Thursday, September 29, 2011

into the hills

As the T8 warning seems to be holding, SB and I have decided to head out for a hike on the Dragon's Back.  I wonder if we will run into the T8 Harriers; one of SB's friends was going out to meet them for a noon hash.  And I really hope the warning won't get lifted because I'm not going back to the office at this point.  After having to pay the taxi driver $60 to take us from Happy Valley to the MTR, which is usually a $20 fare we are on our way.  SB loves these storms and is very excited to experience the wind from up above as well as view the ocean from down below in Big Wave Bay.  I am going because I don't trust him not to go swimming in dangerous waves.  We will probably stand at the headland and argue over just what constitutes a dangerous wave until one washes us both into the ocean.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

deviant domestics

I no longer read my free copy of The Standard to preserve my sanity; the only thing that I miss is the elderly newspaper distributor who would always exchange pleasant greetings with me.

Last night I had to make an exception when one of my Filipina friends brought out the paper to point out a story about the methods used by domestic helpers to gain residency.  Without citing any sources or data the "journalist" stated that Indonesian helpers try to marry SE Asian men with permanent residency whilst Filipina helpers prefer Chinese men.  Perhaps the writer was a single lady concerned with her marriage prospects since she would be competing against women who can cook, clean, run a household and rear children with time to spare?

The other residency achievement method involved purposely getting pregnant on home leave and giving birth in Hong Kong.  The only source used in the article was some lady who bemoaned her helper having gotten pregnant and not being able to do heavy lifting.  This reminded me of the horrible lady who lives in my neighborhood that is always screaming verbal abuse at her helper; last month she was standing at the tram stop waiting for a taxi while the helper had to haul all three of her suitcases for her.  She couldn't even be bothered to manage the small carry on, which would have greatly lessened the helper's burden of moving three suitcases with only two arms. 

I wonder when The Standard will get around to reporting the statistics of births by ladies on domestic worker visas.  What are the odds of your helper getting herself knocked up and not being able to carry your 12 year old son to his piano recital?

animal picture of the day

Can you believe this pwecious wittle seal pup was outcast from his colony for being ginger?!

Neither can I.

Source: Caters News Agency

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


One day you wake up and are confronted with the news that Nirvana's breakthrough album is twenty years old.  Has it been two decades since your twelve year old self bought that CD for a older friend's birthday party and immediately became the birthday girl's favorite party guest?  But oh, yes, it really has been twenty years since you showed up at the party with that tacky, see through red blouse with the black lace bra that frankly had nothing much to cover up.  Flat chested as you were, John C still found a reason to sneak you into a closet and make out with you while In Bloom blared in the background.

Back in the present I have been playing the album on my Ipod at the office.  My friend at Microsoft tells me that her radio station in Seattle has been playing Nevermind almost nonstop.

and on and on

On Saturday I went on one of my semi-annual benders although I wasn't really drinking so I don't know if it counts as one.  I used to force SB to stay awake with me but in the past couple of years he has run off to sleep and left me to my own devices.  He does not like long spells of unrest whereas I was conditioned through seven and a half years of architecture school to all night work sessions.  It has come in handy at the office a few times.

The day started with us meeting SB's former classmate who was in town on business.  Next, I spent the rest of the afternoon cheering three squads of my club's rugby players who were playing in friendly matches at Aberdeen Sports Ground.  Then I was off to the Jockey in Happy Valley for a farewell party for Elliot, the manager of the past five years.  Throughout the evening a large assortment of patrons and hospitality staff from other pubs came and went, presenting a living slide show of his life at the pub.  I limited my drinking to a couple glasses of wine over the span of almost twelve hours of revelry.  I intended to stay awake until 3am to see the France vs. new Zealand rematch but the next thing I knew it was 6:30 and I had missed the match.

