Thursday, November 29, 2012

Being a reader

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

"I love BEING a reader and simply can’t imagine what it’s like to go through life without being one. Am I the only one who feels this way? That wonders at how other people can simply NOT do something that should be so essential?
Who feels almost sad that so many people seem content to go through their lives without stretching their mental wings at all?
Can you imagine NOT being a Reader? How does it shape your life? Your perception of it? How does being a Reader affect your relationship with all those folks who are looking at it from the other side and simply can’t understand how you can sit and READ all the time?"
When I hit a new age milestone last year I made a review of my life from the time I left college. It was an action-packed life, and somewhere in the last decade I felt something was not quite right. Now I realize it was the time when I was not reading anything other than those I had to because they go with the job.

Sad? I have always tried to do something more than just feel sad. If it's within my power and right to influence others to read - I do it. Family is right on top. A nephew is expected to read before he comes to me for monetary favor. The son has to have something to do with a book if he wants to get new toys. Le Boyfriend. If I ever have one, it will be awesome if he loves to read. If he does not then he has to at least recognize that it's part of me or be tolerant of the fact.  Students come next. They probably must have grown tired of my READ PEOPLE READ sermon already. But it's always a blast every time there's evidence that efforts are working.

Reading helped me survive a personal crisis. Should I face a challenge or deal with some kind of drama in the future, I know a better option than either a pricey shrink, a morphine shot or a gun shot.

Thursday 13: Quotations about reading. The photos are from a site called where you can "bookmark your favorite images and share them with everyone." Now it's Pinterest, right? The URL below each photo leads to their sources. I claim no ownership, just inspiration in how they look with the quotations and in sharing them.


 2. Untitled / Lauren Treece


4. Beauty of childhood / via ver2go (tumblr)

5. Sisters / Mig_R

6. 163 / 365 - Felix Felicis / Noukka Signe


8. Charles Edward Perugini, World Gallery

9. oung-Girl-Reading-Print-C10032525.jpeg

10. Young Woman Reading By A Window, Delphin Enjolras

11. Pietro Magni’s marble statue The Reading Girl

12. Book of Fairy Tales... by *louvre89 on deviantART

13. Reading blurbs @ Dasa Book Cafe, February 2011

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

That hormonal mama dolphin

The can't-shut-up version: This was a day of touring an island city resort. We're back from a show where the main star, a pregnant dolphin, refused to come out at exactly action time. Management apologized. We then headed to a nearby restaurant where I took care of CJ's food that he couldn't consume.  With the heavy safety hat that he was forced to wear earlier and the dolphin show that never was, what kid wouldn't look like he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Titanic artifact exhibition

The Titanic has always fascinated me. I read every story I could find, watch every available documentary about it. It's the very first film I saw during my first year abroad and I drowned in it for several weeks. Over the years I switched to occasional scholarly articles as the emotional side was too overwhelming. Unlike theme songs of other films I love playing on the piano, I hid the sheet music of My Heart Will Go On.

This year marks The Titanic's 100-year anniversary, and I was delighted that my neighborhood is one venue of an artifact exhibition which ran from June to September 2012 on the 8th floor of Central World.

They have some of the most familiar images at the entrance

It was such a wonderful travel back in time

When I checked in I was given a packet that in the excitement with history I forgot to give a look at until last night when I took photos of it.

I didn't realize that on the back of this boarding pass was a ticket replica of the youngest passenger on board - Elizabeth Gladys 'Millvina' Dean. Wikipedia shows her signing autographs at a Titanic Convention in Southampton in 1999 -

As cameras were off limits inside I just took notes of as many objects on display as I could in a temperature that curdled my Southeast Asian blood. Viewers were treated to a great finale.  We walked on 'glass' where underneath we could see those dining plates neatly stacked and other objects as they were found on the ocean floor. Outside was a large poster of the crew for a parting image.

Monday, November 26, 2012


This is my screwdriver during a birthday dinner with a girl friend. We ate at a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms.


