Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

red tulips in our front yard

A glorious spring day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

When Water Falls

waterfalls at Pont d'Espagne

A must-see on your visit to Hautes-pyrénées is the Pont d’Espagne (Spanish Bridge). But nope, crossing this bridge doesn’t mean you’ll be in Spain. It was called that because it is located on an ancient mule path to Spain several centuries ago (source: Midi-Pyrénées: Le Guide Vert, Michelin Editions des Voyages, 2001). It is not so much the bridge that is extraordinary, but rather the great waterfalls cascading down the deep ravine with so much vigor and force that you are enveloped in a thick haze. The falls is much more spectacular when seen from under the bridge but it’s difficult to take a good shot because the mist can be so thick and it will only take a few moments before you are drenched, including your camera *regretful sigh*.

The picture above is taken before the tumbling water reaches the bridge. The water current here is not as strong as when it passes under Pont d’Espagne because the water falls gradually. But under the bridge, it is really breathtaking because the water suddenly drops into a sheer rocky gorge in tumult creating a thick foam and fog, creating an illusion of being inside a cloud. This water falls is where two long and big streams, gave du Marcadau and gave de Gaube, meet. So you can imagine the effect when these two main streams join and fall down the precipitous ravine under the bridge. It is really superb.

To reach the Pont d’Espagne, you can either use a cable car (but I think this is only available in winter) or walk to reach it. If you choose to walk, you can either take the paved main road (cars are not allowed from the parking area to the bridge) or take a rocky pathway (le sentier du monument Meillonin the woods which will bring you to the falls in around 15 minutes. Of course, we chose the latter *grins*.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Being In Love

Since I read “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck more than a decade ago, it has become one of my favorites. Well, at least, the section about love. To him, love is more than just a feeling. It is a decision. And I truly believe it to be so. Of course, as Peck said, falling in love starts with a certain amount of attraction to the other person --- it can be physical, emotional or psychological. We get the feeling of sweaty palms, pounding heart and fluttering butterflies in the stomach when we see or come near him/her. We seem to be floating in air when we are with them; our hearts seems to be saying their names with their every beat; we hear symphonies playing in the air whenever we see a glimpse of their face or their hands or even their shadows.

But true love really starts when all these bone-melting, overwhelming sensation has passed. It is when we wake up in the morning and found the toothpaste squeezed in the middle or we have to wait a long time to use the toilet or bathroom. It is when after a very long tiring day, we still have to listen to the other’s whining and complaining to things we can do nothing about. It is when we see the other day-in day out without the heady tickling sensation anymore … and still, we choose to stay with that person.Because love is more than the feeling of “falling in love”. It is when we are way past seeing him/her through rose-colored glasses and we are brought back to reality (and sanity).It is when we choose and decide to spend the rest of our lives with this other person. Then “falling in love” becomes “love.”

Love requires effort to stay even when that heady sensation is gone. The feeling of being lost in his eyes or the giddy sensation when he holds you close will wax and wane, just like the moon. It is impossible to always have and keep that “head-over-heels” feeling in the same intensity. The sun is not always shining in our part of the world --- it rises in the morning and sets at night. The tide recedes and rises periodically. It is so easy to leave when we don’t feel that “loving” feeling anymore. But staying put, even when this is gone, requires work on our part because by this time, we see things for what they are. We are back from cloud nine and realize that life is not a bed of roses. And if we choose to stay put, to stay with this person, then it would require working out the relationship not based on some misty rainbow hued concept of who they are but on who they really are, warts and all.

Yes, I believe in soul mates and I think everyone has one. But even if we are soul mates, it doesn’t mean we are clones (and I think even clones might have the same genetic make-up but they don't think in exactly the same manner.) Besides, being with one’s clone, albeit of the opposite gender, is not loving another person. I think it is a sign of being an egoist --- because you only love yourself and so you choose your “mirror reflection”. In the same manner, I’m not saying that a couple should be completely of opposite character. I believe that for any relationship to work, you have to have some common ground. A couple cannot stay together if one heads north and the other heads south. There should be at least a common direction even if the manner by which we try to go towards it is not the same.

