Sunday, July 26, 2009

tug of war

After several weeks at the beach, I have realized that this is for me. I would miss Happy Valley a lot if we move. It is the most convenient for my lifestyle. I am within 15 minutes of my job, my rugby training pitch, three game pitches, the lacrosse matches, etc. But I love it here. I swim almost every day. I sit on the roof every evening and gaze into the ocean. I can wear the most informal clothing and no one notices. Did I mention the wonders of the beach?

SB is my single obstacle. He has two reasons for not wanting to move. He is uncomfortable with living somewhere for the first time in over a decade where food is not immediately accessible at all times. The last shop closes here between 11pm and midnight, and that is too early for him. His second objection is the lack of air conditioned facilities. The restaurants are mostly open, though shaded. I think that this is a more valid objection than the first.

So SB and I are at a deadlock. He needs to convince me that convenience and cooling trump natural living. I need to show him that this is a better lifestyle than Happy Valley.

Who will win?

Monday, July 6, 2009

a whole new day

Lately I have been growing more and more restless with the way things are. I still love my job but hate the 60+ hours and no overtime pay. It was depressing to think of what my salary really was if broken down to hourly pay.

Because I work so much, my spare time has become very precious. I cherish my weekends and have become almost violently angry when my boss has told me to come in on Saturday, especially when it could have been avoided with better time management.

The change in my free time has got me looking critically at SB and my little shoebox in the valley. I like the shoebox a lot. There are a lot of things going for it; it is wonderfully conveniently located so that I have only 10 minutes of a bus ride from the office, 25 minutes to walk to the office, 20 minutes to walk to rugby training, and five minutes to stroll to the track for a jog. There are a lot of tasty food options here and we have a friendly relationship with quite a few people whose businesses we frequent. We need walk only a few blocks on weekends before running into a friend, albeit a friend who is an athlete. Almost all the people we meet are those who play sports like us.

So here is the dilemma. I am unhappy with our immediate surroundings. When I look out of any of our abundant windows, all I see is concrete. We hardly ever have the blinds open anymore because there is no direct sunlight to bask in and no view of anything blue or green. I can only look out into someone else's flat. I tried to make up for this by amassing a very large collection of plants. But reality is setting in. I need more nature in my life. Sure, I hardly get to enjoy any daylight with my work schedule, but when I go home, I feel like I cannot unwind. I can only walk in circles around Happy Valley's sports ground so many times before it gets old.

SB and I are making a huge change this month. We are subletting a flat in Shek O. I am going to see how feasible it is to live at the other side of the island in a village on a beach, and still work the hours that I do. The commute will be longer than I would like, possibly taking a full hour, but we are going to try it out. I am not optimistic but I do want it to work out. Otherwise I don't know what I am going to do about this longing for green things.

As I was packing up a bag I looked around the Happy Valley flat and felt sad. There is so much about this place that I love and if I do leave, I will leave behind casual friends and neighbors that I have enjoyed during my time here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

To know stuff is a bad thing

“To know stuff is a bad thing,” she told Lebowitz. “It has consequences, and the consequences are death.”

In response to the banning of her novel, Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison helped launch the Free Speech Leadership Council. Of literacy, she said: "[it is] the route out of any oppression, any limitation."

Here is a conversation between Morrison and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

thanks, honey

My father once told me of my grandmother that if she didn't want to do something, she would eff it up so badly that you never asked her twice. She indirectly contributed to my development as a home economics superstar. My father used to ask her to mend his clothing. She mangled a pair of pants so badly that soon after, my sewing skills were given a boost when I got my own little sewing machine. My grandmother used to like baking pies for my father. Then she churned out some seriously bad baked goods and my father got the hint. My mother never mastered pie crust making but I did and now I bake the annual holiday pies when I go to visit my parents.

If I didn't know better I would suspect that SB takes after my grandmother. Recently I asked SB to run the laundry for me. I had placed some light colored shirts in the washing machine for a delicate wash cycle. Still having room in the load, I decided to go ahead and throw in some of my more delicate underthings. I did not run the laundry that night because it was getting late and I didn't want to risk disturbing the neighbors. I only remembered my laundry while heading to work so I called SB and asked him to run the wash. All he needed to do was turn on the power.

When I got home later that evening, I pulled out my wash to discover that everything looked really, really filthy. Had it mildewed in the time that it had been sitting there? My lovely shirts and all of my underwear were a strange, dishwater grey color. Only when I pulled out everything did I discover a dark colored towel that I was fairly certain that I would never have thrown in the wash. Ah yes Mr. Domestic had decided to be even more energy efficient and had seen that there was room for one more article of clothing in the washing machine. When confronted, he insisted that they were more of a lavender color. And besides, he reasoned, who would see my underwear anyway? "It's summer," I informed him, "I will be wearing a lot of tank tops and bra straps do occasionally get exposed." It would be mortifying if someone saw a dirty looking bra strap on me. He rolled his eyes at this.

Mr. Domestic outdid himself with his next task. Words pale in comparison to the vision of his latest laundry endeavor.

Do you notice anything odd about our freshly laundered pillow covers? Me neither!

I hear that my vertigo meds are also prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.

"It's just a tiny bit shrunken."