Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas is definitely coming


Christmas is coming, and I have not finished shopping for Christmas presents, nor cards nor anything else. If you do not get anything from Santa this year, it must be because you have been naughty - you must have added 20 mins to your parking coupon or didn't hold the lift for someone rushing to come in or said you had no time to do something when actually you just didn't feel like it... and you THOUGHT nobody was watching...

That is just my excuse for not sending out all my cards and stuff in time.

Anyway I am STILL trying to buy cardboard and poster paints to do that thoughtful little craft project which I said I would.. Paint Christmas cards for my family and friends!! This of course all depends on the feasibilty of it all given that I am still trying to buy the right kind of bloody paper.

Also promised Massimo an Advent Calender covered with pictures of Olga and Camilla.. Still struggling with my box to put photos on it. Also Promised to make Char Siew for Elaine and Marco. And of course I have a work deadline due in 12 days - my own advent calender has started...

You know you can take me out of all my long list of commitments in Singapore, put me in Italy, and what do I go off and do? Go off and over-commit myself again - Fwaghhh!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

some dog gone days

Some days it just aint' worth getting out of bed. Today seems to be one of them.

Due to a variety of administrative/logistics issues and unforseen circumstances, there is Absolutely No Cash in the house (save for some loose change). I am really grumpy because many places (like the market!) are cash-only. However, before you rush out to send cash and food packages, don't worry - we'll live: it is only an 8 hour liquidity crises, and everything reverts to normal once Fabien comes home and we go to an ATM ...

This may seem like a morbid reflection the earlier post about being a sucker to beggars, but I really wonder how would we cope if (touch wood) by some catastrophe, we lose all our money? There but for the grace of God go I seems to be the sentiment at the moment.

We take so many many things for granted. And we think we need more to live than we really do. But simple pleasures in life tend to be free. Like playing with my best buddy Olga:

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Remembering Poetry

One of the things I enjoyed about studying Literature at A level is having to my mind a fount of random quotations that bubble up when I least expect it.

This one is from Robert Frost on friendship:

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Lovely isn't it? Just thought I would take some time and share it with you.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Move aside Martha Stewart

Uncle Andre and his wife are visiting Turin. They are staying with Uncle Giles and his wife, Damienne. Giles is Fabien's godfather, who by a stroke of luck, is an expat in Torino also. Damienne and Andre are Fabien's mother's siblings. So much for genealogy - back to the story...

Tonight there is apperitivo for everyone in our humble house, and this is the menu:

Cold Stuff: Mozzerella and tomato skewers, Veggie crudities, Gristini, Platter of parma ham and diff kinds of salami with new potatoes, pickled onions and gherkins
Hot Bits: Deep Fried Spring rolls and Mini Croque Monsieur

I had to be physically restrained from planning some more food. It must be my Singapore paranoia of having not enough food in the house when you have guests.

I am going to put up the photo of the foods when they are finished tonight. AKAN DATANG on this blogpost and you will see the results of my efforts.. Who needs Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver when you have Sharon taking over the kitchen! MUAHHAhahaha (*diabolical laughter fades away*)

Fab says if he sees an explosion from his office he will know what happened. He hopes that he will come home to see the house still standing...

follow up post on this issue

These are the promised photos - sadly, you only see the cold foods becos the hot stuff was still in the oven.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Social conscience of the Sucker

One of the most annoying things about being in Europe (which conversely is something I miss about Singapore) is the presence of beggars on the streets and in the markets.

Being a liberal bleeding heart, I cannot but help to give spare change to pregnant mothers, grubby children, gypsys and anyone else who gives me a stupid excuse and pleading look.

Fabien and I have had countless discussions on this point, with the conversation usually begining with the words "you are not helping them you know" YES i know they mostly don't need it/earn more than I do/use the money to buy drugs/alohol etc...

However, unlike him, I have not been hardened through travelling through India on less than 3 USD a day, besieged into numbness by suffering humanity.

So today, when I went to the market, and the usual pregnant woman comes to me asking for money (I must have the word "sucker" stamped on my head), I decided to try something equally compassionate but not involving a cash donation. I opened my shopping bag, and let her pick up from my own fruits and veggies whatever she wanted- she took some baby tomatoes, carrots, a banana and an apple.

