Thursday, January 29, 2009

exhausted

i have left florida and now find myself in the burbs of georgia. i haven't blogged because i am exhausted. truly and utterly exhausted.

i left the omni resort in orlando on wednesday afternoon...in a haze...as i boarded the plane. those few days at the omni felt like a few months. i presented 8 sessions. each session was 1 hour and 15 minutes. there were four sessions each day...but there were also meetings in between sessions as well as mandatory business socializing activities. after i presented the second set of sessions, attended meetings, and the formal dinner, i fell asleep on my bed with my clothes on and woke up around 3am to realize that i hadn't shut off any of the lights. while i was at the omni, i tried to sneak away for about 10 minutes here and there to gain my breath and composure...usually, i tried to hide out by the pool (see top pic).

i suppose i should give some background info on why this is particularly exhausting for me. i am one that doesn't gain energy from being around people....in fact, it is the exact opposite. being around people drains me but i knew how important these presentations were. i was presenting to the majority of these people (well over 200) for the first time....and i had to ensure that they found value in the presentation, me, my boss, the team, and the french boss boss. i felt like i was not just representing me....but so many others. these presentations were very important.

so i prepared and prepared. stressed and stressed some more. then, each time i went in front of the crowd, i made certain that i presented with an intensely high energy level. i presented with quite a bit of zeal and animation. now, most of you dear hearts, have never seen me do this in "real life". i see it as giving a performance. in the end, the preparation and tiredness has paid off though....at least 5 members of the executive team provided positive feedback on my session as well as the chairman of our company's board of directors. the corporate hr exec said that based on the feedback he's heard, he thinks it was considered one of the top two presentations of the event. it is odd to present to so many people. i am not used to walking around when people know who i am, and i have no idea who they are.

i am used to being a lot more anonymous.

people would come up to me and introduce themselves, and when i would say "it is good to meet you, i am foodie hunter", they would say, "i know, i saw you present and it is why i wanted to talk to you...". it was a bit jolting. i also noticed a change in the way people treated me...but more on that later, perhaps when i am not so tired.

as i was leaving for the airport on wednesday, DH said..."the genie is out of the bottle...everyone wants a piece of you now, we are going to have to manage expectations." at this point, i just smiled and nodded weakly. when i got to the airport, i was starving. i really hadn't been eating very much during that time at the omni....i was too nervous.

so, what i did i have when i got to the airport? absolute junk food...

and since i have been in georgia, my eating habits haven't been that great. i mean, take a look at my lunch today...meatloaf and mash potatoes...

i was so tired that i just shook my head at my server when he called me sweetie as i was getting ready to leave. first of all, i was so tired that i couldn't even bring up the energy to send him a stern look. second, i doubt he was even twenty years old....third, well....it just reminded me that i am DEFINITELY in the south.

i can't wait to be safe at home, in my own bed, and in my own "country".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the 9 dollar egg salad sandwich

sooo....i left orlando hotel #1 (the rosen centre hotel....take a look at the view from the room i had...talk about urban sprawl)

and have checked into orlando hotel #1 (name to be disclosed later). i was pretty hungry and wasn't feeling very inspired by room service...so i went to the on-site deli to check it out. holy moly. since the is a "resort" i should have expected this. there wasn't exactly a lot of selection and the egg salad sandwich is $9.

i'm talking about an egg salad sandwich here....and in this town, you better bet that the eggs aren't local sustainable cage free organic with a pleathra of other organic ingredients: bread, veggies, mayo, etc. etc. etc. the other options didn't look too great and were even more expensive....why would i want to pay $12 for a turkey wrap (and likely processed turkey meat no less).

jez.

i know it is "company" money and all of that. yet, i don't go spending wildly on the company. i don't think it is in my nature to do so. it was just a bit of sticker shock to pay manhattan or SF prices around the outskirts of orlando ....and in manhattan and SF, you bet that a $9 egg sandwich would an uber chic-chic sandwich. the sandwich was ok. i'm glad that i grabbed a salt packet. i had a feeling i was going to need it since this place is also a "spa". sigh.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

medicate me

i feel like i am battling against my own body at the moment.

i woke up this morning, worked on something for the boss' boss (a request that he sent at 1am no less), and headed over to attend the conference for about 4 hours or so. during my attendance in the sessions, taking copious notes through the haze of a headache...and a just beginning to burn sore throat....i realized that i needed to send an email to DH...went into my bag and voila. no blackberry.