With more speed than a vampire in the moments before first dawn I scurried home and attempted to sneak into bed without SB noticing the time.  Unfortunately he was in the center of the bed with the sheets rolled around him in a large cocoon with two large feet sticking out at one end and a dishevelled head sticking out of the other end.  I managed to squeeze into the space next to him and then attempted to subtly nudge him to his side of the bed.  Maybe I could take one end of the sheet and drag him or slowly unroll him in one direction.  My attempts woke him up but thankfully he is not a morning person and so true wakefulness was eluded.  He lifted his head out of the cocoon and make a few smacking noises for me to kiss him before falling back asleep as I was heaving him in one direction.  We both awoke by 9am with him none the wiser about my very late night.

Monday, September 26, 2011

to the edge

SB brought his skates with him when he went home for the express purpose of getting them sharpened by Michelle at Ambis Industries but it was closed on the day that he drove through town.  As far as we know the quonset hut that houses Ambis is no longer used for any other metal works even though the equipment is still there.  Word of mouth is that no one had the talent for more complex metalwork after Mr. Ambis passed on but the family continues the tradition of skate sharpening a few times per week.  As a side note, boilermakers make a very healthy living these days due to their rarity.

Being committed to achieving the perfect edge, SB drove on for 57 more miles to McKie Sport Shop in Syracuse where his skates were ground and honed to his preferred radius and rocker contour.  When he arrived home, he had me stand in front of him while he gently and lovingly removed the purple, velour blade covers and unveiled the glorious sharpness of his skates.  So now I know what he was doing instead of picking up my engagement ring.  I wasn't sure if I should clap my hands in delight over the shininess of his blades or strangle him.

On Thursday night SB attended the draft for the upcoming hockey season at MegaIce.  He was drafted into the Div. 1 league as well as the newly inaugurated contact league.  For him this means that he will be allowed to check other players for the first time in years.  For me it means twice as much stinky gear drying in the entryway.  Ugh.  SB was instructing one of the new contact players on how to complete a check when I left the draft.  I have to give props to these young guys who have never played contact but are willing to take it on.  It was nice of him to offer advice rather than going Godzilla on them. 

SB did express pleasure at the thought of taking on one particular player who has been a bit of a teacher's pet (in this case a referee's pet).  The two of them played on the same team for the scrimmage before the draft.  According to SB their conversation went like this:

SB: I'm really disappointed that we're scrimmaging on the same team.  I was looking forward to hitting you.
Referee's Pet: There must be another reason why you're playing in this league.
SB: I'm sure there is; I just can't think of it right now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

chopped liver

While watching the Rugby World Cup, SB and I began a lively discussion over certain infringements at the breakdown.  A referee has to interpret the law in a multitude of ways when watching two sides contest for the ball.  The referees have been very strict about tacklers releasing players or being on the wrong side of the tackle (seemingly too strict on some occasions) but other infringements are overlooked such as ruckers not really being on their feet to begin with or going back to their hands and knees in the middle of the ruck and continuing to ruck. 

At some point in the discussion another person in the pub joined our discussion, except he didn't really join the discussion as much as he began talking to SB and ignoring me.  Another person joined in and they managed to stand in a way that completely cut me out of the discussion.  This was not deliberate (I don't think so anyway) but rather they both focused on SB while moving in closer, which caused me to be pushed out of the group and left me staring at their backs.  A few times while they were talking SB looked to me for an answer but as soon as I gave it the backs were turned again and discussion continued with SB.  Eventually I rolled my eyes and wandered off.

I was irritated and said as much to SB later.  He had sympathy for me but that isn't the same as including me in the conversation, much less pointing out to those guys that I was better able to discuss technical aspects of the game.  SB asks for my advice when we are together but he isn't exactly forthcoming to others that I know more.   I have played the game for longer than he has and I am an IRB qualified coach yet both women and men assume that he is the most knowledgeable one.  Last summer when I was coaching a tournament SB came down to observe me.  One of the parents who doesn't often go to the matches asked SB how her son was doing, missing the obvious clues such as the fact that I was wearing a kit that read "coach" and was carrying a clipboard with their lineup and statistics while SB was standing at the sidelines wearing flip-flops and carrying a coffee.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