    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    The cake that cost me an overseas holiday

    Wordless Wednesday HQ, Rednesday, Create With JoyMomspective, 5 Minutes for Mom, A Mother's RamblingsMama to 4 Blessings,

    The Can't-Shut-Up version: It was the kiddo's 5th birthday. I was busy at work and didn't have time to look for a cake that was not as girly as this. I feared he wouldn't like it and he didn't. He was then on a tantrum-at-every-turn phase. When he saw this cake he gave me an appalled look. What? no Ultraman, Mom?  He cried. I felt so sorry for him. Guilt was written on my forehead while tantrum was looming on the MacDonald's horizon. The guests have arrived and in a snap I promised him all the heroes on his next cake and bribed him with Hong Kong Disneyland if he would not make a scene at his party. He managed to show enough decent behavior the whole time. The next year we flew Air Asia to Macau and ferried our butts to Hong Kong. Boys!   

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Secret Garden

    There was no other reason why I tried Secret Garden. The name. I first noticed it in a Central World directory; forgot it, remembered it, forgot it again until last week in Siam Paragon while waiting for doors to open for the Twilight premiere. I'm not sure if this is a branch of the one in Sathon that everyone is talking about. As it appeared right in front of me while I wandered, and because I promised myself I would try the place, I got in. I was imagining a garden setting and a secret door.

    Ahhh... too much novel reading. I sorted my order: pomegranate iced tea (which was too sour for my taste), and warm chocolate with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce, which I loved.

    Coconut milk was evident in the warm chocolate cake. At least that's what I thought and I did enjoy it.

    The only thing I didn't quite like were the backless chairs. I had to be seated in one as the couches were for four persons or more. Next time I will invite some friends to try the signature restaurant in Sathorn with me. I heard the decoration style is reminiscent of a lovely English tea room.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Cooking Extravaganza - a review

    In time for the most wonderful time of the year is the release of a Gabby Moms product called Cooking Extravaganza.

    This is a special package designed to give you bright ideas to use for something which you and your family and friends will be very much involved in this Christmas season - food, cooking and dining. Author Lorrie Flem has put together 7 e-books and a print book - "What's For Dinner, Mom?" which I reviewed earlier. Here's an overview of the contents:

    Bulk Cooking Tips and Tricks. If you are curious about bulk cooking, this will work well with you. It's loaded with how-to's for those who want to try this style of cooking. There hasn't been a need for me, at least not yet, to do bulk cooking, but the tips and tricks here are something to keep just in case I need to.

    Fill Em Up. Do you have children who talk of snacking only a few minutes after the table has been cleared? This e-book is filled with delicious, cost-saving and even healthy choices for them. I could be speaking for kids who just can not have enough as when I was one I used to want something pretty sweety after Mama has done the dishes. Now I tend to watch out for the son, as well as nieces and nephews (home for the holidays) who may want something more. This I won't deprive them especially during Christmas!

    Lorrie's Favorite Recipes is a fabulous collection of recipes your kids will love. Manicotti, fried chicken, teriyaki, I'm hungry already! We are crazy about fried chicken and certainly trying this out.

    Healthy Sanity-Saving Breakfasts. The most important meal of the day and in our case, considerably  neglected on a regular frequency.  This e-book has go to breakfasts that will keep you fed and sane - a double bonus.

    Pizza Primer. This one puts me on pizza-excited mode because I have always wanted to learn making homemade pizza and this e-book says how. It will be a nice change from buying it which is all I have ever done regarding pizza besides eating it.

    Sensational Salads. They are what they are described - sensational. And it's not just because they are yummy. This e-book tells you how to make your salads more fun. Children who are not fond of salads just might start loving them with the use of salad ideas contained in this e-book.

    The Secret of Chocolate Chip Cookies. The popular treat! And a favorite among many. But do we know how to mix them up and make them even better? Check inside this e-book and you could be hearing 'yummee' from delighted mouths.

    Seven season-appropriate downloadable e-books in a pack make a great Christmas gift, and don't forget it includes a signed copy of What's For Dinner, Mom? You can also have it as your own helping partner in preparing your holiday spread and inspiration during such a busy time in your kitchen. The applicability of the recipes and cooking ideas go beyond Christmas of course. So get your hands on this fabulous bundle of cookbooks for just $19.97. This is a special offer just for you. See how much you are going to save with purchase details here. If you are ordering for Christmas, please do so by December 12th to receive the print book in time. Additionally you can have more info from the Eternal Encouragement Magazine.

