to be involved with. I'm still struggling to keep my head above water here, but hopefully that will improve by the end of the first month of 2008 and then the plans will start to evolve. Some work will be done with and through consultants, some we'll do ourselves, but all of it is worthwhile and will change the focus and direction of the HR function within the company.

It's hard talking to my boss about the plans for 2008, knowing I won't be here for much of that year, certainly not even half of it. That doesn't stop me from contributing and playing a part in the planning and early execution, and truth be told I find it exciting. I haven't told her of my own plans, yet, of course, and I sometimes have to check myself to not let it slip. There is, however, a part of me that wishes I could see everything we are planning, through. We'll be doing things I've wanted to do for a while now, but just didn't have the right leadership in the team.

Several days ago, I got a call from my ex-boss (actually two ex-bosses ago) who runs an executive search company. I gave him some help with a compensation package for a position he's handling. Afterwards he told me what a joy it always is to talk with me and then he said, "Fiona, I have to tell you about something." He has a search on for a job with what sounds like a wonderful start-up company headed by a CEO with an incredible take on the HR function. He said that I was his first thought when he was given the job scope. It's based in Singapore and the HR person would sit at the decision-making table, not a consideration given to HR in all companies, sadly.

Hearing about the job in Singapore stirred something within me. The opportunity for something new and interesting. And I was also chuffed that he still thinks of me so highly. A year ago I'd have jumped at the opportunity. He asked if he could tempt me away from my move to the States. I told him no, not a chance, to which he laughed and said "I thought not."

Am I having doubts about my plans? No, not a single one. It's not going to be easy but I know my direction and I'm happy with it. Hell, no I'm not, I'm ecstatic about it. Perhaps all these things are happening to challenge my decision, to make me think really hard about this forthcoming life change. But I don't need to think for long, I know I'm making huge changes for the right reason, for love. While I'm certainly going to miss the paycheques, yes, I can see myself not working here. I can see myself not working in Singapore. But I cannot see myself living without the man I love, heart and soul.

This place will survive without me, my ex-boss will find a great person for the Singapore job. And I will be living in, for and with happiness. That, in all truth, is what I've wanted for so many years of my life. Years I filled with work and busy-ness. Now, I'm ready to love and to be loved. And I've found, and been found by, the best man I could have hoped for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finally, Photos

Our suite at the Meritage Resort

Welcome to the Wine Country

The Wine Train

and our delicious lunch!

Groth Winery - it was so good, we came back to buy some more at the end of our visit to the other wineries

Golf in Carmel Valley

These little fellows started following me around, I felt like the Pied Piper

The Tickle Pink Inn - this was such a yummy bed

I seemed to attract a lot of bird wildlife on this trip !

Wine and cheese on the deck

The Pacific Coast Highway

17-Mile Drive

The seals in Monterey Harbour

I'd never seen Brussel Sprouts still on the stalk - at a little farm shop outside Castroville

We're still trying to figure out why there are so many pigs crossing the road in Carmel

Friday, November 23, 2007

Boys Having Fun

Lupo and his best buddy, Bozo. I'm not sure how many more playdates they'll have, my sister just broke up with Bozo's owner. They'll really miss each other. Lupo and Bozo that is!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

I am thankful for so many things in my life: Love, friendship, family, security, peace in my heart. The past year has brought me so many amazing things, so many gifts, blessings and rewards.

Today, as I reflect on the history of this holiday and its roots in giving thanks for a successful and bountiful harvest season, I am struck by all those people who have witnessed loss and in many cases are struggling to survive. We can all help, even in a small way. For those less fortunate, please spare a moment to think of them today and if you are able, contribute to their betterment in some small way.

May you all have a most wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Time of Our Lives

It was, without any doubt whatsoever, the most wonderful time we've ever had together. I want to write a post about the beauty of our relationship, the depth of our connection, the intensity of our emotions, the ferocity with which we love each other. I'm feeling all these things within me, centred in my solar plexus, and I'd never be able to express them adequately, never manage to do them justice.

So, failing words right now to describe it all, I'll share some of the highlights of the trip:

  • Catching my first sight of him at baggage carousel 14 in terminal 1 at San Francisco Airport

  • Wrapping ourselves up in each other to the point we almost missed spotting his luggage

  • Driving up to Napa in the rain, eating hula hoops off my fingertips

  • Finding ourselves not in a hotel room but a huge suite at the hotel (upgrade)

  • Loving the heck out of each other as soon as we got into bed

  • Waking up several times during the night to repeat that

  • Being wonderfully raw the next day

  • Taking the train tour of the valley from Napa to St. Helena and back

  • Having an amazing lunch on the train, accompanied by some lovely wine

  • Spa treats that evening at the hotel (facial for me and massage for him)

  • Being so 'noodled' by the spa experience we fell asleep in each other's arms

  • Driving the next day through the valley again, this time stopping at several (many!) wineries for tastings and some purchases

  • Sitting on a beautiful patio of an Italian restaurant sharing delicious food

  • Driving the latter part of the afternoon and evening to the golf resort in Carmel

  • Getting up late the next morning, just in time for a round of 18 holes (him) and first driving experience of a vehicle (golf cart, me)

  • Packing up and driving a few miles down the road to the Tickle Pink Inn for the next two nights

  • Arriving just in time for the wine and cheese reception on the deck as the sun started to set

  • Opening the door to our room and looking straight out onto the Pacific Ocean, it was breathtaking

  • Eating Chinese food together and seeing the excitement on the young waiter's face when I spoke to him in Cantonese (his family had relocated to Carmel 15 years ago)