"oh fuck. oh fuck. oh fuck". was the reaction. i mean, wouldn't that be yours? this is not usually the kind of thing that happens to me.

then i proceeded to run around, retracing my steps, trying to figure out where i had left it. also, due to my uber lazy self, i haven't memorized my mobile work phone number....as i primarily use it for the blackberry function...and the only two people that call me on it anyway are the boss and the boss' boss. that's it. think of it as my version of the bat phone. the number it isn't something i give out easily to work people.

so what do i do? i proceed to call friends and loved ones on my personal cell phone [yes, i carry two phones] to see if any of them could access their email to see what my work mobile number was. [background update: i send this information to loved ones in case they need to get a hold of me in an emergency situation.] alas, no one was picking up...and i continued on my wandering around trying to figure out how i could lose it. i mean, the blackberry is similar to an appendage. or it has become that way. what a stupid thing to do!

alas, i eventually did find it and almost cried on the spot. see how tired and sick i am? i almost cried. over a device. jez. once the conference was over, i ...in my haze, went back to the room to down yet another shot/dosage of vitamin c (airborne this time ...see top image) and found a local grocery store to stock up on various medications.

i am hoping that this will at least help me hold out the worst of it until the presentations are over (which i still have to finish working on btw...no stress or anything). i really want these presos to go ok. i just don't know if my body is going to go along with me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

blogging from orlando...


once upon a time....in another life, there was the potential for me to move to florida. yet, i am glad that things worked out the way they did as at this time, i think florida is a place i'd rather visit.

my poor body doesn't know what end is up at the moment...with all of the jet lag from bouncing around....not to mention i am feeling the beginnings of a sore throat and cough. oh well. such is life. i keep telling my body to "just last until wednesday....just until wednesday"...as i have 8 presentations that i'll need to give over the course of monday and tuesday. i am drinking fluids and amazingly large amounts of "Emergen-C". i'll keep you posted.

i had a bit of an adventure right before getting on the plane this morning. i could feel the beginnings of the cough and sore throat this morning, so stopped by one of the news stands in the SFO united terminal...you know, the one by Mango, to buy quite a few rolls of cough drops. i paid cash, received some change, took about 5 steps away from the counter....and then realized, what a minute...i am short $10 in change. i walk back to tell the cashier and she was insistent that she gave me a $10 bill....i said that wasn't the case, especially since there were only $1s, $5s and $20s in my wallet. she gave a tremendous amount of attitude and then there was a ruckus and then the manger was called over. the manger was pretty stoic about the whole thing until he told the cashier to get lost because i think her interference while he was counting the money in the cash drawer was distracting him.

i bet she thought i wouldn't wait until every bill and coin was counted....oh...she doesn't know me, does she? so i waited while the cashier was wandering around the store. sure enough, about 10 minutes later....the manager calls the cashier over and says "your drawer is $10 over. you need to be more careful." she did not look contrite. she looked caught. the manger then apologized and she handed me the $10 bill she said "sorry"...i gave her a very dirty look as i took the money and left.

if you are in SFO, you'll know her if you see her. there aren't that many Filipino women in their 40s with a long pony tail and blue contacts working the news store next to Mango in the united terminal. just watch your change.

it is unfortunate as i am in this terminal a lot. the guy in inmotion recognizes me on sight and knows exactly what section i am going to head toward. most of the time, my experiences have been pretty positive in this terminal.