    This Gabby Moms product was provided to me free in exchange for my unbiased review.

    Banana optimism

    In my attempts to eat healthy food regularly, I went looking for something nice to read about the banana I was eating. The quote I found was not exactly to my liking so I thought I would tweak a few words to make it work for me -
    When life gives you bananas, you can make smoothie.
    Now there's an inspiration! The smoothie you see is one I had from Piri Piri.

    Here's a banana smoothie recipe I found on BBC Food Recipes by James Tanner from Ready Steady Cook. I was delightfully surprised at how simple, quick and yummy it sounded.

    • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
    • 1/2 pink milk
    • handful of ice
    • 1-2 tbsp honey
    Preparation Method
    1. Place the banana, milk, ice and honey in a blender and then blend until smooth.
    2. Transfer to a serving glass and serve at once.
    Linking with

      Thursday, November 15, 2012

      Favorite places to read

      In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

      What’s your favorite place to read? Do you have more than one? Can you read anywhere, or do you need things to be “just right?” Bonus points for sharing a photo of your favorite spot. (grin)
      This -

      Do I get points for that? Probably not (grinning anyway). It does not show the entire place and I'm too embarrassed to show a topsy turvy bed quite littered with books. The one you see is just part of a king size bed.

      As to reading anywhere I guess it depends upon the read. If it's leisure, the bed definitely. If it's something I need to analyze like textbooks, references, academic stuff then the office. Cold and quiet, I read stoically, encouraged only to carry on and get it over with by the promise of fun reading on the bed after working hours. At home (I mean home sweet home not the dull city apartment) my favorite place to read is my mother's hammock!

      Thursday Thirteen: Places I read

      Now and then I think of the places/spots I read and enjoy daydreaming about them. Except the noisy bus or the crowded sky train but no matter, I still get some reading done in those seats. These are places I read:

      1. Reading nook in Nelson Hays. "A charming historic building in Bangkok devoted to books, art exhibitions, creative workshops and fun family events," says their website. They have high back leather chairs although this time I only go to buy books on sale.

      2. Kinokuniya. Their branch in Siam Paragon is huge with several reading spots. What I like is being surrounded with books at the same time. The thought of having quick access to many other books just makes me feel good.

      3. Dasa, my favorite second hand bookshop. And their cappuccino, tea, mocha and home made cookies are tasty. You can have the small round table on the ground floor all to yourself.

      4. The bus. With the infamous Bangkok traffic it's just wise to carry a book. I read Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code when I commuted to work for three days about five years ago.

      5. The skytrain. I get a couple of chapters done in long distances. Once a lady next to me was crocheting. The world is all good.

      6. The office table for routine, work-related required readings.

      7. The boardroom. English is not the language used during meetings at work. But they require me to be present and after they're done getting my input or feedback on advertising stuff or something else, they leave me alone and I read in peace.

      8. Under the mango tree. With a cool breeze the pages just fly.

      9. By the pond with the gardener's purple lotuses and somersaulting fish for company.

      10. or by the spirit house. This spot, like the pond and the mango tree, is near the computer booths where we swipe our fingers to sign out at night. Sometimes we have a few minutes til the clock strikes 21.00 so I read a page or two.

      11. Impact Arena. I did this just once during a 15-minute Eagles concert break. I still remember the book: Lazarus Vault by Tom Harper.

      12. The bed. My favoritest spot. At first I wanted to ask the apartment management to change the furnished king size bed to a smaller one but now it's okay. I got about 36 inches wide space to lie down. The rest is occupied by books.

      13. Mother's hammock, one of my favorite things about home. Unlike my apartment where I sometimes starve, I read all I want in the hammock knowing I won't be interrupted to cook my own food to be nourished.

      Wednesday, November 14, 2012

      Monday, November 12, 2012

      Running a road race: 15th Amari-BMW midnight run

      Running a road race is not exactly my thing. But I'm curious and willing to try anything new (well, except bungy jumping or serpent curry). On Saturday, October 20th, 2012 more than 5,000 runners joined the 15th Amari Watergate and BMW Thailand Charity Midnight Run. It's the only race in Bangkok held at night which is one appealing factor to many. And I didn't have to pay to run. A friend who works for a major sponsor of the race, Bangkok Hospital, used her professional connection to sort that out for me. Thank you Loreyne.