Everyone is unique and different. Even identical twins have some differences and can grow into two distinct persons, no matter how physically alike they are. Hence, living and being with our soul mates still requires a certain amount of compromise, of accepting each other’s differences and the willingness to go the extra mile to understand and be with each other even if the circumstances proved to be trying.

Love requires making a choice and a decision. Not only to choose to stay together through ups and downs but also to accept the things we cannot change in our partner. Of course, we should be able to help them become the best person they can be. And I mean HELP and NOT IMPOSE because certain changes should be made out of one’s realization, decision and conviction; that it has to be done to keep the relationship. However, there are certain aspects of our selves that we cannot change. It is romantic to say that “I can change him/her with my love” or “I will change for you because…” But there are just some “unchangeable” parts of us and we just have to accept that. If we “force” them to change just so they would fit our expectations or the other way around, I guess the relationship is just a sham. I believe a couple should be together not because each other’s image responds to their “requirements” but because they see their true colors and decide that they can grow together while letting and helping each other grow as individuals.

Love requires respect from each other about that “sacred and untouchable” part of our selves ---- the aspect, which by changing, is synonymous to betraying ourselves. We have to respect each other's personal space and privacy. We should be able to nourish not only each other’s need for emotional/psychological support but also the need to be our selves once in a while. I don’t think this is being distant or being selfish. I think this is important so that we can have time to “enrich” more our selves in order to bring something new, to have a new perspective, to offer something “extra” to the relationship. In this manner, the relationship and the “love” get a novel, fresh angle. It is the same and yet different.

Falling in love is easy. But staying “in love” and keeping the “love” is another story because it requires doing something for the other person. It is going out of our comfort zone to reach out, to open ourselves and to include others in our lives. It consists of continuously helping and giving the other person what they need to grow without imposing, without basing it on false assumptions or conceptions of who they are. It is not easy, but those who have found real love could attest that the rewards are great. It’s not only about having a loving partner for a lifetime but also of becoming the best person you can be. A strong beautiful tree could and would not exist without allowing the seed to take roots, be given the necessary requirements and care, and all those extra little gestes while it is growing. The same it is with a person. So it is with a relationship. So it is with love.

(This entry is inspired by various texts I've read about "love" and "falling in love", particularly that of M. Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled" and words of wisdom imparted by my philosophy and theology teachers.)

Worldwide Tag and Circle of Friends Award

I was given this award by Maya. This post is really late but I'd like her to know that I'm very happy to be part of her circle of friends.

And since I'm trying to keep up with the tags I've been given, I'm also including in this entry another tag she passed on to me. It is called the Worldwide Link Love Benefits.

Join the Worldwide Link Love!Benefits of Worldwide Link Love!
1. Make new friends around the world.
2. Feel the Link Love.
3. Gain new readers and subscribers.
1. Copy from ~start copying here ~ to ~ end copying here ~ and paste it on your blog.
2. At the end of the list, put your name and the country your in, it doesn’t matter what’s your nationality just put the country where you are publishing your blog. Don’t forget to put links at your name.
3. If u have many blogs, you can link all of it, just make sure you post the same on each blog.
4. Tag eight (8) or more of your blog friends.
5. Tip for blogspot users: make sure you copy and paste the code in Compose mode.

Wanna join, and you can’t find your name on the list? Just leave a comment here.
Worldwide Link Love! Participants:

1. Julia (Philippines)
2. Catherine (Malaysia)
3. shimumsy(u.s.a)
4. Mitch (Philippines)
5. Hailey (Philippines)
6. Sexymom (USA)
7.Liza (Philippines)
8. Sasha (Philippines)
9. Tere (Philippines)
10. Simply The Best
11. The World Wide Web Addict
12. My Daily Nourishment
13. My Euro Travel and Adventure
14. Euroangel Graffiti (Germany)
15. Life and Me by Pinay Jade (Singapore)
16. Exploring Asia by Pinay Jade (Singapore)
17.Azillah (USA)
18.Maya (France)
19. Lareine (Tertium Quid)

I don't want to spoil the fun, but since I'm really late in posting this, I assume that those bloggers I would like to pass this on to have already done the tag. For those who haven't done it yet, feel free to grab this. You are more than welcome:)).