thankfully, i was upgraded to first class on this leg so it helped soothe my feathers a bit....as you can imagine, i was pretty worked up about the whole experience.
i even bought myself some lollipops right before i boarded to "soothe the beast"...

first class on a us carrier is a heck of a lot better the regular econ. it is all about having "real" dishes and warmed nuts....

not to mention decent food ....

as opposed to those not so great snack boxes. when i fly premium econ, i end up just getting food from one of the food stalls and bringing it on board.

the flight itself was fairly uneventful, except for my seat mate drinking a bit too much (and prob a bit too early) and having the attendants run around for her when she said she was going to faint, be sick, wanted a tissue, wanted a barf bag, etc, etc, etc. thankfully, she just zonked out about an hour into the flight and i was able to actually get some work done on the plane.

working in first class on a us carrier is actually quite feasible. there is actually enough space to work comfortably. thankfully, the rest of the flight was ok and the ride to the hotel also worked out fine. after i checked-in, i ordered a burger for room service ....which was HUGE. i didn't finish it...but i did eat all of the pickle.... i love pickles.

well, hopefully, the rest of the trip will go ok. i've got quite a few meetings tomorrow and must squeeze in some time to practice my preso. there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day. sigh.

well, nite dear hearts....'til later.

many hugs.

me

Thursday, January 22, 2009

wasn't i just here?

i am experiencing a bit of deja vu. i'm rushing to get some things done before i head out for a business trip tomorrow morning. alas, i'll be going to orlando which isn't exactly as glamorous as going to london. although, i really didn't get to see as much of london as i would have liked. oh well.

i have no idea if i am going to be able to blog very much during this trip...i suppose we shall see. before i signed off for the night though, i wanted to share with you a delightful trip i made to a couple of patisseries while i was in london.

one of them was maison blanc on holland park....

which had absolutely lovely cafe eclairs that rivaled the ones i had in paris. i bought a couple for "takeaway".


i can only imagine that their other sweets and savories are just as yummy.




another place on holland park that i actually stopped off for a quick break was patisserie valerie. i remember that day, it was a much needed a break that consisted of a few precious mintues....in order to consume a cup of hot chocolate and an eclair. (see top image)

aren't their pastries just lovely?



everyone was also super nice to me...which i thought was quite lovely considering there was this group of rude americans sitting at a nearby table. it is amazing how you can spot all of the american stereotypes when traveling abroad and i can't help but wince when i see these stereotypes in action.

well, it is almost midnight.....i'd better head off to bed and try to get some sleep....goodness knows, i look like a zombie anyway these days....'til later dear hearts!

xxooo,

me

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

love & friendship

so i was up and typing away at 4:30am this morning. gotta love the jet lag. i was not so virtuous as to be actually working at that time. i ended up messing around on facebook and flickr for a couple of hours. you know when there are times when you are doing things that don't require a lot of brain energy....but your mind is elsewhere?...working and processing on other things? that is what happened to me this morning. i had to get my head back into the "work" mode at 7 am for a few hours and then promptly dropped out of work mode during my lunch break today.

after my last meeting with DH, i headed out around noonish to a local dive-y thai place for some pad won sen. i was in the mood for some noodles and since it started to rain again in the bay area....i didn't want to walk too far during my break.

the place is a dive, but it is consistent, friendly, and fast.

my thai iced tea arrived in about two minutes after i ordered it.

as i stirred and sipped my thai iced tea....waiting for my pad won sen to arrive, i was doing quite a bit more processing about love and friendship....from a more calm frame of mind that i had last night. when i talked to the the heart sister about the whole brit ex-lover situation, one of the things she said was "i cannot believe you were with him as long as you were." my response was "well, to be fair, i wasn't exactly ready to be with someone that was emotionally available at that time." also, since we are talking about fairness.... i haven't exactly been with anyone that i couldn't walk away from....i have had this mentality that anyone that i entered that sort of relationship with....had to be someone that i could leave and not look back. i don't think i consciously did this...you know, it isn't like i talked to myself and said "foodie hunter, don't get involved with anyone that you can't leave"....but i see the pattern now. i was and am so driven. i didn't want anyone to interfere with my academics, becoming financially independent, and my career. i also sure as hell didn't want the end of a relationship to leave me in a worse position that i was before. i have an enormous amount of pride that way.

