Saturday, 15 March 2014

reframing some ideas

Recently I have been trying to change two of my negative ideas.

"Long haul flights are a chance for some quiet me-time." I have decided it would be better for everyone if I no longer hated long journeys. So instead I will enjoy them as a chance to sit quietly, create my own quiet, read, and rest. My weekly life is very energy draining so perhaps I can use a long flight as a chance for napping and calm. Also, I usually feel quite introspective on planes, perhaps because ideas of home and belonging have always been somewhat hard to pin down. So I can capitalize on this by using my plane time as planning and goal setting time.

"Saying no to something I shouldn't do is also saying yes to something I should do." I have realized that  deciding to say no to bad food can be looked at in a more positive vein. It is saying yes to good health. (A recent post on Mark's Daily Apple inspired this thought.) Saying no to wasting time means saying yes to feeling great when I get things done. Saying no to being annoyed with someone is like saying yes to a better relationship and a more patient me.

Reframing my ideas is really just a fancy way of saying I am trying to look at things from a more positive angle.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

library loot

So it was my first time visiting the library in a long time. I was so happy to go! Just the pleasure of seeing and browsing among all those books. Wonderful!

 I wanted to get a book about fermenting foods and there were a few. This one, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods, seemed to be comprehensive and full of easy ideas. Also I've been taking a more structured approach to trying wine lately and I realised that just figuring out what the bottles on the shelf contain is quite tricky. So I got Understanding Wine Labels to help me out. Finally, the Kitchen Reader book this month is Below Stairs, the memoir of a 1920s kitchen maid.

This post is a part of a weekly blogging event called Library Loot. It is co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. I was introduced to it by our new Kitchen Reader member, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

how to get out of a bad mood

Why isn't living more of a science? It would be so much easier if sometimes there was just a formula such as "If this, then that". I feel out of sorts and cranky and I don't know how to stumble forward. I would prefer the rule, "If you feel cranky, then mope for a day and the next day get on with being excellent." But it doesn't seem to work that way.

I feel out of sorts for a number of reasons. I hurt my knee while trail running and by the end of the last three working days it has been throbbing with a hot pain. In addition to this, I have had some setbacks at work that should just be minor bumps but somehow have grown to little mountains. My marking is piling up; also I am late with a few tasks that people depend on. A few parents criticized my teaching methods last week; also my students seem to be confused by things I thought they had learned.

At home I have failed to get a grip on the laundry and it seems to be taunting me from the overflowing baskets. I forgot to buy toilet paper for one day too long. And all I can find in the fridge for dinner is three red onions.

For now I am making my own life formula. It starts with "choose the success criteria for tomorrow". Since I know that I can't solve all these problems, including my foul mood, in one day, I have chosen just four tasks for tomorrow that will be the way I will judge my success. Two are for work, and two are personal tasks. One of them is to talk to God. If I can accomplish those four things, I will celebrate the day as a small success. And then tomorrow I'll set new success criteria for the next day. This is my small effort to structure my bleak days.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas decorating

We always travel to my family at Christmas. It's a commitment we made when Anthony "stole" me from them to live in another country after getting married. As a result, the Christmas decorating in our own flat is usually minimal. We had an artificial tree when Matt and April lived with us (it was theirs). One year I thought we were settling down since we had bought our own place. So I bought a living Christmas tree in a pot, planning to keep it alive and reuse it for many years. We moved to Hong Kong just three months later. Sigh.

But we still have a bit of Christmas stuff and I put it out today. There are decorations on our dining room mirror and balcony window. Also, we have a Christmas runner on the table in our entryway.

Ant bought me a poinsettia yesterday! That is an act of love because he knows how much I love them.

Friday, 29 November 2013

poor, neglected blog

Well, I have been food blogging regularly and now I have a work blog too. This personal weblog has been neglected. Sorry, friends. I post lots of picture on Facebook, but I love reading others' blogs. So I guess I shouldn't shut down this space just yet.
This picture was taken in the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two weekends ago. It's a carved wooden mirror from 19th century Iran.

Friday, 28 June 2013

five minute friday: in between

This is worth a try. A five minute sustained, spontaneous writing session.

Five Minute Friday

"In between" seems like an appropriate first topic for me as well. Today was the last day of work and tomorrow we have the movers coming in.

I am in between Hong Kong and Singapore. It has been three years here. I found it hard to settle here in Hong Kong. Making friends was hard and took me a long time. (Is there any way to learn how to make friends faster and easier?) Now that I have friends, though, it is so very hard to leave them.

Singapore is going to be great; I know that, too! We already have some friend there, actually, two couples. So that should give us a head start we need so we don't feel lonely.

 I am also in between work and holiday. We leave on Sunday for a ten day break; yippee! It will be good to rest, reflect, and recover. Anthony and I are both in dire need of some down time. We are going to have a memorable, no expenses spared time in New Zealand. But to be honest, both of us know that even if we don't do any fancy outings we will be happy just to sit in the car, looking at the beautiful scenery, and not worrying.

Are you in between?
Do you have advice about making friends?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

happenings in Hong Kong

Anthony and I have very little sense of "style". We admit it. However, we do have this one painting that I love! It was a gift from the mother of one of the Chinese students Mum and Dad hosted at their home. It was delivered from Shenzhen in an epic saga that took weeks of cross-boarding haggling. I love the colours and the sense of movement in it.

In other news, we have bought a new camera lens - a 10-22mm for wide angle shots. Here is a view from our balcony at night.

And here is a view of Hong Kong harbour at night time. A few months ago I won a one-night stay at the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong and this was the view from our room. Wow!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

things for which I am thankful today

1. A friend brought me a pot of Marmite Gold from his trip to England last week. It's a gimmick but I think it's great. It made me smile all morning!

2. We got a new washing machine and it is so quiet! Our old one was so noisy that even with the kitchen door closed we couldn't talk to each other without shouting. It also didn't spin properly about half the time, which meant that a lot of loads of laundry had to be washed through two cycles. That made laundry take a lot longer than necessary. I am so happy that we have this new one.

3. I complain a bit about the many passwords related to online banking, but I am really very grateful for connected global bank accounts that allow me to shop online in several countries! heehee.

4. Talking to my Grammie on the phone is like a warm hug. I love chatting with her.

5. Having coffee and dinner with my best friend in Hong Kong - she always brightens up my day. I love our mid-week meet-ups.

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Fracking, Bonobos, and the Three Gorges Dam Region in China

My recent reading helped me learn about fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, a method for getting oil out of deep horizontal seams. It had exploded in use in North Dakota since 2006. It has provided huge economic benefits for the area and also put massive pressure on the infrastructure and employment market. It is not sustainable and the boom is due to end within a generation.


Bonobos are a species of ape who are separated from chimpanzees and gorillas by the Congo River. They have a distinctly matriarchal society and are much more interdependent than other apes. Bonobos don't have "alpha males", instead mothers and sons remain close and females share power.

"Return to River Town" was an article I read about a Western man who taught English in Fuling, China, on the Yangtze River in 1996. He returned there to visit since the town was altered by the Three Gorges Dam, 450 km downstream. The dam's construction raised the water level by 120 m and displaced the city's residents (and had many other impacts). He described an underwater museum where visitors can see a historical carving which is now submerged under 40 m of water.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

making a diptych in Lightroom 4

I used this video to help me learn to make a diptych in Lightroom 4. I also enjoyed an Adobe TV video that discussed the aesthetics of pairing images in diptychs.

Photos taken at Uniacke Estate, July 2012.

What new skills have you learned this week?