Thursday, December 30, 2010

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

SCENE I. A kitchen. In the middle, a boiling pot.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch
Thrice the weeping boy hath mew'd.

Second Witch
Thrice and once the weeping boy whined.

Third Witch
My psychic powers say 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch
Round about the boiling pot we go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

The witches three?

They say it takes time for a broken heart to heal. I could only wish there was an instant cure.

Till then however Kool Kat has taken to boiling soothing porridge with frog's legs. Claims the frogs would act as a panacea. Served best with the occasional hug in the kitchen. We all have our separate roles to play after all. Piratin Patty acts as the sounding board while teaching him all the intrinsic healing magic of Big Fish Small Fish Cardboard Box.

While I hold the unforgivable Slap of Shame card. Simple enough. Tears are to be confined to a one-week period after which slaps will be administered. Haven't had reason to use it yet though.

Fortunately Fabulous Felix will have none of it so he has asked for a new project to play with. The better to get his mind off things. Hence the Santa project. Nothing like buying gifts galore for his nearest and dearest. And to fill up our Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's a Lush Christmas

With my new colleagues generally being saintly do-gooders ( not to mention regular church-going, God-fearing Christians ), it's quite obvious that we share nothing in common apart from work. Even cracking an inappropriate joke at wholly appropriate moments would earn astonished stares from the grim lot.

Belonging as they do to a previous generation - yes, they are men of a certain age! - they have different preoccupations in life.

Paul : Good God. I don't think that crotchety old lady would survive a sneeze!
Doctor : But we must try our best. God willing she will survive!
Paul : God willing she would be having tea with St Peter's right now.
Doctor : Goodness gracious me! We cannot speak of such things!

Definitely a tough crowd.

Time to synchronize our schedules!

So I knew I needed to touch base with more like-minded folks. Or at least ones who didn't think Lady Gaga was the name of a toothbrush brand. Hence my annual Christmas dinner with the Lushes.

These days though it's getting ever harder to round up the entire lot. Takes a whole lot of time, patience and serendipity to get us all in the same place. Statueque Sarah busy tormenting the interns down south while Shameless Shalom's terrorizing her share up north in the land below the wind. Fabulous Fiona's busy canoodling with her newfound beau McThai.

And of course Lissome Lorelei's nowhere to be found. Though last we heard our lady of leisure had rejoined the ranks of the working class!

Still they all managed to make it down for Christmas - something I count as a miracle all in itself.

Me, I had news about my new career. Statuesque Sarah talked of her daily work garrotting feckless interns while Shameless Shalom shared with us her news of travelling in search of Christ ( or his hunkier servants ) sometime in July.

And from out of the cold, Lissome Lorelei appeared with a Christmas fruitcake baked with her own fair hands. Without setting the house on fire. Now if that's not a Christmas miracle, I don't know what is.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Midnight on Christmas

The clock just struck midnight.

Family's reading in the dining room. Charming Calvin's almost asleep upstairs. I'm by the window typing this, idly watching fireworks burst in the night sky tellin us all that it's finally Christmas :)

For those who actually wonder what today is all about, we have the social network to thank :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You're a Mean One, Miss Grinch

Damn Shakespeare seriously.

No doubt his endlessly sentimental sonnets - along with dozens of anonymous troubadours - is to blame for the inescapable habit of associating love with romance. Two very different - and totally separate - entities. Unfortunately very few of us can tell the difference. Even the wise dating guru Carrie Bradshaw stumbled over the complex definitions.

You mean there is a difference?

Obviously still a hard concept for Whispery Wilhelmina to grasp as well. For her, lusty romance is love. So is getting punched in the face but that's an entirely different story.

Fortunately... at long last, she has found a reasonable beau who doesn't berate her publicly. Hell, he even paid for the drinks. Per the usual for most ladies but really a monumental step up from her usual garbage train of jackasses.