Friday, April 25, 2008

On Lakes, Falls and Mountains

one of the mountains in the Pyrenean range

One of our favorite destinations is the Midi-Pyrénées, a region in the south/ south-west of France. I believe it was given that name because it is where the central part (midi) of the Pyrenean mountain range (a natural barrier between France and Spain) is located. We like the department of Hautes-pyrénées in particular. (France is divided into regions and each region is composed of two or more departments.)

Hautes-pyrénées is where Lourdes is located. This is where the Virgin Mary made several apparitions to St. Bernadette and since then, has been the most known place of Christian pilgrimage). There’s also one very picturesque town which is part of the Way of St. James (La route de St.-Jacques-de-Compostelle, another Christian pilgrimage since the Middle Ages) . As it happens, this town named St. Bertrand de Comminges is also one of our favorite villages. It is a medieval town perched on a hill with narrow paved roads and fortified walls, a 5th century basilica, a very interesting cathedral with its carved wooden enclosure and cloister overlooking a valley.

There’s also the Pic du Midi-Bigorre (Peak of Midi-Bigorre) where an observatory is located. From this point, one can have a spectacular vast panorama of the Pyrenean chain. The access to the observatory is only through a cable-car, so if one has a problem with heights, better close your eyes while taking a ride:)). In any case, I think the view on top is worth a few moments of clammy hands and reeling sensation while inside the cable car.

The Pyrenean range is older than the Alps, so for those interested in geology, botany and/or zoology, this can be considered a haven. And it has mineral hot springs (which the Alps lack) so if you want to have a spa or water therapy (balneology or thermalisme in French), has several resorts which can cater to this need. For sports enthusiasts and in need of some challenge, this is also one of the places to go. The various passes (cols) will always test a cyclist’s stamina and leg power. In fact, I believe a Tour de France won’t be complete without passing through one of these famous cols. There are also many ski resorts where you can slide down the slopes with skis, snowboards or sleighs. If you’re into hiking during winter, you can also do that in winter with a snowshoe, a kind of web-like shoe contraption. They call the sport raquette à neige or snowshoeing.

For the rest of the year, the Pyrenean Mountains is there for you to discover through several trails ranging for occasional hikers to professional ones. There are even some tracks appropriate for families with young kids. The Parc National des Pyrénées Occidentales (National Park of Western Pyrenees), one of the nine national parks of France, is in Hautes-pyrénées. And adjoining it on the eastern side is the Massif de Néouvielle, another natural reserve.You can also find the highest peak of the Pyrénées on the French side in this department. Several cirques or semi-circular sheer cliffs mostly covered with snow characterize the southern boarder, with Cirque de Gavarnie as the most famous. It may be far from the sea but you won’t miss water that much for it has several gaves (streams) and cascades/waterfalls of various sizes that will take your breath away.

There are also many high altitude lakes which are of a mesmerizing blue. You can even do fishing in these lakes, although I believe you have to have a license to do that. Well, even if you can’t, the panorama that will greet you upon reaching one of these lakes is enough compensation.

Well, I don’t work for the tourism department of Haute-pyrénées, but I really couldn’t help sharing these things so you’ll have an idea why we love this place. And to add to the breathtaking beauty of the area is that you can visit them all for free (except for the observatory and the ski and spa resorts, of course)! So it means you can allow your eyes feast on the enchanting charm of the place without having to shell out money *wide grin*. In exchange, I believe it's only fair to respect one unspoken rule: don't throw or leave any non-biodegradable products in the vicinity. In this way, everyone can enjoy the wonderful work of nature that is preserved by this one simple act:).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Daisies and April

common daisy (bellis perennis) in our backyard

Many consider the common daisy as a weed. I don’t really mind them, as long as they don’t grow in our flower and vegetable plots *grins*. I appreciate the note of bucolic charm they give to our lawn. Together with dandelions, they create a tableau of idyllic beauty, making you think of luncheon picnics in the countryside, of lazy afternoons under a shade, of sitting on the giant roots of a tree and letting your mind be free from worries, even for just a second.