of course the gods have their own sneaky plan for prideful little foodie hunters that think they can circumvent and control fate. it is a trap of my own making and i sense some major heartache in the future. oddly enough, despite knowing that this is coming....i still have no intention of walking away. quite a first. complicated? yes. confusing? absolutely.

at this point, my lunch entree had arrived....

which i ended up doctoring with large amounts of chili flakes...what can i say? i enjoy spicy food. as i twirled the clear pan friend noodles around the massive plate with my fork, i processed more about lovers vs loved ones. while i had a rather machiavellian perspective about lovers....i had a completely different perspective on loved ones. lovers are the ones that i can do without...but i cannot do without my loved ones. these are the people that i will not walk away from....that have taught me so much about what it means to be loved, cared for.... these are the people that are my family. these are the people i see...and they see me. these are the people that love me, even when i am a complete shit....and i love them, even when they are being cranky.

yet, what would happen if a lover and a loved one were one and the same? that is the bazillion dollar question isn't it? wouldn't that be incredibly scary? wouldn't that mean actually risking everything emotionally? wouldn't that mean that you couldn't maintain that carefully built distance? wouldn't that mean that you wouldn't even want to have that distance? wouldn't that mean entrusting this person with enough power to completely annihilate you? wouldn't it mean that you wouldn't care because being with them pushes you to be the best person that you could possibly be?

yes. it does.

not interested? ohhhh....let me count the ways...

hmmmm.....so i actually wrote the below posting late last night and decided to sit on it until morning... i was filled with brim and fire for about an hour last night as i pounded on my keyboard. now, i'm quite a bit more mellow about the whole thing and find myself wincing a bit. i am absolutely firm in my desire to not want any connection with this particular ex....but perhaps i should have been a bit more diplomatic. yikes. oh well.

yet, as i promised to be open dear hearts...i decided to go ahead and post when i wrote last night. i suppose it shows how horrible i can really be when i feel like i am being cornered.

if this is your first time reading this post, and would like some background info...please see my original post here.

so here i am. warts and all....

___________

Title: not interested? ohhhh....let me count the ways...

it is rather mind-boggling to know that one has to repeat oneself.

dear hearts, if you received this note from someone....would you continue to push for contact?

"[name of ex],

I received your Facebook request and would like to let you know directly that I prefer to decline the request as well as any requests for direct contact in the future.

While we both care for similar people, I do not have any intention for you and I to have any connections outside of knowing the same people.

Ideally, I would like to be polite at certain major events (i.e., when/if [deleted name]/[deleted name]/[deleted name] decides to get married etc.) or parties that we may be in attendance at the same time as this would benefit those that we both care about.

Yet, I am not interested in pursuing any direct connection with you. This perspective will not change in the future.

Thanks."
i think that is rather clear don't you? i think i was almost polite...but very clear. i think most people would say to themselves "hmmm, maybe i should just not contact the foodie hunter anymore." i figured the best strategy was to confront this head-on as i don't want there to be any ambiguity re: what i want. i also wanted to squash any potential hidden agendas about being more than just "facebook friends".

why o' why would you want to be friends with someone who is not interested in being friends with you? the analytical foodie hunter is having some issues computing this.

well, apparently some people think very differently than the foodie hunter.

i won't post the entire ex's response on this blog which asked me to "think about" becoming facebook friends as a "small step" ...but i will post my second note, which was even more blunt...and well, to be frank and honest here....pretty mean...and i think obviously showed my annoyance at being pushed for unwanted contact....
"Ummm, I think my previous note was pretty clear. I see being polite as a necessity re: "parties that we may be in attendance at the same time". I've said this to you before.