sweet revenge and other just desserts

SB reminds me that correlation does not imply causation but there are high numbers of coincidences between activity with my phone provider and telemarketing activity.  Every time that I make a change to my service plan, whether it is to extend the contract or upgrade a service, I am inundated with annoying telemarketing callers within a week.  It is very irritating to know that China Mobile and other service providers are happy to sell my information to people who will call me during office hours and late evenings while I am also paying for the phone service that they are indirectly clogging up with unwanted calls.  I am especially irritated that some of the telemarketers call from unknown numbers because it would seem that my service provider doesn't care if it sells my info to disreputable and unethical companies.

Therefore it is with a smirk that I read a series of text messages that were recently sent to my phone from China Mobile, warning me of receiving unsolicited offers from another company to change service.  It appears that China Mobile sold off its customers' numbers to a competitor who is now asking us to switch over to a more enticing offer.  My disgust for my provider is tempered by my admiration for the cleverness of the competitor who was able to obtain a list customers by taking advantage of China Mobile's greed.  Not only do they have a high chance of offering a competitive deal due to knowing who we are all presently subscribed to but the competitor may actually be more careful about selling out our information considering how they got to us in the first place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

packing it on before she packs it in

My coworker B was a wonder to behold over lunch today as I watched her attempting to stuff her face with a barbecue platter.  She is usually a healthy eater but she is a few weeks from giving birth to her first child and was undertaking desperate measures to catch up some weight.

For the entirety of her pregnancy B has only put on 13 pounds.  At last week's checkup she had only put on half of a pound from the previous week.  Despite this, the doctor claimed that the baby was 1.5 pounds bigger than the previous measurement and estimated it to be around 7.5 pounds.  I reassured B that I weighed 5 pounds when I was born so if the doctor was correct then it should be okay.  "So what is it?" she exclaimed to me, "If I only put on half a pound and the baby put on 1.5 pounds does that mean that I am malnourished?"

When she asked the doctor he laughed off her concern and remarked that it was a good thing because she wouldn't have to worry about all the weight she had to lose after giving birth.  Contrary to what the doctor thought, this answer did not please her at all.  B is not one of those vain women who diets or calorie counts during pregnancy though she appears to be one of those rare women who retain their perfect figures almost immediately after birth.  As much as she may enjoy that fact later, right now she would rather know that her progress is typical of other pregnant women and the variation is upsetting her.  Our other coworker is only ten weeks pregnant and has already put on ten pounds but is now avoiding telling B of her progress during B's final weeks.

For now we are treated to the sight of our small boned coworker constantly munching on snacks while looking like a snake who swallowed a bowling ball.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ithaca: where literal meets figural

2004: I returned from rugby training to find the letter waiting for me on my kitchen counter. Unlike the large envelope that contained my undergraduate acceptance, this letter was a one page missive and I initially thought that it was a rejection letter. I was disappointed but not surprised considering that my undergraduate school's military tradition and athletic accolades didn't provide much advantage when applying to the top two architecture schools in the country, and Ivy League institutions no less. My joy upon discovering Cornell's acceptance of me was briefly shared with my friends (no one wants to hug a sweaty rugby player for too long) and then I spent the rest of the summer planning my move to New York.

When I arrived in Ithaca on a very rainy fall afternoon, having driven 1800 miles in two days with almost all of my worldly possessions in my car, I did not know that my history was already tied to the area. Later while searching the history of the Fingerlakes region I discovered that an ancestor with my name and birth day had lived in the neighboring lake two hundred years previously. It is strange to see your name and birthday on someone else's obituary.  After that I was informed by my landlord that I was living in E.B. White's former home; she told me this fact the indifference of someone who lived in a town so small with a history so rich that almost everyone who lived in Ithaca had experienced a piece of its history. I was told stories of how during the 1950's the local school bus driver was at a loss over what to do with the weird man who was riding along with the children. The weird man later went on to write a story about Humbert Humbert and a nymphette.