These clusters of tiny white daisies (the kind we have gives flowers of around 2 cm in diameter) in our backyard look so charming with dandelions that I find it hard to let my husband mow our lawn. Just imagine a stretch of green grass interspersed with small white and yellow multi-“petaled” (they are actually florets--- small flowers) blossoms on a bright day with the blue sky as the finishing touch. I’m tempted to put on a summer dress and a straw hat; sit on the grass surrounded by these flowers and read a book with my back against a tree. I know it sounds too theatrical, but I couldn’t help being whimsical when I think about it.

I think it would be a good idea to let them grow since we don’t have many flowers in spring. Besides, we got them for free and they grow abundantly every spring. We don’t even have to take care of them: they are quite robust and once they've taken roots, they can mange to grown on their own. Even if the flowers close when there’s no sun (which is a bit annoying because it would be nice to see them on a dull gray day --- I find the white flower heads with their yellow disk in the center a tonic against having a low-spirit. And they add a rural charm in your lawn on a clear, warm day.

Now, I just hope the not-too-cold-yet-sunny weather we have for the past two or three days will continue. It appears that winter is still making its presence felt. Come to think of it, it seems that’s the trend these past years. With the climatic changes we’re having, I won’t be surprised if the four seasons we’re having right now will just be a thing of the past: we’ll have a long season of drought or a long season of rain and flood. In fact, it’s actually happening in some parts of the world right now. So I believe we should all do our own part in preventing this to from continuing to happen. Even a small gesture will do. After all, the seemingly trivial act of around 6. 5 billion people will turn into a significant deed when put together.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

waves breaking on rocks off the Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast), Brittany, France

I believe one of the most spectacular views of the sea is when a rushing wave breaks on rocks and turns into a fine spray of water. There’s an exhilarating feeling when you see the wave coming and crashing into the boulders and a billow of mist and foam results from the impact. It must be an overwhelming experience to stand on one of these rocks, waiting in excitement for the approaching wave yet uneasy with the thought it might carry you to the sea… then finally feel it pounding on the rocks and enveloping you in a haze of fine water droplets.

But I’m not that much of a dare-devil, so I just content and will keep on contenting myself in watching it from a distance :))

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bluer Than Blue

grape hyacinths in our front yard

I like blue. If you don’t like blue flowers, I think grape hyacinths will convince you to appreciate them. And I find them bluer than blue. In addition, these bulbs are easy to grow. Just some soil (they grow in all types), water and you’ll have a mass of blue in your garden come springtime. They multiply on their own easily and are robust bulbs which can withstand winter, so you’ll have a growing blue patch of blossoms in your garden every year. The flowers last a long time making them truly excellent plants for spring when there aren’t that many flowers yet to give color to your garden.

If you try to narrow your eyes into a slit, a cluster of grape hyacinths resembles a small pond of water with their leaves as aquatic plants breaking out of the water’s surface. With a soft sigh of the wind, they wave gracefully in the air… like ripples of water mesmerizing you into a kind of trance, undulating with each gust of the wind. Its blueness invites you take a dip and immersed yourself in its calming swell, enveloping you in a soothing embrace.

They also provide a good backdrop for a bunch of daffodils or yellow tulips for their relaxing color is a good contrast to the warm hue of the latter. They also attract insects, so they are not only useful for pollination purposes but also animates your garden. It is said that in some part of Italy and Greece, the bulbs are eaten. Well, I think I would prefer to plant them so I will have my own little piece of blue haven even on a gray day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Emma, Harriet and Jane

is deemed to be Jane Austen’s finest novel.I wouldn’t delve into how this is so; for I think there are many literature enthusiasts and critics who can discuss this matter better. What I find personally interesting is that the characters of the novel --- Emma, Harriet and Jane seem to be description of some people we meet in our everyday life.