Wilhelmina : I don't know if he's the one for me.
Paul : How so? He's nice, treats you well, seems to like you.
Wilhelmina : But he isn't as affectionate as I would like. Doesn't proclaim his love for me every morning, noon, evening and night.
Paul : A dozen sonnets whispered into your ear? Gotta be kidding right? The fact that he likes you with your manifold faults should be considered true love already.
Wilhelmina : He has even more faults! See the way he drinks la. So damned sloppy. Just think I could do better leh.
Paul : Then you should let him go.
Wilhelmina : I should?
Paul : He deserves someone better. If you only see his weak points without appreciating his good ones, then you should let him find someone else.

Yes, he really does deserve better than her.

Love is having a partner who will support you through thick and thin. Someone who loves you with all your faults and flaws. Someone who puts you first before themselves.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Hope Wilhemina actually finds that special someone.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Not Christmas Without You

Christmas is always a time for those close to our hearts. Friends, family and yes, those significant others special to us.

Conveniently flexible hours during the holiday season only provides a reason for us all to spend the time reconnecting to one another. And to share just a little bit of gossip. Me, I had a half hour chat with one of the Lushes to plan our Christmas getaway.

Paul : Run! I see McThai coming with a big sack of toys!
Fiona : But I want to help tie him up... oops, I mean tie his gifts up!

Obviously I had ulterior motives at hand. Yeah, I needed my lil wrapper girl, Fabulous Fiona to do some giftwrapping. Which she thankfully offered despite the fact that she has double the wrapping to be done this year! And yes, folks, the faithful boyfriend's still in da house!

Fiona : Someone said my boyfriend's a little clingy.
Paul : Well I don't think so. I think your boyfriend's lovely.
Fiona : Oh yes, I think so too. Hee hee. I was just wondering.
Paul : Guess we are both a little bit commitment-phobic. All depends on how you lool at things. I mean would you call Calvin clingy?
Fiona : Well, I don't see how he could be anything but clingy. You walk too fast all the time! Surely Calvin has to hang on somehow.
Paul : Heh heh heh. Never looked at it that way.

Just to put things into perspective.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman

At least that's what I'm hoping.

Though at the rate he's going with the year-end work projects, the renovation at Pemberley and lately, his pre-Christmas gym routines, I don't think Charming Calvin is finding much time to rest at all. For the usually indolent fellow, that's an overwhelming snowstorm of activity.

December is turning out to be a busy month for everyone including me since the beginning of the holidays seem to usher in a slew of elective ( nonsensical? ) surgeries from nose jobs to double eyelids. Endlessly exhausting but not as tiring as trying to figure out what everyone on my list would like for Christmas. :)

Still I do manage to micromanage my schedule - cool as cucumber - compared to a more frantic Calvin who has been cramming every second of his day with mindless activity. This unmerry gentleman hasn't been taking any rest lately. Been telling him to take it easy - let nothing you dismay as it may - but Calvin's far too carried away with devilish talk of curtain railings, paint chips and door jambs to listen to such sweet tidings of comfort and joy.

That Santa better get cracking!

The curse of Pemberley I call it.

Calvin : I want everything done perfectly after Christmas!
Paul : Painting? Wallpapering? Lighting? Furniture? Kitchen cabinets?
Calvin : Yes! Immediately!
Paul : With a snap of Santa's magical fingers? Even the enchanted elves would need more time than that.

Poor Santa is on a deadline this year. With Calvin's frenetic rush to get things done, I am starting to wonder if he actually intends to make ready his home for the arrival of blessed Christ our Saviour!

Amen to that.

Miles away in the relative seclusion of Netherfield, I have been trying my best to lend a hand but alas I might as well be that faraway star of wonder, star of light, for all the help I've given. Still I do try, westward leading, still proceeding, trying to guide him to the perfect IKEA lamp light.

Maybe gift-wrap a chandelier for Calvin this Christmas?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'll Be Home for Christmas ( or perhaps Housewarming )

I am dreamin' tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you

At least I had hoped I'd be home for the housewarming party!

Two weeks back after sorting out the mundane necessities for Netherfield such as the contracts, rents and bills for the estate, I figured I might as well have a little fĂȘte at home. After all, I'd already taken the time and trouble of decorating for Christmas this year so why not show it off a little?