It may have cost me more money than giving her the loose change in my wallet. But I felt generally better for it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's snowing!!

Yay! It is snowing today.

Little flakes drifting down just outside our window, creating wet puddles on the concrete that you can jump into. The fact that it is snowing in Torino city centre in November is actually not so common, because it tends to rain or sleet rather than have perfect little fluffy icicles coming down. It will snow more in Jan and Feb...

Given its rarity, I am justifiably excited about being able to see snow in November.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life's little ironies

I went to the ILO today on Maestri del Lavoro. It is part of a UN cluster of buildings in Turin, together with UNICRI and a small UNESCO office, so the whole area is within a fenced up compound.

I realise that in most protected places in Turin, if you look not Italian/North European, you may get asked for your ID by the security guard at the entrance. I don't know what it is like at the other UN compounds in the rest of the world, but in this one, it works the other way around!

Due to the UN hiring quotas there are a whole lot of black/asian/women and other minorites walking in and out of the compound everyday. I have never been stopped to be asked for ID, but Fabien (white, male and therefore an endangered species) is always stopped at the entrance whenever he comes to get me.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The first snow flake of the year

This weekend was spent quietly. It was pretty cold so we didn't get out of Turin, instead we tried to finish up our wedding "Thank You for coming to Aubry" cards...

We went to an exhibition of RenĂ© Magritte (1898–1967) and Paul Delvaux (1897–1994). Very disturbing, and I love it. The perspectives are so warped and wierd and acid-trippy! Never thought I would enjoy surrealist art... But never say never eh?

Fabien and I discussed a whole bunch of stuff, the details of which will not be posted here, but sometimes it is just nice that you know the fact of something happening without necessarily knowing the details - Except the most important one:-

Mush Moment Alert
We are so blessed with a great marriage, wonderful family, friends so we are grateful...Toi qui aime ce que qui aimez...

Less goey and random details - you can stop throwing up now..

The temperature is really starting to plunge this week (brrrr)...
The first Snow Flake of the year may fall this week!

It is a good enough cause as any to get all excited about...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Work Life Balance

This is a bit of an old chestnut, but there is a good spin on it written by Brad in Feld Thoughts which I thought I'd tag here and if it doesn't work you can try clicking on the Title of this post.

The mythical work/life balance is a bit of the promised land, especially when you are a struggling lawyer or a teacher or researcher or even back to school as a student. But I know you can find if somehow as long as you find an organisation which pays more than just lip service to concept. As long as you discipline yourself to what is important to you.

It feels a little hypocritical for me to blogging about such a balance, because I hardly have a stressful job at the moment. But strangely enough, it is the perspective which comes from having time to think about my own values which prompted me to write this.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

This one just cracks me up

Ever wanted to be South Park Character? I tried to produce some not particularly convincing characters for Fabien and me.

But you can go knock yourself out with this link

click here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Which historical figure are you?

Amelia Earhart

Adventurous and boundary breaking. You believe that you can do anything, and do not hesitate to take risks to achieve a big goal. You like to problem solve, when a problem comes up.

Try this yerself

I stole this rather flattering meme from Kit.
I like Amelia - I have always thought she was one highflying babe.
To infinity and beyond!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Yoga Mama nonsense

I was reading this absolute balderdash on businessweek. I don't have much to add to the existing long list of comments already present in the article. If you can't follow the link, try this using this:

If you cannot be asked to trawl through that trash (and who can blame you?) my reading is that the writer attempts to lampoon the desperate housewives meets sarah jessica parker ladies who have children as a lifestyle statement. Manipulated by greedy manufacturers of organic babyfood, branded baby products and other expensive (read = unnecessary) products, these yoga mamas rush from their own spa sessions to baby massage class in their designer togs with matching LV stroller.

The bluff is called, and you can see it in the reader's comments which I've extracted here:

This article takes two distinctively different trends and melds them into one. There are mothers who are avoiding toxins in products so they spend more and mothers who just spend as status. Organic is more expensive but not superfluous

Nuff' said. Organic and fair trade products may cost more - but how much is your conscience worth?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Torino Weekend en famille

Parents (Fab's) came for the long weekend. Since Pictures speak a thousand words, I will just save you these thousands:

This is us at the top of the mountain with the Sacra San Michele. It is basically an abbey dedicated to the angel with the flaming sword - michael (so Mikey - we went to YOUR abbey!)