Instead of registering for classes with an advisor, students would attend sessions where instructors gave short presentations of their courses and then the studnets would choose the programme that was of the most interest. Sebatien Marot's highly exuberant and somewhat confusing montage of Duchamp, the Iroquois Confederacy, geologist Dr. Ralph Tarr, Simeon DeWitt and Rem Koolhaas was intriguing so one week later I made my way to his lecture to give him a chance to interest me and he delivered. The course provided fodder for his work in progress about the superimposition of Ithaca's geological, political, and literary layers. He took his structure from Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même) which we referred to by its informal title, The Large Glass. Much like how Duchamp used physics and mythology to frame his work, we were instructed to find our own medium with which to construct a narrative with Ithaca or Cornell as the bride while bachelors were our choice.

The assignment was (literally) a nightmare. After struggling for a month and not coming up with any direction or methodology I began combing through Cornell's archives, hoping that inspiration could be found in the millions of books located in the stacks. A few weeks before the end of the course I had amassed a mountain of interesting pieces of history and not much else. I stopped attending Marot's office hours because I had nothing further to say. I had dreams about failing the course when I stood up to present and had nothing. Then one day as I was walking home across the suspension bridge I found clarity. Or sorta clarity. I was standing on the bridge looking out at the gorge and began to picture the layers of rock abstractly as layers of people. I would have a three layered Mise-en-scène with a geological bride and each layer represented by a Cornell bachelor whose work pertained to the layer! I rushed home to share my burst of inspiration with my roommates who in turn looked at me like I had hit my head on some of those layers.

One week later I presented the class with my apparatus. Using a system of hinges, springs and slides the shaky and clearly last-minute assemblage of a box slowly unfurled to reveal three representational layers. The bottom was my sub-terra of Ithaca's deep gorges and glacial lakes, shown through my interpretation of the research of Tarr. The middle layer was the terra of physical earth and spiritual inhabitants represented through my interpretation of Nabokov's gnostic themes. The upper layer was the extra-terra and could only be represented through Carl Sagan's lens. As I unfolded the components of my box into its final, sculptural form I spoke abut the works of Tarr, Nabokov and Sagan and how they expanded the fields of geology, literature and astronomy. Then I waited in silence for what seemed like an eternity. I began to rethink my presentation. The other students had lectured for much longer amounts of time with visual aides while I spoke as an aid to my visual apparatus. Then, finally, the silence was broken by a juror scraping his chair across the floor as he scooted in to grasp my project. He liked it. They liked it. I passed. Hallelujah.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cornell is in Ithaca, NY, Where Greek meets Indian

The above quote from E.B. White marked the beginning of my course taught by Sebastien Marot.  It was uncanny how much Marot's dissertation would reflect upon my life.  I came to Cornell as a tabula rasa in many aspects and left the weight of Ithaca's history imprinted upon my person.  More on that in the next post but for now I will share the words of one of my favorite instructors.

"Sub-urbanism and Super-urbanism may be considered the most significant subversions to which the concept and practices of urbanism are currently subjected, one being initiated from the realm of landscape architecture, and the other by one of the most creative vanguard of contemporary architecture. While sub-urbanism could be described as a design experiment which holds the site as the matrix in which the program is to be deciphered, super-urbanism, quite to the contrary, stands for an attempt at literally inventing the site through the manipulation and building of the program.

The contemporary hero of super-urbanism is Rem Koolhaas and Delirious New York its undisputed manifesto. For several reasons, which are interesting to reflect upon, sub-urbanism has not yet found such a hero, and has certainly not produced a tale that would have the power of challenging Koolhaas’ “Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan”. Our ambition, however delirious or playful it may seem, is to correct that by moving the stage set from Manhattan to Ithaca (the seat of Cornell University) where it happens that Koolhaas actually started to work out his theoretical and poetic plot.