You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree

Got that covered already. Surprisingly this year I actually have a trusted catering company at hand. Have been using their company to prepare meals for functions in the hospital before; haven't had any complaints so far. Caterers are handy folks to have around, just have them come over to serve and clean up after. Wonder whether it is a faintly troubling sign of adulthood to have a caterer on speed dial!

Unfortunately they said no when I asked for hunky, sexually available cater-waiters.

Did Paul set out an obstacle race for us...

With the food settled, I only had to enjoy the company of my friends here. Only to have an unfortunate lady break her ankle barely two hours before the party which led to an unavoidable surgery.

Kat : Where you going? Our guests are arriving soon!
Paul : Going to the hospital.
Kat : But we don't have ice yet! And not enough paper plates for sure!
Paul : Let them eat cake.
Kat : But ice! I need ice!
Paul : Go get the ice first then.
Kat : But the guests are arriving soon.

A perplexing conundrum I couldn't solve since I was in a hurry. So yes, while my guests were busy chowing down on cake at the housewarming - no doubt with Kat frantically searching for ice cubes, I was at work muttering curses.

So yes, the host of the housewarming came two hours after all the guests had arrived. Didn't someone say it was fashionable to be late?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

To Be Naughty or Nice?

Santa Claus is coming to town and supposedly he has a secret list of those who have been naughty or nice according to his mystifying resources.

So much easier to confess here rather than wait for his arrival. I haven't been nice and I know it. Flaws I have aplenty; thinking I actually know what's best would be a major one. Certainly a lamentable by-product of my obsessive control freak personality. A strident failing I'm sure has led to many of my more unfortunate peers to cower from my interminable lectures.

But at least I do admit to such a fault - and if reasonably called upon, would try my best to amend my shortcomings.

Maybe if I run away very very fast...

There are others far more devious. For instance, my new colleague at work - a certain Dolores Doolittle. A new administrative officer that's sweetness itself. One would expect little bluebirds to fly to her call when she lifts her melodious voice in song. Little dwarves and forest animals to lend a hand when she does her daily chores. Surely someone so obviously angelic would never be so conniving.

Paul : I said no.
Dolores : Aw, just a little change. I am sure you will like it.
Paul : No.
Dolores : It's for your own good. Think of all the advantages! I could show them to you on presentation.
Paul : You can sing, dance and mime the entire show and it's still a no.
Dolores : You will grow to like the change, I'm sure. Actually I promise!
Paul : You just want to have your way, don't you?
Dolores : Maybe tomorrow you'll be in a better mood. Will tell you then. Or maybe in an hour?
Paul : Do you want the door slammed in your face?

Next to her, I'm positively Satan himself.

Like they say, never judge a book by its cover. I've seen dastardly agents like these at work. Looks like butter wouldn't melt in their mouth but hell, they wear you down with goodness.

Like any wily Disney villain, our sweet admin Dolores means to get her own way no matter what. From what I've seen of her, she has certainly proven to be as slick at maneuvering as the smoothest steamroller. Sure, she asks nicely and politely to run you over - but believe me, she will run you over whether you like it or not. Forget about compromise. Her seemingly innocent inquiries are merely statements of fact. Dolores is all about zero compromise.

Poisoned with sweetness, I call it. So positively nice even when she's naughty.

Wonder if Santa's wisened up to her wily ways. Perhaps a lump of coal this Christmas?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Carol of the Elves

Don't believe the hype that sweet olde Santa sends all his Christmas gifts on the mysterious eve all by his lonesome! Surely you don't believe he has a magical FEDEX - pathways / portals / time machines - stashed up there in the North Pole. What the wily fellow has are indentured elves aplenty.

And I have proof of that.

With carols playing in the background and me caterwauling away, I almost missed the once-in-a-lifetime magical sight. Just as I was driving out of a junction, I saw a white truck literally bedecked with gifts with a tiny little elf hunched at the wheel. Trying his best to remain inconspicuous though failing quite miserably. How could anyone not see his tiny elfin face with the sharp pointed ears surreptitiously hidden beneath a jaunty lil red cap?

