Wednesday, September 21, 2005

who am i?

I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a friend. A lover. A partner. A burden, and a pain. I am loved.

I am the girl who lives in the land of eternal summer, and misses the fall. I am the girl who loves the cold, and the damp sweet smell of falling snow, and the dust of flakes on her eyelashes, her black wool coat, their soft settling on her uncovered head. You passed me on the quads just the other day: headphones in my ears, singing out loud between Kent and Cobb.

I am the girl whose heart you broke – only you couldn’t, because it was never entirely yours, even when I thought I had given it to you, only to have it thrown back in my face. I am the girl to whom you haven’t spoken for months –for a year?- I am the girl you swore would always be your friend. I am the girl who broke your heart, because she didn’t know what to do with such a gift, and shamefully handed it back, even as it broke her heart to do so.

I am the girl who played carom and drank iced lemon tea on hot July afternoons to watch your PE class play some ball game or another in the netball court. I watched the sunlight on your hair, and the carefree way you smiled and the sound of your laughter, and dreamed hopeless of the day you would smile at me that way. But the mystery of the unattainable was far more attractive and far less terrifying than the reality of you.

I am the girl who names her car (Roxanne) and her laptop (Portia) but not her cellphone or her iPod, because, well, they don’t have names. I am the girl who professes to be a feminist, but loves it when you open the door, or hold the elevator, or wait for me to exit the lift before you do. I wear girly clothes and girly shoes, but really would be much more comfortable in flipflops and jeans. I am the girl you treat like ‘one of the guys’.

I am the girl who has loved you since she knew what it meant to love. Who has had you in her heart as the standard against which all men are measured, and against whom all other men come up short. I am the girl who reached for your hand to hold when she was scared, and never failed to find you, right there, waiting for me. I am the girl who wishes she could always be that person, for you.

boo, hiss, and catcall

Chicagoans one and all:

register your protest. because Marshall Field's, that beautiful institution of State Street, is about to be renamed. MACY'S.

armageddon is upon us. nothing more to say.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

storm brew

another storm is rolling in - the sky outside my window is lighting up as bright as day, and for the first time in days the breeze blowing into my room is cool and damp, rather than warm and soupy. it looks like we're in for another big one.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

puzzling

alex got me a subscription to the Times crossword! -grin- (which means we each got the other a subscription. we are such geeks.) so now i can do the daily crossword, by which i mean i can do monday through thursday, and then cheat outrageously on the weekend. -grin-

so will shortz, the Times's crossword editor, has this to say about crosswords, and Sudoku:

"People do puzzles for many reasons. Chief among them is that puzzles give the solver a feeling of being in control. Most of life's challenges don't have black-and-white solutions, and many have no resolution at all. We jump into the middle of problems and muddle through as best we can. With sudoku - or any other human-made puzzle - carrying it through from start to finish, and finding the perfect solution in the end, can produce a feeling of great pride.

The audiences for crosswords and sudoku, understandably, overlap greatly, but there are differences, too. A crossword attracts a more literary person, while sudoku appeals to a keenly logical mind. Some crossword enthusiasts turn up their noses at sudoku because they feel it lacks depth. A good crossword requires vocabulary, knowledge, mental flexibility and sometimes even a sense of humor to complete. It touches numerous areas of life and provides an "Aha!" or two along the way. Sudoku, on the other hand, is just a logical exercise, each one similar to the last."

i can see why crossword addicts and Sudoku addicts have a lot in common, frequently to do with their common need to fill in the blanks, and to be in control of what they are doing. life almost never has clean and easy solutions, and neither does it have a delete button, or an eraser. nor can you scratch things out, as fill-in-inkers invariably do. but with puzzles, you have the knowledge and ability to do all of these things.

but i also do Sudoku and crosswords for different reasons. crosswords help me to stretch my mind, twist it around a bit, see the world from a different angle. to find new ways to use words, and new meanings for old words; to feed a wacky sense of humour; to poke fun at people, places and events. but Sudoku does the opposite. it helps me to focus, to concentrate, to centre my brain in logic and order and process. it works the brain, while at the same time being mindless. almost like meditation, really. i think of it as a way to prime the pump, as it were.

not that i have very much time, or opportunity, to work on either crosswords or puzzles now that work has begun pretty much in earnest. that said, i've discovered that i really like my work, and the people i work with. it's all turned out well, so far - i hope it continues. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

gumbo and chilli party

as promised (if only to myself) - the photo from the party last weekend - my last free weekend before work began.

gumbo party

pity we have no pictures of the 'after': empty plates and bowls and wine bottles scattered about; people sprawled out playing bridge and chatting and pretending to be good at carrom and learning how to play Carcassonne without getting clobbered by more experienced players. :)

Monday, September 12, 2005

a fitting end to the day

a fitting end to my first day of work: the mother of all lightning storms, and a traffic jam the size of canada. :p thankfully all seen from the inside of a cab, with entertaining company along the way.

other than that, however, it's been a relatively good day. (i know, i promised whining, but really, i don't have much to whine about!) other than not getting my temporary pass issued, which is a small matter really, i had a relatively smooth introduction to the new workplace; i've gotten a staffer position in a desk i wanted, and i know a bunch of my new colleagues already. not to mention the ones i didn't already know -the ones i met just today- i already like. so as far as i'm concerned, it's all good for now.

plus my branch head is away, which gives me a little time to get stuck into reading up on past issues and so forth before anything major comes flying my way. whew! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

it's a wrap!

the party wrapped up about half an hour ago; all i want to do now is take a shower and collapse into bed. :) but i'm happy: the food turned out well, and people enjoyed themselves, and it was good to see everyone, even if i didn't get a chance to talk to many people for long because i spent a lot of time bouncing around picking things up and handing them around. :p

many thanks to people who brought food, and drinks, and to alex's mom who baked us chocolate mousse cake (the leftovers are mine mine mine mine! -evil laughter-). a convivial evening indeed. good times. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Seven Wonders of the World?