Our intention, drawing, like Koolhaas, on the critical paranoid method, is to gather the ingredients of a relative manifesto for sub-urbanism able to suggest both that sub-urbanism can only be advocated relatively (not absolutely), and that super-urbanism is but a moment of sub-urbanism. A tale cannot be challenged, except with another tale.

The lecture will link several narratives, moments and people that were critical in shaping the “topolitics” of Ithaca and Cornell: geographers, scientists, agronomists, engineers, architects, artists and writers. In so doing it will seek to illustrate the idea that every landscape is made of a dense fabric of tales, representations and constructions, and that every building or project is a poem composed and written in that three (or four) dimensional page already saturated with real and virtual constructs.

...In 1978, the year Colin Rowe's Collage City and Oswald Mathias Ungers' "Berlin: The City as a Green Archipelago" both came out, Rem Koolhaas published Delirious New York, A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, a theoretical and poetical masterpiece which can be considered as the manifesto for contemporary super-urbanism (the program fashions the site). Interestingly enough, those three urban manifestoes, each magnetized by a fetish metropolis (Rome, Berlin, New York) share the same "distance point" in the little city of Ithaca, NY, seat of Cornell University where their three authors interacted in 1972-73 and started to build up their theoretical plots. By a curious loop in history, it so happens that this frontier town, located on the inlet of a lake that could figure the geographical antithesis of the Island of Manhattan, was founded by the designer of New York's famous grid (surveyor general Simeon De Witt). Exploiting those coincidences within the laudatio urbis of a hyperlandscape where the poetical adventures of Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark and Vladimir Nabokov each found their "North-West passage", our ambition is to reverse Rem Koolhaas' demonstration in Delirious New York and produce a relative manifesto for sub-urbanism (the site invents the program). In other words, to quote Fitzcarraldo in Werner Herzog's film, "I am planning something geographical"."

- Sebastien Marot, 'Palimpsestuous Ithaca: A Relative Manifesto for Sub-Urbanism'

Francesco Marullo wrote a fantastic breakdown of Marot's lecture here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear Rick Perry

How can someone with so little faith in the government be so certain about capital punishment?

234 authorized executions in Texas place you at numero uno of any governor in the history of the United States.

You say that you don't lose any sleep over that fact but I would be having nightmares over the death of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed for the murder of his three daughters in a case of arson that was later reexamined by the Texas Forensic Commission and Craig Beyler, a fire scientist, and determined that no evidence existed to conclude arson was committed.
But you replaced the chair of the commission, who cancelled the meeting that would have finalized the conclusion that an innocent man was executed under your reign just before Beyler was to present his evidence to the commission.  You denied Willingham's family the peace of mind of knowing that the fire was a terrible accident and their son and husband was innocent but at least it kept your record clean.  Maybe someone who would make such a cynical move without qualms can sleep very well at night.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

fitting a square peg into a round hole

When we moved into our flat last year I decided to switch dining tables.  Our old set was inherited from the previous tenant whose flat SB had subleased when he moved here and it was miserably uncomfortable.  My posterior quarters actually went numb during Thanksgiving dinner in 2009.  I found a replacement set online from an expat who was leaving Hong Kong.  The viewing times for her moving sale were during my office hours so I would be buying it sight unseen but it was originally purchased from G.O.D. so I went to the store to view it there.  The store no longer carried the same set but had a similar one with zebra wood and I liked it a lot.  However, when the second hand set was delivered it became clear that the table was much, much bigger than the one I had viewed at G.O.D.  It took up almost the entire dining area!  One of the movers looked at me with a deadpan expression and suggested that I could move it to the bedroom and place a mattress on top.  We kept it in the dining area even though it significantly reduced the space.  In the meantime I have heard endless comments from SB besmirching my architectural abilities.

Recently my firm has upgraded our printers.  The new color plotters arrived last week and are slightly larger than the previous ones, taking up a bit of the aisle in the printing shop.  The last of the copiers was supposed to be installed today but we ran into a problem: it does not fit.  The ink cartridges alone are larger than my personal printer.  The thing is so large that it would not fit through the opening of the office and even if it did, it would take up all of the circulation space.  It is about the size of a small car.