One of the nice things about being up in the mountains were the mountain sheep and goats wandering around in a flock. You really think about the parable of the Lost Sheep when you see the little one that get left behind bleating away. But fortunately the others are not far up the road...

Photographic tip of the day

If you try to take romantic couple pictures by yourself (i.e. holding the camera with one hand and trying to focus and click blind)... make sure you turn off the zoom function...

Friday, November 11, 2005

An Agony of Waiting

As posted previously, this week is madness incarnate.

So many emotions bunched up together. Start of week in Milan, so happy to see Auntie Anne, then the parents of Fabien appear, and then it is relentless entertaining, interspersed with preparation for interviews. Today my candidacy goes before the Senate for the tutorship of the International Trade Law Course 2006 Edition, and they will inform me the result either just before or just after Christmas..

wish me luck!

Oh yes - what are you last 5 things to eat before you die? This list is inspired by the BBC - take a look here

1) fresh sashimi - was swimming 10 mins ago
2) char grilled argentine steak very very rare..
3) katong laksa
4) char kway teow (yet another plebian pleasure)
5) tartiflette

A predictable list for me perhaps, but OH SO GOOD...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Busy Week Ahead!

Busy week getting back into Torino. Have to get some paperwork done at the Questura -- I have finally recieved a blue piece of paper, and I can now use that to get a special piece of pink coloured paper, which later enables me to get a Carta d'Identita, so that I can finally register to learn how to drive. Need to get cracking on Some More wretched Italian lessons so that I can actually _Understand_ the driving instructor. He is the only driving instructor in the world that doesn't seem stressed when I take my hands off the steering wheel, but then again I am sure he understands that you NEED your hands to talk Italian...

MUAHHAHAHAHA - Drivers of the world beware!! Another crazy Italian trained driver will soon be unleashed on this world!!

Also Fabien's parent's are coming to visit us in Torino because there is a long weekend in France. They'll be here from Thursday to next Monday, so will expect to be busy busy! I have staked claim on the title of "Favourite Daughter In Law" -- but that is of course because I am their only daughter in law (kekekeke).

Fab is likewise adored by my parents as favourite (and only) son-in-law, so it is nice that we all get to play happy families like this. I guess at the end of the day, our parents on both sides can see we are very much in love and happy, and they are happy for us as we kiss and make up after every little spat and have loads of lazy weekends, enchanted holidays and busy weeks, and otherwise carry out our happily married existence.

Sappy Italian Word of the Day - "Amore" (pronounced Ah-Mor-Ray) which means "beloved"..

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Beautiful Torino

Weather changing again!

It is getting cooler now, and you can start to see traces of breath each time you exhale. The afternoon light is sometimes so lovely.

Take a look...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Dammit, I am a cherry blossom

what's your inner flower?

[c] sugardew

just for you to entertain yourself, i stole this off Luc the Hell Hound..

What flower are you anyways?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Koh Samui honeymoon

After 2 weddings, one international move and an August French holiday to recover from all that, we decided that it was time for our Asian honeymoon on Koh Samui. (life is tough luvvies...)

We spent 10 days in this villa , and we loved every moment of it. It did have the potential to be utterly boring, given that we didn't plan our usual holiday barrage of sight-seeing and sports activities. There is no TV or DVD player in the villa, but we ended up playing cards, and otherwise creating our own entertainment.

.... scrub your filthy mind...

Most days were spent reading, having blissful spa sessions or going to the beach and having nobody around you for miles and miles.

So the next time you consider a holiday think of a nearby destination, not too expensive with lots of privacy and a good book (spouse is an optional extra).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

We are Back in Turin!

We just got back from our whirlwind of overseas trips. Some were fun, some were reflective and some were not so much fun.

For the last month,
Sharon's schedule was Turin - Paris - Singapore - Seoul - Singapore -Samui - Singapore - Paris - Turin. For Fab it was Turin - Frankfurt - Beijing - Frankfurt - Turin - Paris - Singapore - Samui - Singapore - Paris - Turin.

So we are pretty tired now, and will blog about the fun bits when we upload the photos.