Also, as I have clearly stated in my previous email, I have no intention for us to have any direct connection now and in the future. This perspective hasn't changed in 10 years and it is not going to change in the future.

I have no interest in you as a person.

Please do not contact me again. Further contact is unwelcome and unnecessary. I don't know how I could be any more explicit.

Thanks."
at this point, i was so annoyed i created filters on my email so that any email that arrives from this person is instantly deleted.

i mean, really, how many times does one have to say "i am not interested in having any connection with you"?

how are these notes fun to write? they aren't fun. it is rather un-fun to write notes asking people to not contact you. particularly for me...it brings up all sorts of unpleasantness.

i am tired. i am jet-lagged. i am weary. i have to be on yet another plane on friday morning. i am in no mood to beat-around-a-bush or be diplomatic with those i have no love or care for.

the most important thing in the world to me is to show those i love....that i love them. when it is my time to pass on, i want those that i love to know that i loved them and to be confident in the fact that i loved them. this is what is important to me at the end of the day.

yet, for those not on the list of loved ones...there is only so far i will be pushed.

for those who know that i would not welcome friendship with them and appear quite perturbed by this, i say "just deal with it. friendship isn't an obligation. friendship is a gift."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"you should marry paul"


these were BF's words of wisdom after seeing some of my pics from the pastisserie named paul.


love this place. i loved this place when i visited one in paris and i was absolutely thrilled to see a paul's near my hotel during my stay in london.

the most difficult thing about visiting paul's was deciding what to get...i mean, look at all of these choices.....


savory


sweet

they all looked so yummy.

what did i decide upon? i actually decided upon the fraiser (see top pic)....as it reminded me of a princess cake and i was actually thinking at that moment how much the heart-sister would really like to be here....and the princess cake is her favorite cake.

the service was also quite nice as well. sigh. perhaps paul's will cross the "pond" at some point....that would be superb.

moving forward

when i checked my email around 7ish this morning, i was a bit surprised by an email "facebook friend" request from an ex-lover. i think there is some irony here somewhere as i have returned from london and there i was, being contacted by the ex-lover that introduced me to london over a decade ago....and was the primary reason i spent so much time in london during that time. i was definitely thinking about this during a break from work today....sipping away at my hot beverage (see above) and chuckling to myself. the gods have quite a sense of humor. if you would have told me that this was going to happen years ago, i wouldn't have believed you. but then again, a lot of things have happened over the past few years that i could have never predicted.

my instant reaction to the email was "you've got to be shitting me" and decided to just ignore the message. yet, that is such a passive way of dealing with it, isn't it? and this isn't the first time he has contacted me with some sort of intent to re-establish superficial contact since the relationship ended.

quite a lot has changed in the decade or so. yet, some things about me have not. sometimes i think i should come with a warning label that says "contact me at your own peril" or... "do not ask me a question if you are not prepared for the answer". there are reasons why loved ones have said things like "you are a handful".

as i am older and a wee bit wiser, i do not regret the relationship i had with the brit. in fact, i know i learned quite a bit about brit culture, communications, and ways of thinking...and this was because of the relationship i had with the brit. these things, in turn, have assisted me in the job i have now....since so many people i work with these days are brits. maybe in the bigger scheme of things, this is why i think i was suppose to be in that relationship. so for that, i thank him.

yet, does this mean i have any intention of having ongoing contact with this particular ex-lover?

nope.

i decided to not be so passive.

so i sent him a direct note indicating that i'm not interested in establishing any connection and this perspective is not going to change in the future. which isn't exactly a "nice" or "diplomatic" thing to do....but i am so tired of being "nice" and why should i extend an effort to be "diplomatic" when i don't want to? i am tired, cranky, have a boatload of stuff to do, and re-establishing contact with any "ex" is not exactly on my priority list. so why not state clearly what i want and do not want? at one point in my life this person was important to me. yet, now he is not and i don't miss him. so why bother? there are people in my life now that i know i would try to move heaven and earth to ensure that i know them forever...in any capacity, but he isn't on that list. doesn't that sound absolutely horrible? but you know what? i'm very ok with it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

you need to make time...