There is not much worse than the sight of half a dozen architects standing around with measuring tape and scratching their heads.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

tick tock

I am attending two weddings next month.  One of the brides met her future husband a few months before SB proposed to me.  This fact led me to bring up our delayed/aborted wedding plans with SB.  He told me that he had been thinking a lot about our wedding plans and then began to list out ideas in a way that sounded like some kind of stream of consciousness performance.  The conversation died a painful death soon after. 

With each passing day of our years' long engagement I become more convinced to elope.  I do not think that I will survive wedding planning with SB; his ADHD will push my patience to the breaking point.  Since his informal proposal in 2009 he has thought really hard at short intervals about my ring but there is still nothing in the works.  I told him to just ask his mother for the ring that his father gave to her but he forgot to do that when he was visiting her last month and hasn't thought about it since.  I originally wasn't sure that I wanted the ring because his parents are divorced but any squeamishness has been overridden by despair at the thought of him choosing one for me before this decade is over.

He has all sorts of random and varied ideas about how he would like our wedding to be but he has done absolutely nothing to bring anything about because his ADHD makes him adverse to decision making and favorable to procrastination.  I have no interest in planning a wedding alone, especially since I am sure it would include having to buy the ring and arrange for when he should give it to me down to writing the proposal script. Yeah, not interested.  At. All.

I can't even pretend to support his ideas anymore because the more he talks, the further away it becomes.  I want to give him a deadline to put a plan together or else we should elope and get it over with.  I am stuck between Scylla and Charybdis because he hates being given deadlines and yet he only makes decisions when forced to.  I want the wedding to be a joyful occasion but it is becoming an endless frustration waiting for him to dream on while several of our grandparents have literally dropped dead in the meantime.  We both agree that happily ever after is our goal rather than the wedding itself.  I would even live happily ever after without the legal bindings if only we could just get it over with, one way or another.  Oh please let it be over soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

a whole lot of shaking going on

The floor underneath me has been shaking on and off since this morning.  My coworker thinks that it is from some nearby MTR construction or pile driving in a neighboring site.  I work at the Hopewell Centre in Wanchai.  If anyone can tell me why the ground is shaking I would really appreciate it.  I am feeling more skittish about it than I probably should and would like to ease my mind.

Friday, September 9, 2011

a decade later

I will tell this story to the best of my recollection.

SB's friend K is a remarkable man.  Years ago he quit his finance job and spent years traveling around the world, engaging in all sorts of exciting activities.  He kayaked from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.  He rode his bicycle across the United States.  While in India he grew a beard so that he could enter Yemen with minimum attention. 

Ten years ago during he worked in a finance company on Church Street in New York City.  One morning he was having a meeting in the center of his office when a huge explosion rocked the building.  Nothing was spoken after that; the meeting broke up as each colleague ran for an exit.  Interestingly, each of the four colleagues at the meeting chose a different emergency exit.  Three of them made it out of the building in minutes but K had chosen the wrong exit.

He ended up in a mass of confusion as people were running in both directions.  The exit floor had become blocked with debris and smoke so eventually he made his way onto a refuge floor with several colleagues.  After about half an hour later he went back to the staircase and discovered that some of the smoke had cleared and firefighters were ascending the stairs.  Some of the people on the refuge floor opted to wait but he decided to go down the staircase.  The fire at the bottom was not as bad as it had seemed.

Once outside he began walking from the building with a couple of women who had exited with him.  He had lost his colleagues.  As they walked away a loud noise drew his attention.  He looked back to see a sight that most of the world has now also seen.  He told the women with him not to turn around but they did.  One woman fell to the ground.  Eventually they did the only thing left to do and began walking again.  He lived close to his office so he took the women to his home where they stayed for some amount of time before going on.  I didn't ask if he found out their names or ever saw them again. 