so the Trib is running a "Seven Wonders of Chicago" contest, for which the U of C has received a nomination. :) therefore, alums and friends of alums, go forth: 'Vote early, and often!'.

we can totally beat Sears Tower, and the Chicago Hot Dog? piece of cake. :p just have to worry about the MSI and the Lakefront giving us some stiff competition...;)

off to the supermarket; chilli-cooking awaits!

update: my chilli resembles nothing so much as a big pot of pasta sauce. how depressing. perhaps it needs more beans -but i don't LIKE beans! :p not to mention i wanted to put peppers in, but the lady at the checkout counter charged me 2.11 for my peppers and then failed to put them in my bag, a fact i discovered entirely too late, and i certainly wasn't going to walk back out in to the broiling heat to recover two little red peppers. bah.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

another roasting day

something's seriously wonky with AIM and ICQ tonight, and i can't for the life of me get on. (GoICQ does work, but i've never really liked it...plus my ICQ friends aren't online either anyway. :p) so i'm feeling sort of cut off from the world, a sensation not helped by the fact that i have my curtains drawn closed blocking out the neighbours.

however, i discovered today that i can, indeed, wear cheongsams. after years and years of being convinced i would look horrendous in them, i tried one on this afternoon and discovered that for once my wide hips are worth something. i wound up buying a cheongsam from a shop in Chinatown - a gorgeous green silk sleeveless number. (on the other hand, mom claims the cheongsam i wound up buying makes me look like a waitress in a chinese restaurant.) and they altered it on the spot to boot. it was a full-length cheongsam when i tried it on -it reach my ankles, with a lovely dramatic slit up to above the knee. but i'm sure you'll agree that occasions to wear full length cheongsams (esp in my line of work) are few and far between. so i had it cut to knee length, a much more flexible length in my opinion.

now i cannot put on any weight. in fact, losing a couple of pounds would probably help my ability to sit down in said cheongsam. but it's so pretty!

we also went to the Settlers Cafe at North Canal Road (just next to the Clarke Quay station on the NEL) to play board games after chinatown. geeky, i know. but they have cool board games! like Carcassonne, which i like -and managed to do well in today-, and Munchkins, which we didn't get to play -it sounds complicated, but it has terribly quirky cards! i want to try next time. but people need to go play with me. :)

my biggest accomplishment today, however, was figuring out bus routes to train stations from work, and working out the driving route from my place to my brother's camp to the office. it's a long drive, let me tell you. but it's an even longer ride home. it's looking like bus-MRT-bus-walk...at least 1.5 hours. -groan- hopefully i'll be able to drive...wish me luck.

Monday, September 05, 2005

reading the lastest edition of the Chicago magazine:

And yet through such as thou the race has passed
To freedom -- superstition's dreadful gate
Hath open upon the courts of truth at last;
Nor all the fears of an imagined fate,
Nor all the goblin crew of error vast
Can shut the mind from learning's fair estate.


Howard Spencer Fiske

(on our Cobb Gate, that guards the entrance to the Quads, within which each generation of graduating seniors is framed, momentarily, on its passage toward Convocation and adulthood.)

* * *

you know,

in difficult times you really see the extraordinary generosity of humanity - and its flipside, the extraordinary cruelty and meaness of spirit. but i'd like to -- just quietly salute those who worked long and hard in their academic institutions to make sure that students in the affected colleges will continue with their education in other institutions all around the country, so that the city's -the state's- next generation can gain the skills and knowledge they will need to return home to rebuild.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

bagels!

my bagel craving has been satisfied. :) earlier this week, all i really wanted was a warm, toasty bagel with garlic cream cheese, and nothing really satisfies that sort of craving except the thing itself. the problem, however, the real crunch, was the fact that well - i don't know where to get fresh bagels in Singapore. shum says there are frozen ones at the supermarket, but for someone accustomed to popping into the local supermarket for a batch of fresh bagels from the bakery to slather with cream cheese, frozen ones just don't cut it. so there was nothing for it - today i trekked across to Alex's place, and baked a batch of bagels under the supervision of his mother. :)

i picked a rather unfortunate day for baking - it's been raining and humid all day, so the dough was pretty unmanageable even though we used inordinate amounts of flour. but after twiddling with the recipe to make it less wet, and letting it rise and punching it down and letting it rise again (mutant, insane, crazy-growing yeasties!), we had a dough that worked reasonably well on a well-floured work surface. that's when the fun began: adding things to the dough to make a bunch of differently flavoured bagels (this was for your sake, janice - i would have made 21 garlic bagels! -grin-), then shaping them into little rounds, and sticking a finger through them to make the hole in the middle! needless to say that was fairly hard for me, and my bagels came out sort of more oval than round, but they got made...

then into the pot of boiling salted water with them, followed by egg wash and a short spell in a 400 degree oven. mmmm, the smell of baking bread! i couldn't wait to eat them. the first batch turned out sort of underdone (nothing a few minutes in a toasted prior to consumption won't fix) but the second batch -the batch with my garlic bagels- ohhhh, my bagel craving has been (partially) satisfied. slathered with soft onion-and-chive cream cheese, with some fresh garlic mixed in (there ain't no such thing as Too Much Garlic, and no self-respecting vampire would come within twenty feet of me and my bagel), warm from the oven, that bagel really hit the spot.

i didn't bring my camera, or i would have taken a bunch of photos of the process -didn't even think of it, which just goes to show how fixated i was on my bagel-craving- perhaps tomorrow i'll go downstairs and take a picture of the end product, because i consume yet another one for breakfast. yummy!