"you need to make time" said BF to me today as we met for a quick tea by his house this afternoon. he was referring to how i wished i could have had more free time to see london instead of working until 1:30-2am in the morning. he is right, i should have figured something out....maybe next time. i suppose i could have stayed a couple of extra days...but i wanted to be home. especially since i'm taking off for orlando on friday. it makes me cringe just thinking about it. well, i'll deal with that later.

i landed back in the bay on saturday and have been trying to catch up on sleep, with loved ones, and work ever since.
i wasn't able to blog nearly as much as i thought i was going to. i had next to no free time in london. stolen moments consisted of ducking out to grab a quick bite.....and i manged to find a few gems here and there. one of the gems was a pho stall in a mall of all things....

i walked around the food court and took a peek at what people were eating. this isn't the typical mall food court.


when i saw a few southeast asians with bowls of bun bo hue....i thought, hmmm....maybe i should try that. so i ordered the bun bo hue from the pho stall.....my expectations weren't very high.....



but you know what? despite them using different noodles and not having the right accompaniments....the bun bo hue was actually pretty decent. surprise, surprise. over the next few days, i'll be blogging about the london trip....and i must admit that the food in london has improved DRASTICALLY since the last time i spent significant amount of time there. it was over 12 years ago when i spent quite a bit of time in london and all i wanted to eat was curry....and there was nary a veggie in sight that hadn't been boiled to death. alas, things have changed quite a bit. london has been added to the "cities that the foodie hunter could live in list".

Monday, January 12, 2009

quite knackered

i arrived into the uk on sunday evening. it was a long travel time and i was feeling "quite knackered" as i got to my manchester hotel. despite being a long journey (a total of 22 hours) it was pretty uneventful which is the best sort of journey to have. i flew on virgin atlantic for the first time in years. thankfully, i was in premium economy which allows for a decent amount of space. i took a peek at the regular economy and think those seats remind me of US economy seats. there goes my theory that non-US carriers provide more room in economy. i find that regular economy on lufthansa and sinapore airlines to be quite decent.

something i appreciated about flying on virgin atlantic which other folks may or may not appreciate was the fact that they give small glasses of wine. since my tolerance isn't too great, it was perfect for me.

the meal itself was much better than what one gets on us-based carriers (see first image) and i was actually able to have a bit of bailey's as an after dinner drink.

my theory was that if i had enough alchohol that i would be able to go to sleep. alas, when you sit next to a pregnant lady that has to go to the bathroom....a solid amount of sleep isn't as much of an option. DH laughed when i told him about that later on....after all, that is one of the reasons why you book premium economy...to give one a chance to sleep for a bit.

so i pretty much felt like the walking dead by the time i reached heathrow. one of the first things i did as i waited for my flight to manchester was buy some snacks.

pretty much the things i like about england food wise are a) candy, b) "crisps" aka potato chips, c) english breakfastst, d) indian food, and e) beer. as it is 12th of January in the UK....and almost 5am as i type this...i am pleased to say that i have tasted all of these. DH took me to a very yummy indian food place in manchester where i was able to have a "proper" curry. admittedly, i didn't catch the name of the place as i still resemble the walking dead.

i am incredibily tired right now. the day in the office was quite illuminating for so many reasons. i can feel myself, just now....finally begin to relax. DH will be picking me up in a few hours and then we'll be taking the train to london. something i've noticed....and you probably have as well...is how quickly i fall into "acclimating" to the culture here (aside from the jet lag...that is going to take a bit to acclimate to). my mannerisms change. my speech patterns change. my way of communicating changes. i fall into a rhythm of communication that is similar to speaking another language. although everyone here speaks "english" it is not "american"....not by any means. yet, by doing this....i am definitely not forgetting that i am american...in fact, it seems to be quite the opposite, actually.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

dessert tofu


so, i was slated to give a presentation to a member of the exec team this morning at 7:30am which meant that i was at my computer at 6am preparing for the meeting. yet, the exec sends a note at 7am indicating that he wants to reschedule for next week...when we are in london.