  • Laying spooned together at 5:34am, listening to the surf below and watching the night sky out of the balcony doors - and seeing our first shooting star, together

  • Experiencing the beauty along 17-mile Drive and stopping at all vantage points to enjoy the view

  • Stopping off at Monterey to watch the harbour seals cavorting and battling for a place on the floating jetties for sunbathing time

  • Driving all over the place to find ice-cream and having to settle for chocolate frosties out of Wendy's

  • Travelling the coast highway down to Big Sur and being just totally awed by the beauty of it all

  • A long, leisurly drive back to San Francisco, taking the route through the Big Basins Redwood Park

  • Our last night together, we ate ribs (him) and fajitas (me) at Chili's then settled in for one more sleep (a little sleep and a lot of the 'other')

Saying goodbye is always so hard, but we got through it. I almost stayed another day as they needed a couple of seats on my flight and it would have netted me US$400 plus an upgrade on the next day's flight. But he had already checked in so there was no way I was going to stay without him.

I know but one thing. I love that man with the entirety of my being and I know he loves me with the same amount of himself. And each day that dawns, is a day closer to us never having to say goodbye ever again.

We took loads of pics. I will try and get myself, and them, sorted out tomorrow to post a few for you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Chocolate Sacrilege?

As I wandered around the shops at lunchtime, picking up a few extra things here and there for my trip, I came across the Yubari Melon KitKat. Now, anyone familiar with the KitKat bar knows that it doesn't come in melon flavour. This is a special Japanese edition celebrating the town of Yubari, on Hokkaido, famous for, you guessed it, the Yubari melon.

Those melons are quite spectacular in themselves, in that they retail in Japanese stores for anything between US$80 and US$200 per melon. To prove that, here's a picture from a supermarket where their 'average' melon is marked at ¥10,000 (US$88).

To quote from a website:

"The orange-fleshed Yubari melon, similar in appearance and size to the common cantaloupe, has become a Japanese favorite for giving as a gift of thanks to friends or bosses. In the food section of large department stores, Yubari melons - reputed to be Japan's Cadillac of melons - are often sold for upwards of 15,000 yen (a generic melon might fetch 500 yen). Special apples and strawberries can likewise be sold for exorbitant sums, but as far as luxury fruit goes, nothing tops a nice melon for prestige. Shape, skin netting pattern, sweetness, and texture are key factors in the price. A top-grade perfectly round Yubari number with a smooth skin could command over 20,000 yen.

The melons first appear on store shelves in May of each year. Usually a Sapporo department store purchases the first melons at a highly publicized open auction. This year Mitsukoshi bought the first two for 150,000 yen each. After the auction, the melons are showcased and put up for bid to the store's customers. Since the first born of the year are said to represent good luck, shoppers can gawk and hope for a little melon fortune to rub off onto them as they peruse the aisles. A few days later, the highest bidding customer can take them home and enjoy them with their morning cereal."

Failing that, you could just unwrap a Yubari KitKat bar and enjoy the melon flavour. They are surprisingly good, actually. Oh and they're on e-bay for US$3.50-5.00 a pack (the little box holds two twin-bars). I purchased mine for a relatively low US$1.20. Maybe I'll become an e-bay trader in my next life :)

Oh and in case you're wondering what I was doing in the chocolate section, I was shopping for these:

Lindt Excellence Intense Orange Extra Fine Swiss Thins. Melt-in-the-mouth slivers of their finest dark chocolate infused with an intense orange flavour. My love's favourite little chocolate treat.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

135,360 Minutes

By the time we are finally together again on Saturday, we won't have seen or touched each other for 94 days or 2,256 hours or 135,360 minutes. The truth is that we're beyond ready to spend time together.

We speak/text/email/chat every single day, but nothing can compare with touch, scent and sight. Nothing can compare with proximity. Of being able to translate all the words we've shared, into a physical demonstration of love and adoration.

And if being together, loving each other, for six whole days isn't enough, we are going to have just such a fabulous time on our travels.

It can't come soon enough. And it won't last long enough.

Our panacea for these never-long-enough visits with each other is that one day in the not too distant future, there will be no more painful, heart-wrenching goodbyes. The day is coming when we will say 'hello' to the rest of our lives. A day which will be marked by an endless embrace. That will be the day when we take a step over the threshhold into our forever, together, and it's just a short distance down the road.

It, too, can't come soon enough.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

One Year On and "I Was Made For You"

Brandi Carlile - The Story

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true... I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Oh because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do and I was made for you

You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No, they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what I've been through like you do
And I was made for you.

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you

Oh yeah it's true... that I was made for you

Yes, I really was made for him. That's how it feels. A year to the day, I opened my hotel room door to the man who would change my life in ways I never even imagined. On November 3 last year, I started on a new journey, a journey to love and happiness of a sort I've never known in my entire life.

This man inspires me, motivates me, believes in me. This man loves me beyond any words he can find to express himself. This man is in my future and will always be there for me. And the amazing thing is, I feel exactly the same way about him.

We don't need the grand things in life. We celebrate each other and we cherish each other. Just the mere brush of his fingertips across the back of my hand makes me melt. His eyes are the most beautiful I've ever seen, his lips hold such passion. He enfolds my body into his and in those moments I feel the safest I've ever felt. We crave, desire and want each other. And not only in a passionate, intimate way, but in the simplest way of sitting drinking coffee together, of brushing our teeth together in the morning, of being close enough to each other to feel the love flowing between us.

For the past 365 days, I have loved all of this man with all of me. And he has loved all of me with all of himself. We balance each other, we complement each other, we are better individuals because of each other. We are going to grow old together, he and I.

Oh yeah it's true...that I was made for you.


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