Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises

In case you haven’t read this yet, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises is set in Paris in the twenties, told in the first person by the protagonist (Jake) who is an American expat-writer for a newspaper based there. Really what I got from it was mainly about how the Americans lived in Paris, spent their American money, hung about the world's liveliest city, drank Pernod among others and mingled with their fellow expats. In other words, it's a travelogue of sorts with an undefined love story in the mix. There was this woman - Lady Ashley who is so confused as ever with whom to love, she is the object of everyone’s affection that’s mentioned in the book and hooks up with all of them! Just about. Was there really a woman that existed with this much abandon in the 20’s? I mean, my mother wasn’t even born at this time yet.

The book begins to capture me only at Chapter 10 when Jake and his friend Bill treks to their fishing destination in Bayonne, France and when it did, I never placed the book down until it was done. After France, then comes Spain and things really liven up when everyone rendezvous in Pamplona for the fiesta. There are love triangles, (love pentagons really), more drinking and this specimen of a bullfighter named “Romero”. How Hemingway describes the Torero's moves made me feel as if I was the wind that passed in between the bull and the fighter's body as he executed his forms in pristine ways during the bullfights. One will feel that they know everything there is to know about Bullfighting after reading this novel.  I believe there’s more of this in another Hemingway book named, “Death in the Afternoons” which I’m going to have to check out now because of this chapter. Fishing too is written with dedication even more than the love story angle, and drinking - from subtle wines to the wicked, wicked Absinthe is a staple, I was surprised there was no extra chapter just on liver cirrhosis. 

Seriously though, on a recommendation note, go ahead and read this if you like, it’s a classic in American Lit and even if you’re not into this sort of thing, it’s a travelogue at best and that kind is one of my favorites.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

TIL: I Am A Canaanite?

from Google images

The Table of Nations that trace our ancestry all the way back to Noah has indicated that I descended from Canaan.

Per said table, the remaining 4 men that survived the deluge (Noah and sons Shem, Ham and Japheth) were commanded by God to reproduce and spread out. Ham's sons were: Mizraim, the one that settled in Egypt; Cush, the one who went to Ethiopia and north Sudan; Phut, who headed for Northwest Africa whom the Berbers of Morocco and Tunisia came from; and then Canaan, whose descendants ventured to Sidon, Gaza in Israel and even further away. Two of Canaan's sons, Khittae (Anglicized to Cathay) settled in North China via the Kyrgyzstan area and Sinite (the etymology of “Sino”) laid stake in mainland China.

Anthropologically speaking, my particular race (Southeast Asian) belongs to the Austronesian race of people which comprises the Formosan (Aboriginal Taiwan), the Malayan and Polynesian groups. Propagation of the Austronesian folks indicate that homo-sapiens migrated from mainland China, spread by sea through Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Polynesian Islands through Hawaii, down New Zealand town, and all around and back again like the hokey pokey. So technically, Russell Crowe is sort of my brother from another mother? Haha.

from Google images

But I digress, back to subject of the “Table of Nations,” the Bible writes that Ham “saw the nakedness of his father” when Noah became drunk with wine. What ever Ham did, it incurred the wrath of his father and caused Noah to curse Canaan, his grandson; it is implied however, that Ham and all his lineage is the subject of this obloquy, to my chagrin. All throughout the Book, Canaan fights with Israel again and again and upon establishing my Canaanite origin, a dichotomy occurs in me with this knowledge. Thankfully, I was born and am living at the time when redemption is not only nigh but in fact, has come! It also makes me thankful that I believe how I believe because with who I refer as my Redeemer, everyone, whether coming from Shem, Ham or Japheth through all this time, we can all be one in Jesus, no enemies, just friends! Peace yo.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The TED Talks

TED talks have been prevalent in streaming video outlets for a few years now, but I've only delve into it recently. I like it because it features real people who share their experiences and expertise with the objective to inform and/or make life better to all who would hear. 

Technology, Entertainment, Design, is what TED stands for; their motto is “Ideas Worth Sharing,” and it's concept is to feature anyone who has something worthwhile to share and allow them to do just that for 18 minutes. The speakers impart their field of expertise to an audience held in a closed venue. 