great. just great. not like i don't have enough things (work-related) to do in london anyway. btw: there is not going to be any "free time" in london. it is one of those work-the-moment-you-open-your-eyes at 7am in the morning until the-moment-you-close-them at 11:30pm kind of trips.

this is just one more thing in a crappy week so far.

i seem to be in a generally crabby mood since i started back at work. this may be due to the hourly changing deadlines are flying around everywhere. yet, this isn't because of the people i normally work with....these are people i normally do not work with who i think are a bit overwhelmed [massive understatement] and hence....aren't exactly used to running large scale events involving participants and presenters around the world and numerous time zones.

i had a feeling this was going to happen which is one of the major reasons why i truly wanted to relax over the holiday.

january is just going to suck. no doubt about it.

yet, on a positive note, i found out where to purchase premade sweet tofu! i've been looking for premade dessert tofu since i've returned from hong kong. i thought i would find it at nijiya market in the city, but they didn't have any the last time i was there. yet, i found some pretty large plain sweet tofu for sale at the sliverview market in oakland's china town.

i was pretty excited when i saw the container....as this was one of my favorite snacks to eat while i was in hong kong. given what happened this morning, i wanted some dessert.

so i scooped out a good portion of the sweet silky soft tofu into a bowl....



and added some amaretto agave syrup (note: agave syrup works extremely well with the sweet tofu)...


and dug in. it was perfect way to sooth the crabby foodie hunter. i guess break time is over.

"once more into the breach dear friends, once more"!

sigh.

i can only hope the sweet tofu lasts for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

authentic assumptions

a long time ago, when i was an undergraduate at a probably the most uber liberal university in the states....i was working on my honors thesis on post-colonialism and had way too many long winded conversations about authenticity, identity, and speaking from authority of indigenous experience. in those days, everyone in my class appeared to have the capability to debate various perspectives for hours and hours about the subject. i debated either side, depending on how annoying i wanted to be. fast forward quite a few years later, and when a friend and loved one was visiting the area on business, he introduced me to my first taste of aloe. we had just paid a visit to nijiya market and bought quite a few goodies to share. now, what makes this all somewhat ironic is that this loved one is white and grew up on the midwest.

somewhere, there are gods laughing.

good thing i am older, a little wiser, and quite a bit less rigid in my perspectives on authenticity...which means i can laugh right there with them.

i had seen aloe drinks for years in various asian markets...and even saw huge amounts of aloe dessert products in hong kong. yet, i had never tasted aloe. i had a difficiult time thinking of aloe as something to consume rather than something to help ease burns. yes, i realize these are very american assumptions. yet, aloe drinks are sweet, refreshing, and quite nice. there is a heartier "mouth feel" to it...and i don't just mean the bits floating around either.
the bits feel similar to drinking orange juice with a bit of pulp. the color of aloe drinks can vary a bit...depending on the brand. the most recent drink i bought from taiwan is completely clear...


yet, the japanese brand that JS introduced me to was very light green. if you haven't had a chance to taste aloe drinks...i'd recommend doing so. they are a nice surprise and may challenge some assumptions....in a good way.

Monday, January 5, 2009

for the heart sister

this posting has nothing to do with food.

received some tough news tonight. feeling a quite the mixture of despair, anger, and defiance....and not even soup, chocolate, or any of the usual treats are having much of an affect. yet, it is news i'd rather hear than not.

i want to and plan to be there. always.




Sunday, January 4, 2009

being present


when DH and i were traveling together earlier this year and he asked me why i was taking so many pictures of food....my response was that it allowed me to stay in the moment. this is kinda a big deal to someone who has been making their living on strategy roles for the past few years.