In the novel, Emma (the heroine) is a bright, pretty, rich, independent young girl whose only problem seems to be a lack of (or very few) purpose in life or something to work for. Out of her idea to be a match-maker, she takes in Harriet --- a pretty, impressionable and if I may add, not very bright-but-eager-to-improve herself young girl as her protégé. Emma might truly want to help, but it seems that part of it is due to boredom and a sense of high opinion of herself. In the process of “grooming” Harriet, Emma only confused her ward instead of helping her find her true self.

Emma longs to have a companion who matches her intelligence, wit and skills. This someone happens to be Jane who came to live with her aunt in Emma’s town.We would suppose they should get along well for they are almost at par in mental aptitude and accomplishments except that Jane doesn’t have the financial security that Emma has. But Emma, instead of liking Jane, becomes jealous of her because despite the latter's socio-economic status, she's Emma's equal in everything. Adding the fact that Jane is reserved and not easily influenced no matter how Emma goads or sways her way of thinking, she becomes the target of Emma’s malice.

But of course, in the end, everything went well for all the main characters in the novel. After all, Emma is, in all honesty, fundamentally good. She’s neither categorically manipulative or vindictive. Her intentions are not totally selfish or cold-hearted. It’s just that boredom and jealousy clouded her vision of Harriet and Jane. She never really tried to know them before judging and/or “helping” them. Hence, her meddling and interference resulted to misunderstandings, misconceptions and false expectations. However Emma, despite being what we would now call a “spoiled brat”, knows how to accept her mistakes and make efforts to right them before things are too late. So, errors were corrected, pretensions were dropped and they found their true selves and what they really want and need in life.

But that’s in the fictional world. Sad to say, there are some Emmas in this world whose malice, jealousy and high opinion of themselves are so deeply seated in their psyche that they could not see the errors in their ways. They are so self-centered that they forget that people are not pawns to be used or manipulated to get what they want, to spite and destroy those they don’t like or just to emphasize their self-importance. To the Janes of this world who do not easily give in, the Emmas malign and vilify them. What’s more dangerous is that they use ruse and deceptions to do this. They use the Harriets, hiding behind the mask of a Good Samaritan, pretending to “help” for the end purpose of using them to prove their authority and superiority and to manipulate them into ruining the Janes without implicating themselves.

I’m not saying this is how the world has come to be. I still believe that there are many out there who are genuinely decent and kindhearted, whose willingness to help is not borne out of spite but out of true goodness and a desire to help… that they know how to discern authentic concern from false ones… that they cannot just be manipulated for they know their own mind… that they are able to see through their misjudgments and act without hesitation to put their views and opinions in the correct perspective.It’s just that when we are so caught up in what’s going on around us, maybe we should take a step back from time to time to see the scenario with fresh, objective eyes. Perhaps, there are Emmas, Harriets and Janes among the people we are dealing with. If that is so, then maybe it’s up to us to guide them accordingly, without judgment and self-righteousness like Mr. Knightley (another character in the novel) to Emma. If we find ourselves becoming like Emma, perhaps we should have enough humility to accept that we are overstepping our bounds and mend our ways in order to truthfully assist others. If we turn out to be Jane, I guess it’s time to come out of our reservations to give others a better perspective not only of who we are but also of the difficult situation other are finding themselves in. As for being Harriet, maybe we should try to know ourselves better so we cannot be easily swayed or influenced against what we truly believe in.

Feed Me Up Tag

I was tagged by Rojoy (sorry for posting this a little bit late)

You get these benefits in joining this linker chain:
  • You can get more web traffic.
  • You can increase your blogs' Technorati authority.
  • You can increase your blogs' feed subscribers.
  • You can get more back links.
  • You can gain more friends around the world.