Most of us know where we were at that time.  I spent that morning in the stairwell of my school, offering comfort to a stranger.  We have forged a friendship out of the day that we were united by our grief and fear though we have never spoken about it.  But I am writing it down now as a record or what was lost and gained.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Like many other media sources this morning's Standard reported the airplane crash that killed most of the members of KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.  They also couldn't resist including a picture of a body being hauled out of the wreckage, unlike other media organizations.  Scanning through the rag at my bus stop, I was unprepared to come across the image but was immediately disgusted.  I also felt horror because the body had more than a passing resemblance to SB's physique.  I would have been devastated to see my beloved's body plastered across a newspaper. 

I will agree that images of death can be important to convey the gravity of a situation.  I can even agree that they are truthful images that are part of a record.  But I do not agree with the tabloid-like exploitation of such images for shock and titillation value.  I will say no thank you next time the paper is offered to me at my bus stop.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

face time

SB and I occasionally break our fast at the HV Classified.  He likes the muffins, I like the bagels and we both like the coffee.  Aside from a few fellow rugby players, we notice that the breakfast crowd there consists of nicely dressed individuals who we don't usually see in our weekend meanderings.  I wonder if this is because they socialize in the fancier clubs of LKF where SB and I rarely venture.  We would probably never go to LKF if it weren't for our Cornell friends' invitations.

During breakfast a couple of women sat at the table adjacent to ours and began a somewhat exuberant conversation about a man who one of the ladies was interested in.  From the snippets that I heard, she was complaining to her friend about him showing his true colors or something to that effect, I gathered as a result of drinking heavily during a party the night before.  The conversation caused me to reflect on when I used to be single; the women next to me were not different from my girlfriends and me.  I remember meeting up for brunch after a memorable evening and having similar discussions.  During the summer of 2004 I was immersed in a humorous soap opera involving a French rugby player, a 21 year old wrestler and my former university crush who had suddenly developed an interest in me though he had never looked twice at me during university.  During those days it seemed that dating conditions only occurred in flood or famine; there were either no single men to be found or they were coming out of the woodwork.

In the single girl days I wore summer dresses to brunch much like I do now, only then I would have accessorized with a purse and earrings while now I simply throw on the dress and follow my starving partner out the door.  The girls sitting next to us were of an entirely different league of women from my friends and me.  They were dressed in clinging, cotton dresses that I would only have worn in the evening, with full makeup and jewelry.  I was impressed.

I couldn't stop glancing over at the woman sitting across the table; she was flawless.  I have always viewed such women with a mixture of awe and curiosity.  I know plenty of women, my mother included, who would never leave home without battle paint.  I wonder if they are happy with their naked faces when they wake up in the morning.  Is the makeup viewed as enhancement or a concealment?

The woman across from me was groomed from her perfectly sculpted and lined brows to her exceptionally even, soft and glowing complexion.  I am a reasonably talented artist and can build architectural models with surgical precision (I even use surgical forceps to place tiny mullions) but I would be unable to replicate her facial mastery.  I wondered if the effort was for herself or for her quarry and if it was successful.

SB had finished his coffee and was ready for the day to begin so I was forced to halt my amateur anthropology and follow him out but I'm still wondering.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Probably the biggest of my biggest irrational fears

if ever were whenever

Last night I was flipping through our sports channels when I found the Texas A&M vs. SMU football game.  I immediately ran to put on my Aggie ring and yell along with the rest of the 12th men.  After watching one of their strongest showings since 1999 I flipped the channel to see that Setanta was showing highlights of the Harlequins match so I could ooh and ahh over the mad skillz of my beloved Nick Evans.  I reminded SB for probably the 50th time of how I just knew Nick Evans was something special after watching him in 2004.  Then I reminded him for probably the 30th time of how Graham Henry should have done more to keep Nick in New Zealand and given him more chances to start for the All Blacks because Dan Carter's understudies have so far been underwhelming.