DH doesn't know about the blog and i still haven't told him.

yet, the conversation we had that warm humid southern day is something i recall pretty often. taking pictures and this blog have allowed me to "be present" in the moment. absolutely positively. on a personal front, being present as well as being more open are two things i have been working on for a while now. something that i have realized about myself is that it is very possible for me to be so focused on the ensuring the "future" that i can miss out on some important happenings in the "here-and-now".

now, i'm not saying that i'm going to live life only for the moment and not plan for my future....that would be, well, absolutely horrible as one of my life goals since i was, like, 7 years old was to be financially independent and never be hungry. i very much doubt that i will modify this ongoing goal until it is my time to pass on....and you know what? i'm pretty ok with that.

yet, being so zeroed in on the future career wise and not enjoying the moment is something i'm working on. my thinking about this particularly came into play after watching the angry monk at the roxie on friday night as well as running some errands in downtown sf on saturday. instead of doing my typical thousand-mile-stare on the BART, i decided to really look at people. i mean, really look at them....really see them. those of you who take public transportation on a regular basis whether it be the T, EL, BART, the Tube, the paris metro, the NY subway, etc...know exactly what i am talking about.

there are so many different types of people on public transportation...it is rather fascinating. there were a couple of interesting moments on the BART train...like i noticed a young man who was watching everyone else and journaling....


as well as realizing that there was an interesting shot..literally right in front of me...


things that i would have barely thought about and certainly not remembered a few hours later. yet, now i have immortalized these moments in print and in pictures.

then when i exited the train, i realized that i hardly ever take pictures of the city, despite having been born in SF and lived there for a few years. i think i have more pics of hong kong than of san francisco. odd isn't it? or maybe not so odd...to get so accustomed to the familiar and take it a bit for granted. even things like protests around powell seem everyday. my immediate reaction exiting the powell station and seeing the protest was, "oh great. how do i avoid this?" then i stopped myself and thought "perhaps like being on the train, perhaps i should really look and see what is going on..."





so i just hung out for a while....absorbing the happenings on the corner of powell and market...noticing the series of contrasts....and you know what? it was kind of an amazing corner that day. there was a mixture of so many things going on...there was a political demonstration....where no one was shot, beaten, or killed because of their criticism of governments or expressing their disenchantment or anger.

this is really amazing if you think about all of the countries outside of the US where these sort of demonstrations would not have even been possible. i have no comment on the content of the protest....my commentary is more along the lines of remembering that what we consider a "right" in our country is an undreamed for privilege within others.

at the same time, there are huge amounts of people wandering around doing their post-xmas shopping....



among the guy with the usual "jesus loves you sign" as well as the usual criminal elements that are closer to 5th street. now, i didn't take pics of that element as i think that would be borderline stupid. what dealer is going to want someone to take their picture when a buy is going down? yet, there is all sorts going on in this bustling corner of san francisco.

also, if you don't live in the bay area, did you realize something from the pics? did you realize the amount of ethnic diversity there is on a single corner? again, something else that is so easily taken for granted...and during my travels to the uk, europe, mexico, asia...heck...even other parts of the states...this is not very common.

after i had my fill of absorbing the nuances of the corner, i decided to grab a bite at a local thai noodle joint nearby and just think about the experience. instead of the roast duck noodle soup, i decided to curry rice noodle soup today....


which was rich, comforting, and quite filling. while i was slurping away, i thought about what it would feel like to leave this amazing place. i don't think it would be forever...maybe just for a little while...more of an extended visit in another country. not next year...but perhaps, in the future. see, can't take the long term strategizing/pondering out of me completely....yet, just thinking about it made me realize that i should appreciate what is here and now. so much of this blog....is me being present....trying to record my random musings, impressions, tastes, and journeys. i can only hope that a year from now that i will continue to try to be present in the moment and not take too many things for granted.