While past speakers have included glossy personalities like Bono, the Clintons and so on, it's really the real and salt of the earth people I pay attention to. My top 3 fave talks so far are:
Dr. Amit Sood, a medical doctor doing his darn-est to steer people away from stress; Nick Vujicic, a man born without limbs but has more sense of hope than most people I know and Jon Jandai, a farmer from Thailand who quit university to prove that we don't need a degree to achieve the nuclear dream of owning property, having good health and ease in life. 

A bloke named Richard Wurman began TED, and he was succeeded by Chris Anderson who took it global. They award choice speakers with prizes but that to me is already adding more ingredients to something basic like freshly-squeezed orange juice. Many if not all are found on You Tube and subjects vary from technology, lifestyle, science, cuisine, mathematics, you name it. Check this out why don't you? if you haven't already, there is a “talk” with your name on it I'm sure. “TED Talks” is your oyster. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Having a Happy Brain

First, something noteworthy about your brain:

"The pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness." ~ Dr. Amit Sood, M.D. 

This post is from someone who - just earlier in the day banged her fist on a table in front of delivery boys who failed to deliver an order of important items for her business, therefore, this is for me more than anyone else. Admitting that I have anger and frustration issues is not a problem, failing to deal with it is. Sometimes I am at the end of my tethers and I come up with excuses for anger such as: cyclical hormones, lack of sleep or wonky chemical receptors. People give me a pass sometimes, but really to be candid, these are hapless excuses. 

All this prologue, led me to the work of a stress-free guru type medical doctor named Amit Sood. Dr. Sood postulates that negative events cannot be avoided in life, it would rather be better if one will have the emotional resilience to deal with the bad things we will encounter. Emotional resilience he says, means having positive emotions and recovering quickly from negative emotions. The 5 principles in developing emotional resilience are: 

~ Gratitude: recognizing and being thankful for blessings.
~ Compassion: taking note and being empathetic to the suffering of others and doing something to alleviate it.
~ Acceptance: this essentially translates to making lemonade out of lemons, when there are no strawberries for strawberry shortcake. Just kidding. But you get the gist.
~ Meaning: meaning focusing on who you are, why you are here, what this world means to you.
and lastly,
~ Forgiveness: even if, even if, you don't love me anymore. Sorry, couldn't help it. Forgiveness to Dr. S. means accepting another person's humanness (is this a word?) and recognizing we are all fallible and vulnerable to ignorant thoughts and actions. 

I like it that these solutions from Dr. S. has spiritual connotations even if he, for all intents and purposes works at the very secular Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Minn. He is not reinventing the wheel by any means, merely reinstating that the brain (a physical thing) is very closely wired to our mind, (that intangible aspect in the brain) and paying attention to the spiritual is just as important and addressing the physical.  In many cultures, anger is after all is a grave sin. Yes it is grave, take my case for example, I still feel bad about what I did in front of the delivery boys many hours after. 

We all wish we had more control of our emotions, minds, lives and world around us and so on, but how? I may give Dr. Sood's study a tumble and use it like the ones of the many I have tried before. This and massage, lots of sleep and more prayers from people who I will ask to do just that - for me.

Monday, October 5, 2015


photo from Google images and LOL!

What is it about Monday? why is it relentless in this way? Well, I believe it's because this is the only day out of the 7 days created (per my Bible) that wasn't blessed, in fact Monday was robbed of it's blessing by Tuesday, Tuesday has a double blessing! Is there an Orthodox Jewish wedding that happens on a Monday? Just asking.

The pagan origin for the names of the days even gives us a hint. 
  • Sunday is obviously a day for the "sun" a sunny disposition - woo!
  • Tuesday, Mar's day, yes it's for the war god but we've already conditioned ourselves for action by this day haven't we? hence Tuesday doesn't clip us in the jaw as Monday does.
  • Wednesday, hump day - it's Mecredi, so says the French, Mercury's day, the god of commerce and travel, my interpretation of it is that it's supposed to be a swift day because it will catapult us to Friday, and in my view it does! 
  • Thursday - Thor's day, if said fictitious god  really looks like Chris Helmsworth, then Ok, he can have it, also, it is a segue to Friday so who can hate that?
  • Friday,  it's the last day of the the work week (typically), it's Freya's day, Aphrodite to the Greeks, mortals rendezvous on this day after work, they unwind, couples have date night, it signifies that there is reprieve from all the madness!
  • Saturday - it's for Saturn, the mythical dude who believed he ruled the Earth during an age of happiness and value, sure, whatever. As for us mere mortals, the only time a Saturday gets ruined is if it's your "Monday," otherwise, we are bulletproof on Saturdays, aren't we?
Back to the quandary that is Monday, it's the day of the moon, meaning people get looney on this day? Co-workers are catty because their weekend was obtunded, employees don't show up and they come up with the most ludicrous of excuses from, "I have no clothes to wear" to "my grandpa died again."  How about the violent reactions of all sorts of people about Monday - Bob Geldof wants to "shoot the whole day down," it always got K. Carpenter down, a guy named Paul Merton said when he doesn't have to get up to work on this day, he feels that he has won; why aren't movies released on a Monday? Are they? and don't even get me started on what Maxine, the cartoon character will do about Monday. 