      We arrived at the assembly point about two hours before midnight, and was it a lot of fun. I was beginning to wonder whether I was running or simply socializing through the chatter, the games, and the photo opp. A quick sprint down Google lane shows the causes that would benefit from the race - Baht for a Better Life Project, Chalerm Prakiat in Lampoon and Baan Gerda in Lopburi. The latter two are schools with a similar purpose - education of children whose HIV-infected parents have passed away.

      There were family teams in the race.  Children were excited to run. Soon they rode on ambulances when they got tired.

      These runners do not know each other; not even speak the same language. I loved observing them being friendly and just having a great time.

      Pre-run and awarding ceremonies were held on this stage at the Amari Watergate premises. The post-race party at Henry J. Beans Bar and Grill reportedly lasted til early Sunday morning.

      12km and 6km distances. I ran about an eighth of 1km, deviated to the right by the former World Trade and walked the rest to the sky train station. I was working Sunday at 8 a.m.

      I learned a few things. Here's hoping I was excused.

      Friday, November 9, 2012

      Places in Harry Potter

      Sometime ago I answered this question: If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be? My answer was -

      Without much ado Harry Potter's Hogwarts! What a place to explore! I'd like to transfigure arrogant Malfoy into a cross-eyed cockroach. *kidding* And when I feel like cutting Snape's class I'll hang out at Hagrid's hut. Then during summers head to The Burrow. As Ron Weasley says, "it's not much, but it's home."

      Let's travel to England. Can you name these places in Harry Potter?

      My favorite places in Harry Potter
      (go left to right for names and photo source links)

      1   Hogwarts the moving staircases and all the magical learning!
      2   Shell Cottage a newly-weds' home must be sweet and lovely
      3   Flourish and Blotts books books and books!
      4   Hogsmeade appeals to the country girl in me
      5   Honeydukes for your sweet tooth
      6   The Leaky Cauldron when one day in Diagon Alley is not enough
      7   The Burrow 'dilapidated and standing only by magic' ah!... wonderful
      8   Florean Fortescue choco raspberry with chopped nuts. yum!
      9   Diagon Alley shop til we drop
      10 Madam Puddifoot is where we will have high tea

      Thursday, November 8, 2012

      Comfort reading

      In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

      How do storms affect your reading? Do you go for comfort reading?

      How do you deal with power outages? Do you read by candlelight? Flashlights? Use a self-lit e-reader or tablet? Skip reading altogether for the duration and instead play games with the family?

      Let it pour, let the thunder roll, let the lightning crack by the window. The more furious the storm, the more likely I am to bury myself in a book.  I experienced using a flashlight but only once or twice and very quickly each time. Back home power outages often occurred as soon as the sun set. I would watch my mother read her Bible with a little gas lamp; moths hover around the light and then drop one by one. We would linger in the living room after vespers waiting for electricity to come back. When it didn't the parents would play scrabble by candlelight while I would leaf through a book, end up reading a few pages before falling asleep.

      Thursday Thirteen: Books I bought just for the delight of owning themThe first four are coffee table books. The rest are bought for the European countryside in them, ancient architecture, ideas for keeping books, Asperger Syndrome, and so on.  I'm having a great time with them. These are 13 books I recently added to my bookshelf -

      1 A guide to photographing landscapes and gardens (2002) Busselle
      2 Irish houses and castles (1971) Desmond Guinness and William Ryan
      3 Living with books  (1999) Alan Powers
      4 Creative Country Decorating  (1996) Ward Lock Book
      5 Senryu: poem of the people (1991) J.C. Brown
      6 Books that changed the world (1983) Robert B. Downs
      7 Dear John (2006) Nicholas Sparks
      8 Nights in Rodanthe (2002) Nicholas Sparks
      9 The Jane Austen book club (2004) Karen Joy Fowler
      10 The house of seven gables (1988 Tom Doherty Asso) Nathaniel Hawthorne
      11 The brethren (2000) John Grisham
      12 The girl with the dragon tattoo (2008) Stieg Larsson
      13 Speeches that changed the world (2010) Simon Sebag Montefiore


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