Monday, March 27, 2006

ChiquitaWonder's B-day Party

Yesterday, we celebrated Chiquita Wonder's birthday at my family's home. Aunt N. and L. were here as well. Mom made a Vietnamese rice noodle soup called "ho-diew." It has pork, shrimps and pork liver in it. It was so yummy I brought some to work today for lunch.

Aunt N. and L. got a durian cake as a present, and it was sumptuous!

We had lots of fun.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Curling is so much fun!

Last night, I went curling for the first time. My friends took me to the Avonlea Curling Club, located at Lawrence and Hwy 404. There were 8 of us, and it cost about 11 dollars per person. Every cent was worth it because curling is such an exciting team sport to play.

I have been a long-time viewer of Olympic curling, but I had never tried it before. Watching it on TV, I honestly couldn't tell what was so physical about the game. I thought it was the mental toughness that made it such a formidable sport. Last night, I was enlightened. And enlightenment did not come without a bit of pain and embarrassment.

At first, the hardest thing was not throwing the rock. It was staying on my feet...or, foot. When I pushed off, I fell 80% of the time. After I finally managed to stay on my feet somewhat, the next thing to master was how hard or how lightly to throw the stone. Several times, I was able to come within the circle, but because I was the first one to throw, my stones always got knocked out. Some of my opponents have impeccable aim! Other times, I had very good aim but I threw the stone too hard and it went past the target. Clare was the skip and she was great! At one point, we were down by 3 points, and by the time she was in line to throw, we had 3 stones in the target area. She was able to knock out our opponent's stone and win us those 3 points. In the end, however, my team lost by 1 point.

I really can't wait till the next time we go curling. I love it!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lord Jim, after 21 chapters

This is a novel that I started reading about 4 years ago. I had to put it down after a while because reading it was too taxing on the mind. It's also very hard to read on the subway while I'm holing on to dear life with one hand on the steel bar, and a 2.5lb book on the other.

Recently, I became ill with a very nasty cold, and Lord Jim was brought back to my consciousness. This may have been the only blessing that came out of this nasty cold - mind, it has lasted 2 weeks.

As I was reading it, I was reminded of why I love Conrad's writing so much. It's so poetically written, with so many delicious layers as those of a Napoleon pastry cake. One of my favourite chapters - not moments or scenes - is of Jim standing in front of the glass doors of Marlowe's hotel room. Beyond the glass doors is a veranda, and beyond that the oncoming dusk. At this moment, Jim is contemplating his failures, and what might become of him from now on. The sense of guilt, foolishness and helplessness was so grand that even the purplish sky was bloating in response to the pressures.

Dusk fell; I lit a candle with the greatest economy of movement and as much prudence as though it were an illegal proceeding. There is no doubt that he had a very hard time of it [...] He was rooted to the spot, but convulsive shudders ran down his back; his shoulders would heave as it seemed. The massive shadows, cast all one way from the straight flame of the candle, seemed possessed of gloomy consciousness; the immobility of the furniture had to my furtive eye and air of attention. I was becoming fanciful in the midst of my industrious scribbling. [...] Those who have kept vigil by a sick-bed have heard such faint sounds in the stillness of the night watches, sounds wrung from a racked boy, from a weary soul. He pushed the glass door with such force that all the panes rang: he stepped out, and I held my breath, straining my ears without knowing what else I expected to hear. [...] A feeble burst of many voices mingled with the tinkle of silver and glass floated up from the dining-room below; through the open door the outer edge of the light from my candle fell on his back faintly; beyond all was black; he stood on the brink of a vast obscruity, like a lonely figure by the shore of a sombre and hopeless ocean.

One of my favourite reading moments. I read as if my mind were suspended in the black sky, watching this man's turmoil roar silently into the night. Jim has become a friend to me. I celebrate his successes, and I salvage his moments of folly with imaginative hope for an imagined "imaginative" man.

Friday, March 10, 2006

It's March Break!!!


Last December, I started to feel like I was going to come down with the flu, or at least a cold. Usually, when the stress is lifted I get sick. I thought I would get sick over the Christmas holidays, but fortunately I didn't. In January, the "almost cold/flu" symptoms persisted, and I was waiting and waiting for it to strike hard. Last week, it did.

Last Wednesday, I felt very sick. I had a slight fever, and my throat was very sore. I decided to take Thursday off. That was good forethought because that night, I crashed. It turned out that I had to take Friday off as well.

This week, I had to go back to work, but my body had not fully recovered yet. All week, I've been waiting for this day to arrive, for this hour, 4:30, when I could leave work. Turns out, I didn't have last period to teach, so I left at 2:45! :D I got home by 4pm and took a nap. Boy, it feels good.

This March Break, I'm going to rest up and recover for the rest of term 1. Whee!!!