The song says, "Never On a Sunday," do you know why? because "things" will hit the fan on Monday!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


As I live and breath my second most favorite food in the world has got to be Salmon. It is praised for it's health benefits, great taste and flavor.  As far as fish goes, the salmon is one friendly anadromous creature, meaning a fish born in fresh water that migrates to the sea then returns back to spawn and then die; (I looked it up).  I did not know until recently that there are only six species of Salmon and they are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, what about the salmons found in countries not bordered by either oceans you ask? Well they are farmed or are imported to those specific countries, obviously. Hence, salmon fishing in Yemen was initially conducted in a dam.

Of all the 6 species only one is found in the Atlantic - bearing the sea for it's namesake, and the other 5 come from the Pacific Ocean - the Chinook, Coho, Pink, Sockeye and the Chum. Also, salmon is very well recommended for it's great amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA - easily the fish of choice for the healthy ones and certainly the ones with cardiac maladies. 

For me, I just like it's distinct seafood taste, moderate and rich at the same time, yet healthy. I like it grilled or baked simply, with lemon or as a Niçoise and the photo below shows of one I grilled for myself with light cream sauce pasta:

Jane Cumberbatch, Queen of Pure Style

Don't know if you know but Jane Cumberbatch is a deserving design heroine. Making old things new, new things classy, consolidating all design elements and finishing them exquisitely is her métier. Her published "Pure" books:  Style, Design, Home and Garden, Colour, Outside and Living are bibles into making a home functional, stylish and very easy on the eyes. 

Her color palette, her use of calming earth tones and whites as if to renew and her home garden are enviable, followers of her blog are treated to the uplifting colors of the fruits and flowers her garden grows, new design features and recipes too. 


As a follower of her Instagram, I got a response from her for "liking" and commenting on one of her posts. (Ingratiating aside). So, what's not to like about her?


I "swear" up and down that London is my pied á terre; perhaps, I think, might be.  I had once begun my Exodus to the place, applied for a license reciprocity to work there, made plans on where to live and even the interior design of where I was going to stay. But alas, (el-oh-el), I met, fell in love and married my husband. Not a bad thing, no, but it only means I will miss the following on a regular basis: the British Museum, walking the Mall and Hyde Park, hunting out for the world's best fish and chips, window shopping at Harrods, fawning for the castles in the nearby 'shires, going to second-hand bookshops and the theatres in all of West End. 

All that said, the visit I had in '11 I did will do for now.

Trafalgar Square, by Mia

*the word "swear" used euphemistically. 

Inspiration, among others...

Seth Godin has organized thoughts, he is focused and bright. He blogs everyday and writes with a purpose. He is an author, a successful blogger and has positive advice for his readers. Most of his topics are geared towards marketing but that is not to say that even people like me who are not so inclined cannot get a nugget or two from him. 

Here is his photo from his blog. He looks hip, intelligent and humorous. Endearing.

photo taken from Google images

I don't know him from Adam and Eve, he could be a jerk for all I realize, but as far as I can see, I think not. I wonder if we really just have 6 degrees of separation?

Even in days when you don't feel like it, write...

a 1908 Sears Catalog, photo by Mia

Why not just blog, write, feature, extend, express, be honest, leap, and so on and so forth? Why not indeed? 
My name is Mia, I worked in the medical field for a long time in the US but have always wanted to write. My aim here is to do just that. Topics will vary from people, places, things, and matters. I will do my best to post my own photographs and to keep the articles pithy, or not.