Elf : Look! I am a fully grown adult male! Check me out if you don't believe me!
Paul : Don't mind if I do.

And the fact that his truck also had a christmas tree squashed into the back made it all the more obvious. Just short of a red-nosed reindeer to announce his arrival.

Paul : OMG. Is that an elf?
Patty : Sure looks like it. Then again it could have been a kid.
Paul : A kid driving that big truck?
Patty : Happens all the time here. They learn how to drive way before they are eligible for it.
Paul : That would certainly explains the lousy driving.

Well, maybe it wasn't an elf. Fine, it could have been an adolescent child at the wheel as well.

Which would have been much worse than an unlicensed elf from the North Pole. At least presumably the elf would have had centuries of experience with driving on the roads. And let's not forget about the inherent magic.

What amazes me most are lackadaisical parents who allow their unschooled children free rein with their automobiles. A nervous, inexperienced pre-teen holding the wheels of 1500kg worth of mass destruction. Talk about endangering society at large! Certainly reminds me of the other juvenile rebel joyriding on the streets only to be gunned down.

Such unworthy parents should be caught and whipped soundly.

Or perhaps have the bells fall on them to awaken them to the painful responsibilities of parenthood.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Little Match Boy

'Tis the season of giving.

Charity abounds this time of year as miserly folks are reminded - constantly - that there are others out there in need of a little help. Certainly no need for a fearful trio of ghosts to scare the change out of Ebenezer these days.

Hard to forget with a philanthropic Kool Kat busy canvassing for donations for an orphanage. Wanting to do our own little bit for society as well, we hiked over to the usual spots in town to find the tree. The tree. Always one somewhere in town with the names of those less fortunate festooned on the tree wishing for a special someone to reach out to grant them a wish.

What we found was one full of little match boys and girls from a local orphanage. Or so I thought. Flipping through the tagcards, I found to my dismay that as usual, cutesy toddlers get snapped up real fast. Leaving the older December boys on the shelf.

Paul : I'll look for an older kid then.
Felix : The ages tend to go up as you go higher on the branches.
Paul : OMG. There's a 21 year old boy here.
Felix : Wanting donations?
Paul : He wants a tracksuit.
Felix : Ooh.
Paul : Sounds like quite an athletic fellow. Wonder if he's hot. Can I get him a skimpy Speedo instead?

Maybe the Little Match Boy would prefer a cosy bed this Christmas? Preferably mine?

All I Want for Christmas...

Yes, I get salacious when it comes to virile 20 year olds.

But then as we went up the tree, we noted even more kids above the age of consent. Checked it twice to be certain. Started thinking that it could be a correction home for troubled children ( worrying that! ) but the mewly infants at the bottom belied that fact. Surely the innocent babies couldn't be guilty of committing crime and felony before they could even walk!

Took a while before I realized they had to be special children - which would explain including the older kids on the wishlist as well.

So Little Match Boy, no naughty, wildly inappropriate propositions from this particular Santa. Looks like you just might get the tracksuit you wanted this year.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

The lights are up.

The presents are under the tree.

The invitations have been sent out.

Sipping wine in my cosy chair by the window while it storms outside, nothing gets me quite as sentimental as a chilly December. The whiff of hot cocoa. The flicker of the cinnamon scented candles. The age-stained pages of my book of sonnets.

Times like these it's nice to know that somewhere out in the wide, wide world there might be someone who is thinking of me. Even with crowds of people milling about him. That thought certainly keeps me warm.

But that's me. Doubt assails him when he's so very far away that he starts worrying that our love can't possibly sustain such breadth of time and distance.

Long, long distance love affair!

No doubt Charming Calvin feels just a bit cold and lonely at times like these.

Calvin : So why do you love me?
Paul : So there has to be a reason?
Calvin : I would just like to know.
Paul : You want me to put that into writing? Sonnets perhaps? Or even a limerick?
Calvin : A sonnet would be preferable I think.