Here are the Rules:

Copy the list below.

Place your Blog's FEED Link (i.e. You blog's link for its RSS/Atom feed, not the actual site) after the list. If you have more than 1 blog, feel free to add them all here!

After placing your blog’s feed address/es, you must tag 5 or more bloggers that is not yet in the list, this is to keep the ball rolling.

Also, you must subscribe to the feed of the blog who tagged you. You may include subscribing to another blog of your choice from the list.
  1. Kenneth - A Stellar Life
  2. filipinolifeabroad
  3. Tina
  4. Dabawenyang Iska
  5. Bestfriend's blog
  6. PinayLoveStories
  7. Allen's wifey
  8. allen's darling
  9. allen's sweetheart
  10. filipinolifeabroad
  11. Sweet temptation
  12. Rojoy's Daily Update
  13. Roger Married With Children
  14. Roger Just My Opinion
  15. Buzzybee Mom
  16. Mommyjoy Of Two
  17. Rojoy's Kitchen
  18. Lareine (Tertium Quid)
  19. /*add your URL here*/
I'm passing this tag to cinderella, cherryl, tweety, portia and maya.

Friday, April 11, 2008

In Solitude

a view of the sea at Oostende,Belgium

Aside from impressionist paintings, I’m also fascinated by Edward Hopper’s works. The above seascape in Oostende, Belgium reminds me of Ground Swell, in display at Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC). Looking at Hopper’s painting, I can feel the boat tilting on its side, the three men’s gaze riveted towards the floating object, the wind blowing the sail taut. I’m not an art critic but one thing I like about Hopper’s paintings is the play of light and shadow in his works.This is not that evident in his painting I've just cited. But if you’ll get a chance to see some of his other works, you’ll know what I mean.

As exemplified by Ground Swell, his work is characterized by “neat well-defined” strokes (for lack of a better term). It is something that I’m really fond of --- like one of those "between wars" commercial posters, which is not surprising as he worked as publicity/commercial artist. I love his use of colors --- even if he used warm hues, the painting still manages to have a calming effect… well, at least for me. And in a way, he did not only capture the colors, the light and shadow, the movement. He was able to seize the mood of the scene, the emotion haunting each figure, inviting you to take a part in the scene.

By looking at his works, you somehow identify with the human figures depicted. I think this is the reason why his paintings are so fascinating. You’re not just a by-stander watching them through a transparent barrier. You are invited to take part in the scene portrayed in the canvas. In Ground Swell, you find yourself in the boat, feeling the wind on your face, swaying as the boat careen with the sea swell looking with their eyes, listening with their ears, perceiving things around with their minds.

Ground Swell by Edward Hopper taken from
(look for Edward Hopper in Wikipedia and click the link to this image)

His works also prompts your imagination to create personalities, conversations, stories about the scene and the painted “characters.” In the painting above, the man on the foreground might be thinking, “I hope I can steer this boat before that bell hits us.” The man in black might be admiring the woman, wondering how he can make her his. The woman’s gaze might be flickering between the sky and the bell, or might be focused on the man’s torso (the half naked man in front of her might be the boat’s captain based on his bronzed body). Your imagination is summoned to play a part in the painting, hence, involving you more. It’s like, Hopper is telling a story by giving you the rundown and feel of the plot. But he’s not the sole teller. In his paintings he asks you, “what do you suppose he’s thinking”, “what do you envision to happen next,” why do you think he’s looking like that”, etc. His works allow you to be an active participant and not be merely a “listener” or a viewer.

In several of his paintings, there are groups of people who seem to be intimate or discussing or looking at the same thing. But if you look closely, you see that each personage is lost in his own thoughts. I guess this depicts a truth in life --- that of being alone in the crowd. Whether we are truly alone or not doesn’t negate the reality of the feeling of solitude. We do feel alone at times. I believe everybody goes through this phase at least once in their lives. What we have to keep in mind is the paradox that we are not alone in being alone. And I think this is one of those fine invisible threads tying humans together.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Love and Mirror

-You don't use make-up, do you?
-What's the point? I'd still look like me, only in color.

