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Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Big Fat House

After a little mind searching I have decided much more meditation and Buddhist practice is in order. My house is getting fat--random purchases based on anxiety and holding on to old possessions that no longer inspire me. I am going to have a big garage sale and sell everything that I don't really need or that I don't truly adore. 
I have those guidelines for my wardrobe and similarly my eating habits so I am encompassing all my material possessions under the same guidelines. Otherwise my house and my life gets fat! I said to Miranda, I LOVE icecream but I don't eat it 3 times a day or I'd be fat. And I love 1950's furniture but I cannot buy every piece I find because it is a good price. And Miranda said, "Bingo! Your house is fat!" I don't want a fat house. As it is now I have 5 sofas. So as I said, I am going to sell all that I don't absolutely adore or need.

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Swimming Lessons

 Tabs and Nemi yesterday on their last lesson. They both passed :)
Pip and Artemis yesterday on their last leson. They both will be returning Seaturtles ;)

Mistaya is away this weekend with Auntie T and family in Vancouver. My mom and dad will be meeting them there for a fun weekend to celebrate my dad's birthday.

We had a great meal at Miranda's on Thursday. T and family were in town and Miranda made a most delicious meal of veggies and grilled chicken. John was out of town but will be back today.

And Tuesday (my girls, me and Miranda and her girls and Kyran) leave for camping at Sasquatch Provincial Park. A change of plans as Banff and Yoho were going to be cold and rainy. I got a cool lantern that can be solar powered or charged in the car.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Okanagan Beach Bash

At the beach with the M & J's clan. We had head standing competitions(Miranda is the champ) and log standing (I won).  I am sure John will appreciate how well I captured his winning technique ;) And take a look at Peter's pipes! I had to put that pic in because his arm muscles look so massive :)

Went to Inception last night. The air conditioning was up to high and Peter was jumpy all through the movie because he was cold. I weird movie. ACTION! I liked the premise for it--entering one's dreams and changing them. 

Took 6 little girls to Ramona and Beezus on Tuesday night. All was well until the cat died. Pip could not stop crying about it--she was devastated. Artemis didn't get it. She couldn't understand how the cat went from "sleeping" in its bed to being buried--she thought she missed the death scene. She kept shouting "How'd they kill the cat?" "Who killed the cat?" She was hilarious! But Pip, oh that Pip...the tears continued until the movie was over and then intensified and she became completely hysterical and irrational. She was crying so hard I could not calm her down (yes, she was exhausted and I shouldn't have taken her to the movie in the first place). Then she vomited all over me as we left the theatre. It was hysterical vomiting because she was crying so hard. Mist's friend Ashley was most helpful and whipped in a Cafe to get some napkins for me.

My mind needs more Buddha. I have to start regular meditations daily. I am a confused mess. I feel overwhelmed by my Masters red-tape and by my home chores. 

My girls have been naughty. They begged me to left them thrift at a local thrift shop. I didn't want to as I do not need anymore stuff in my home! I caved and sure enough, a 1950's pull out bed/love-seat in copper became my next purchase. It weighs about 1000 lb. and Peter refused to let me load it in the van and take it home (he met me at the thrift store  after his work)--he hates all the old furniture I collect.
I only payed $25 for it and since I already had the cushions at home and Mistaya really liked it, he caved.  But I refuse to let the girls talk me into thrifting again because I cannot fit anything else in my home and if I see vintage furniture for a low price, I cannot help myself!!! Help me Buddha! I'm a thrifting maniac! I told you I need more meditation--I am a mess when it comes to thrifting. There is a wonderful old trunk and stereo cabinet there from the 40's that I passed up though as I already have a similar stereo.

May stay home this long weekend as I have a big camping trip coming up with M and her girls and my girls to Banff and Yoho on Tuesday (maybe my nephew KW too). However, Monday is my birthday so I want to have local exciting family days of hiking, swimming and biking. I think I'd like a boat for Okanagan Lake--that way we could find private beaches.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Turtles and Fish

I thought you might appreciate some artistic shots I took of the fish pond and turtle pond at the Malaysian Buddhist Temple.

Just heard from friends whom we met in Malaysia that went on to the Perhentian Islands after us. They said Malaysia just enforced an all out ban on diving/snorkeling off the islands in the South China Sea as the coral was dying too rapidly (this includes the Perhentians). This I am happy about. Yes, we did some amazing snorkeling, but I would say that at least 75-85 % of the coral we snorkeled above was dead. And the tourist are so careless. Despite it being a marine park, I witnessed a group of Asian snorkelers near me pick up a big sea creature from the sea floor (it looks like a giant Elizabethan collar) and bring it to the surface to look at it. I was horrified and snorkeled to them to shout "You can't do that! Put that back! You're destroying the environment!" They ignored me completely. I was very upset but as we were far from shore in deep sea, and since they were snorkeling in life jackets and I was commando (no life jacket just my snorkel equipment), I decided to leave the situation as I thought how easy it would be for them to hold me underwater and no one would suspect a thing except a snorkeler drowned in the deep sea.

Back to Kelowna: Got a little too much sun at the beach today. A good day out though. My girls and I met up with Mist's buddy Ashley and cousins Nem, Artemi and their nanny Amy at Hospital Beach, aka BJ Beach--for reasons you can imagine as Miranda had to call the cops on her cell the other night to break up a couple carrying on on the sand right beside her family.

Very hot and dry in Kelowna. Fires break out daily and so far have been snuffed out quickly.