So why do you love someone? I think lovesick poets throughout the centuries have been trying to figure that out. So I might as well leave with something sweet that I read many summers ago when I was young in love. A little sonnet Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote about her own true love so very long ago.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Is there even a measure of love? Is there even proof that you can see? Baby, I know it's cold outside but you should know that my love remains constant and unchanging.

Baby, it's bad out there. So why not hold on to thoughts of me and feel warm inside?

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Really Pink Christmas

I'll admit Christmas came here just a little early.

treeCouldn't help it really. Over here in the wild frontier where God-fearing Christians abound, it's natural that baubles and tinsel appear in the stores from October onwards. Barely glanced at the vivid orange of All Hallow's Eve before the red and green garlands of Christmas came along. Hard not to be swept along with the holiday craze especially with evergreen carols on constant replay in the background.

And then my first Christmas package appeared at the door two weeks back. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. Books? DVDs? Who knows? The delicious anticipation before the day itself is the best, don't you think?

So how could I resist?

Faced with the harsh carmine wood panellings of Netherfield however, I really didn't have much of a choice but to tone it down a notch with a splash of pink. Wasn't easy looking for material though. Despite the obvious Christmas cheer about, the local folks here are still pretty traditional when it comes to their tinsel and they only come in the primary colours.

Certainly couldn't stand having more garish red in the house so I had to DIY a few ornaments. Think pink ribbons, dusky rose posies and folded origami cranes on the tree. Baubles from the softest pastel pink to the deepest cherry. Even a couple of shocking pink disco balls that I just adore!

Kat : It's so pink! I don't think I'd be able to show my face in town again!
Paul : Two gay boys and a girl in one house. Of course there'd be pink!
Felix : That's pink? I thought it's gray!

Christmas decorating can be so exhausting!

Severe colour-blindness on Fabulous Felix's part aside... I'm far from your bon-bon loving Marie Antoinette so I actually balanced it out with a bit of green. But even that concession wasn't enough to stop Kool Kat from worrying that she'd lose her street cred with all the girly-girl pink on blatant display. Doesn't mean I didn't forbid her from buying presents wrapped in any other colours but cream and brown to match.

Naturally all my gifts are wrapped in pink.

Now I wonder what I should do back home for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Borgian Knot

Carrying on a long-distance relationship has taken its toll on the both of us.

With one of the more obvious solutions to a relationship meltdown being Charming Calvin's transfer back here, he has been busy for the past few weeks searching for job openings. And since I already vetoed the idea of him being the sole househusband, he has laboured through the weekends perusing the classifieds. His initial plans to have a change of career has actually helped in this regard since it has significantly widened his options.

Unfortunately still no jobs available in this market.

Of course, such zealous, single-minded persistence on his part has garnered the attention of his ever-observant mother, Madame Borgia. With Calvin making plans to return and flying back on a regular basis.... it has placed Madame Borgia on instant high alert. Didn't the boy once claim that he would never return to the countryside? There had to be mischief afoot.

Q & A time at the Borgias!

Didn't take long for her to make a move.

Madame Borgia : I am surprised you are so eager to return here. Weren't you quite desperate to leave for the city?
Calvin : Things have changed.
Madame Borgia : After all my endless entreaties before? I confess I am curious, exactly what has changed?
Calvin : Things have.
Madame : Why, is it because Paul is here now?
Calvin : Umm. Uh.

Imagined Calvin looking like a deer in headlights with his mother interrogating.

I have to admit I am surprised Madame Borgia actually took so long to ask that question. Like a knot in her belly, no doubt that nagging mystery has percolated in her wily mind for weeks. Seems she has even taken to questioning the rest of her children to ascertain Calvin's true intentions.

Guess I underestimated Madame Borgia. Obviously she requires a disembarkation questionaire from Calvin before he comes home.

Though I'm sure Calvin tried his best to evade her incessant probings after, I have no doubt Madame Borgia caught his initial stumble. Superspy he certainly isn't. Wonder if she's going to come knocking on my door to find out more.