Gregory (Jeff Bridges) to Rose (Barbra Streisand)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)

It has been more than a decade since I’ve seen “The Mirror Has Two Faces”.But every time it crosses my mind, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s a romantic comedy based on the 50’s French film with the same title (Le Mirroir à Deux Faces in French). In this 1996 Hollywood version, the story revolves around two middle-aged Columbian University professors who are both searching for a life partner. The problem is they have different expectations about married life. Gregory, a math doctorate, wants an “intellectual” and platonic marriage due to his idea that physical attraction complicates a relationship (as he deduced from his past relations with the opposite sex). Rose (a Ph.D. holder in literature), on the other hand, wants romance aside from the “meeting of minds.”

I don’t want to spoil the movie for you (if you wish to see it) by telling you the circumstance of their meeting and how they agreed to get married despite their seemingly diverging notions about marriage. I said “seemingly” because I believe they both want the same thing --- understanding, respect coupled with physical attraction. I suppose their true matrimonial notions are just clouded by their hang-ups about relationships combined with their own eccentricities.

The premise of their marriage is that it would be like any other married couple except that it would be strictly nonphysical. However, aside from being in tune with each other on an intellectual level, I think they found each other physically attractive. This is more evident with Rose who dreams of fireworks and symphony in the air when she looks at her partner. With Gregory, I think in some way, is in turn also physically attracted to plain, “make-up less” Rose --- he wasn’t aware of this, of course, what with his angst about physical contact .And I believe this is proven in the end. They were able to somehow resolve their issues and they realized that they truly love each other --- both in the physical and intellectual level; make-up or no make-up *grins*.

Some critics don’t like this movie (they think the film is a bit overboard about the ugly duckling-turning-into-a-swan theme, especially with Streisand in the lead role), but I really like it. There are many funny one-line punch (well, make that two-to-three punch lines) and comical conversations. But despite the humor in them, I find that there are underlying truths. And I believe them.

In addition, I love Rose’s wit and candid repartee. She’s intelligent although a little bit preoccupied with her looks(well, I couldn’t blame her, what with her beautiful sister and mother); pragmatic while still holding on to some childhood fantasies; warm but can be scathing at times. I don’t have a doctorate degree in literature (though I wish I have *sigh*) but I can identify with Rose. We have some idiosyncrasies in common. Perhaps, that's why I like this film (and maybe the reason why, after all these years, I have a clear memory of it). And I think I would have loved to meet Gregory: geeky in a handsome way; his troubled mind as opposed to his mathematical personality is like a game of tangram; he has weird ideas but not that bizarre to make you look for the nearest exit door.

And their first dinner date is so memorable --- they talked about prime numbers!!! And when Gregory talks about the beauty of sound waves created by an orchestra, he reminds me of an incident when my husband and I are still on our bf/gf stage. We saw this big chunk of snow chipped off from a cliff plummeting down a deep ravine.My first thought was “Good thing we’re not down there :).” (Well the access there is closed to the public, so there’s really no danger. But still…). Well, guess what my husband-then-bf said --- “Look at all that energy!” And I was like “Huh?!” I would never really forget that, especially with this admiring look on his face as he looked at the scene.

I would love to see this movie again. It's worth it (I guess) because aside from the amusing scenes, there also some touching ones, like when Rose and her mother was talking about beauty. I don’t want to sound cliché but real beauty comes from within. And attraction can go beyond the physical… even on a first date *winks*.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

our forsythia during early spring

A note of cheerfulness and warmth on a clear blue day.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Plant With No Name

-What is your name?

-No, I think its better not to bother with names.
-How can I thank you if I don’t have your name?
-You just did.