Mistaya passed her Bronze Medallion and we are very proud of her as she is a strong little swimmer. She went camping this past weekend with a friend and her family to Beaver Lake (in the mountains above Kelowna).
Tabs is happy as a lark to have so much time to play with her favorite cousin Nemi, and enjoying swimming lessons as well.

Pip is happy getting to play with her sisters and Artemi each day and taking swimming lessons with Artemis as well.
Pip likes to watch her sisters play a video game on the computer and she shouts out cheers for them nonstop. It sounds so adorable. It makes me laugh when I hear her little voice ringing through the house nonstop, "Cheer for Tabi! Cheer for Tabi! Run like the wind, Bull's-Eye! Run like the wind, Bull's-Eye! Cheer for Tabi! Cheer for Tabi!"--Bull's-Eye is the name of the little boat in the video game that Tabs races in the game.

Still much work to do on the degree front.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Malaysian Buddhist Icons

Things I learned in Asia:

-religious icons are fascinating, creepy and terrifying all at once. In fact, if there is a hell, I bet the roads are lined with them.
-Chinese buddhism is the disneyland of Buddhism--all bling.

-the Malay people are fun loving by nature.
-the big island in the Perhentian's (where we stayed) is virgin jungle and the monkeys are shy and sooo beautiful!
-Monitor lizards are huge and shy.
-Feng Shui is real and one shouldn't build a home without it.
-one doesn't need to eat much at all--ever.
-the equator humidity is rather nice.
-the world is far bigger than my mind map.
-North Americans are by far the most outgoing, friendly travelers.
-it is acceptable to be verbally aggressive in some cultures.
-it is acceptable to lie in some cultures.
-a hose is no substitute for toilet tissue.
-pan roasted peanuts are nice with rice.
-some sauces are so hot they go down the throat like comet and cause the inner ears to ache.
-tea is a wonder drink.
-the burka really is a violation against humanity.
-Asia is addictive--you just want to explore more and more of it.
-Haagen Dazs and french pastries never loose their appeal.
-aspartame is poison.
-tiny jellyfish get irritating rather quickly and one longs for jellyfish free water!
-Dutch really are a race of giants.
-Taipei, Taiwan is an amazing, gigantic display of lights and dark ocean from the air at night.
- waking up somewhere over the pacific ocean at night and looking out the plane window I saw the most amazing sight: the big dipper--HUGE and so close, I felt like I could touch each star.
-true cinnamon is Sri Lanka cinnamon, and only use the bark to season, it is only the oil that is good for you. The grated stuff we buy isn't true cinnamon and it is grated bark, which is toxic.
-there are plants in jungle (the flower buds) that when crushed and inhaled can cure the flu and cold ( I inhaled one and it is powerful!)-- a natural healer in Penang taught me much on a walk through the Penang spice garden.
- one can do without most comforts and distractions on this planet, but one needs music in the evening.

-Extreme sexism is traced to a filthy rich dictator who prays on the poor. Keeping the women in chains ensures the women's offspring will be illiterate and obedient. In fact, after living in an extremely sexist culture and then reflecting on the sexism, religion, government and royal family, I finally understand what extreme religious misogyny is all about and why it exists. It all stems from a desire for an elite few to maintain wealth and power. The way to go about that is to ensure your subjects are poor and weak and will not overthrow you. This is achieved by keeping the women in "chains" and away from education and society. It is women who educate their children. An illiterate woman raises illiterate children. These extreme misogynistic practices are designed to oppress an entire population. They know the only way to do that is to put the women in bondage. Below is a poem I wrote after finally getting why women are always the scape goats of an extremist regime.

The Fascist Dream

Chain the women
The people remain poor, uneducated
The King holds absolute power and wealth
Chain the Women
Religion a birth sentence
Death the only liberty
Chain the women
Illiterate mothers raise obedient soldier-sons
Obedient wife-daughters
Chain the women
Illiterates will not challenge his rule
The King keeps his crown
The King keeps his jewels
Chain the women
A fascist's dream

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Malaysian Jungle Plants

I thought the Elizabethan collar fungi was especially exquisite--Tamana Negara Jungle.

Suffering profoundly from jet-lag. How will I ever get up for the gym again? Not to mention I have my entire Master's degree hanging in the balance. I must get my act together and get back on the treadmill that is North American life.

I missed my daughters so much on my journey that all I wanted was to get back to my girls. And finally I am home with them again and I realize that I have many responsibilities to ensure our life together is good.
I need staff. I cannot possibly keep up the cleaning, renovating, cooking, wardrobes, lessons and leisure duties that keep a family home running. Peter is a man whose life is his work. Home is a place to crash. Thus I am responsible for all that is "home." It really is too much for one woman. Especially when the woman is also someone who is building a career. Mine is the generation without help. I need a housekeeper, handyman and gardener. I simply cannot do it all well. 
I am the mother who wants to be with her children--playing, exploring. I do not want to be chained to household chores and ignore my babes.
This is my constant struggle: to have a home that runs smoothly and have time to just be with my daughters and pursue a small place in the art world for me.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Creatures of Malaysia

Spider and stick bug from Taman Negara night jungle trek.
Spider and grasshopper from night trek.
Tree snake and millipede from night trek.
Leaf bug we rescued from a cat and honey bees in the jungle--they don't sting.
Taman Negara Butterfly and praying mantis (above).
Spot the sand crab and her den--Perhentian Islands.
2 inch ant--Perhentian Islands.
Blue Butterfly and back of (8 foot long) Monitor Lizards head in swamp--Perhentian Islands.
Snail--Perhentian Is.

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