SB remarked that he was sure that Nick Evans appreciated my loyalty.  Not likely since he has thousands of fans now but maybe in 2004 he would have liked to hear my sentiments.  If I had been on Facebook in 2004...I probably still would not have shared my sentiments.  Never mind.  The only person I share my regards with is USA 7's player Justin Boyd and that is mostly because we both played rugby for Texas A&M.  If I recall correctly he was class of '06 while I was class of '03 and he was a real pleasure to watch.  It is still a pleasure to read his posts and share in his successes.

"This is the best night ever!" I enthusiastically informed SB after watching several hours of sports. He immediately sought to bring me to reality by turning to the Animal Planet where there was some show on about animal psychics or haunted cats or something.  Seriously, how was that show even able to last one season?

Monday, September 5, 2011


SB brought back a lacrosse stick for me from his trip back home so we spent a few hours throwing a ball back and forth on Saturday.  I had not wielded a lacrosse stick in three years so my forearm and side were very sore yesterday.

Later SB and I ran a few defensive drills.  They were mostly for his benefit because women's lacrosse does not allow such contact to my chagrin.  In ice hockey you can have the option of playing with or without contact and I wish that women had the option of playing with men's rules. We had a fun time with SB dodging back and forth while I lightly checked him with my stick.

As we were running back and forth a man with a heavy Scottish accent came running up to us to ask, "Is that lacrosse?"  He was practically reaching for my stick so I handed it over to him.  "This is a girl's stick," I told him, trying to explain the differences in the pocket and how you can't do a windup like with the male sticks.  Then I realized that it didn't matter because he probably had no prior experience.  He and SB tossed the ball back and forth; he was impressive using it for the first time and I wondered what previous sports he had played so that his coordination was so good.  Maybe ice hockey?

Later another family came over to observe and I offered my stick to the children to play with.  The little boy was very pleased but his older sister shook her head and hid behind her mother.  It caused me to wonder if that behavior was innate or learned?  I have friends whose children do the same thing and it is so often that the boys will be bold and the girls will hide.  But yet when the children are very young they are equally shy or bold.  With the six year olds that play rugby they are equally bold and timid but in the general population I notice a gender division in behavior and I can't imagine that we would teach our kids to be shy on purpose.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

crying out loud

This weekend SB and I have been playing the collection of music on my ipod in alphabetical order by song.  We are in the latter part of the C's.  I can't believe how many songs are Crazy, Creepy and Criminal.

Friday, September 2, 2011

get over it

As SB was showing me pictures from his holiday back home he pointed out an image of the family at the lake.  When he had shown the pictures to Molly, his childhood girlfriend, she had asked who was the muscular guy in the background.  "It was me," he crowed while I rolled my eyes.

Last night after the HK Cup, which the US won over Canada by 5-0, I was chatting with one of the Canadian players when SB emerged from the shower, shirt unbuttoned in is his usual post game state because he continues to sweat for hours after physical exertion.  The Canadian player is the only person who spends more time shirtless than SB; he is a good looking, young Apollo with a glowing tan and abs that are almost obscene.  On the other hand, SB's physique resembles Hasselhoff in the Baywatch days: older and fuzzier but not without his special charm.  When SB was young Apollo's age he was a beast but now he has whittled down to a strapping, middle aged man with less hair on top.   Or maybe it is just migrating South.

As young Apollo and SB exchanged barbs about each other's physique I caught myself staring at SB.  Or to be more specific, I was leering.  Young Apollo's visually pleasing, smooth golden-ness doesn't have quite the effect as my mountain man.  Cousin Shoils thinks that he may have too much testosterone, and she may be right, but I can't help how my heart goes pitter-patter when he's around me, oozing sweat or testosterone from his pores.  I probably ought to get a hold of myself one of these days.  I imagine it is quite awkward for SB to be having a conversation with one of his buddies while I am eyeing him like he's a giant chocolate bunny.  But I do have a sweet tooth.