Conversation between Tristan (James Franco) and Isolde (Sophia Myles)
Tristan + Isolde (2006)

I don’t know the name of this plant. I don’t even remember if it was already here when we moved in (the former owner had planted many trees and shrubs when they lived here). Or perhaps some bird, in its journey to a quiet sunny place, deposited a seed of it in our yard.I thought it was just one of those shrubs--- green and lush in summer, bare and vapid in winter.

But come springtime, its arching branches produce clusters of tiny white blooms. What I find charming is the flower’s five disassociated petals. They are delicately attached to the peduncle, forming a star. One strong gust of wind or a careless stroke of hand will create a billow of white soft haze, permeating the air with its faint sweet scent. The flower’s central part is rimmed by a dainty blush of red with almost translucent stamens capped by bright powdery pollen. Despite its fragility and tiny size, it is a fetching flower. In fact, I feel that its frailty and minuteness combined with its fine redolent smell add to its grace and appeal.

Since I like this shrub, maybe I’ll try to multiply them using cuttings (seeds might take a long time). It gives flower before leaves, like forsythia and plums, so maybe they would require the same care. The problem is I haven’t tried doing it with any of the plants I mentioned *rueful grin*. But well, it would be something to do in autumn :) I hope I would neither forget nor be too lazy to do it. I happen to have quite a looooong to-do list for spring and I haven’t even reached half of it. So I don’t know for autumn *chuckles *. But anyway, it’s still some months from now, so we’ll see :)) *cross fingers*

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dum Vita Est, Spes Est

a denuded tree in our backyard

One can only admire such tress which can withstand the vagaries of winter.Inside their seemingly lifeless trunks and branches, there lies a vein of life protected from the intemperate weather and the whims of the harsh, cold season. Pulsing… waiting… readying to show its resilience and splendor at the first sign of a clement weather.

Maybe that’s why we do not grieve when they shed their leaves… because a new set of vibrant green will replace them. We do not mourn their dormancy… for we know they’ll be full of life in spring. We do not despair for their apparent unattractiveness… in that they’ll turn into a thing of beauty and vitality come next season.

I believe this is a depiction of hope. No matter how dark and hopeless things seem to be, there is always a possibility of getting through it. Perhaps, we may not be as victorious or jubilant as we expect to be. But at least, it gives us the conviction that we have enough strength and courage to make it… as long as we keep whatever it is that we hope for alive inside us. Like in the Barry Manilow song “ I made it through the rain”:

We keep the feelings warm
Protect them from the storm
Until our time arrives

Then one day the sun appears
And we come shining through those lonely years

I made it through the rain
I kept my world protected
I made it through the rain

I kept my point of view

I made it through the rain

And found myself respected
By the others who
got rained on too
And made it through

As the old adage says, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to remember that to reach the end of the tunnel one doesn’t just sit around and wait. One has to move towards it… even if it means doing it one step at a time. It’s not a question of doing it fast or slow… everybody and everything has its own rhythm. What is important is we make that first step towards it. It maybe difficult… but just think of a child doing his first step --- one foot forward and then the other. We may stumble and fall. However, as long as we keep on doing it, we’ll surely reach the end of that tunnel. And maybe along the way, we’ll get some help --- to guide and to accompany us in attaining that seemingly elusive light of hope.

Dum vita est, spes est... While there is life, there is hope....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

Off the coast of Marinduque, Philippines

I find this rock off the southwestern coast of Marinduque, Philippines a beauty to look at. It looks hostile and foreboding but in fact, with some rain, a little sunshine and a gust of wind carrying those tiny, featherweight seeds, this uninviting rock has been turned into a microcosm of plant life. And with plants and moss growing, next comes the insects, birds and a number of small mollusks creating a small universe of flora and fauna.

The rock might look isolated but that’s not entirely true. It is still connected to the nearby isles by the sea water lapping at its feet, the fine sand underneath, and the comings and goings of winged creatures from the rock to the islet and vice versa. I suppose this is the same with humankind. No matter how isolated or apart we think we are, we are still connected to other people and things around us. The truth is, everything is connected. We just have to see things with understanding, listen with honesty and feel with humility what the world wants us to see, hear and perceive.

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