Friday, September 25, 2015

The Mooncake Commandment

Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tablets of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them!

However that doesn't seem to be all Madame Borgia found as she made the triumphant ascension up the hills of Lambir deep in the recesses of their family estate. Since her son's slow recovery due in part to the sanctity of her blessed low-fat, low-sugar, heart-healthy meals, she has reaffirmed her unshakeable faith in ascetic health foods.

Apparently prior to making the climb, she had stumbled upon a burning hearth whereupon she received several deliciously sinful mooncakes full of devilish lard and wicked cholesterol. With the autumn season upon us - and her son in dire perpetual need of nourishment, Madame Borgia half considered leaving it on the family table as the lure of temptation.

But lo and behold as she approached the table, she heard the admonishing call adjuring her to make a hike up to the nearby hills instead. Where the Commandments of Healthy Eating were wondrously thrust upon her from the high heavens.

Calvin : Surely we can have one mooncake!
Benedicta : No! Mother said no!
Calvin : Not a single one?
Benedicta : We cannot challenge the Commandments!
Calvin : But she placed the mooncake on the table!
Benedicta : As a test! Don't fall for her tricks!
Paul : Gosh just come get some at my place.

Ever the avid prophetess, Madame Borgia certainly couldn't keep such beneficial instruction only to herself and hastily hurried down to share the Good News. It wasn't exactly easy to spread the news. Since I'll admit Charming Calvin the disbeliever wasn't exactly enthused with what he heard.

Madame : I found some mooncake along my travels.
Calvin : Alright. You called just to tell me this?
Madame : But you can't have it.
Calvin : What?
Madame : Yes, it's far too sweet.
Calvin : What?
Madame : The Commandments said so. Sorry. 

Seriously how would you contend with that pronouncement? Can't fight the Commandments after all.

Monday, September 21, 2015

What Remains of Our Love

Perhaps a rephrase since I'm wondering more about what remains of the love I once had for Paris. Or if I even had all that much amour for that glittering City of Lights.

Time was all I could dream about was walking by the banks of the Seine hand-in-hand with my lover while feeding each other sweet chouquettes. Of course having an awful break-up right before my first trip there dashed any such sickly sentimental fantasies of mine. Arriving in the wretched tail end of storm at the Gare du Nord with my burdensome luggage only to be greeted with dismal grey nondescript office buildings rather than the elegant splendour of a Haussman Paris. Perhaps a little coloured by my troubled emotions. So what little I could recall about my brief time in Paris were dreary rainy evenings tromping through the crooked cobblestoned walks of Montmartre while giving clingy couples the dirty eyed little stare.

And staying as far as possible from any would-be snatch thieves that infamously abound in the dark alleys of Paris.

Seriously? Midnight strolls in Paris would have been one mugging after the next. 

Not exactly the kinda cheery stuff you write home about.  

So with our annual trip coming up soon enough, I have been trying to work up some enthusiasm - or at least present a passably ecstatic expression when the subject matter comes up. After all Charming Calvin - who is far more of a Francophile than I could ever be - has probably fancied himself donning a chic beret on the way out to purchase a fresh baguette at the neighbourhood boulangerie.

Me, I've actually had to refrain from kicking the irresponsible pet owners who frequently allow their animal friends to litter the sidewalks of Paris. The infamous les crottes de chien.

Paul : Paris. Yay. 
Calvin : You're still dreading it?
Paul : Never did see the fascination. Perhaps this time I will. 
Calvin : Surely it's not that bad? Lots of people dream of seeing Paris. 
Paul : *cough* Addlepated fools.
Calvin : What?
Paul : Paris. Yay.

And no, the fast falling value of our money doesn't help lift my flagging spirits in the least. Guess I will always wonder - 'Que reste-t-il de nos amours?'

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Health is Wealth

Eat wise, 
Drop a size.

Catchy? No? Well if not, it's back to the drawing board I guess.

Ever since Charming Calvin returned to this side of the pond only to discover the cause of his uncertain health, his tenacious mother Madame Borgia has actively dedicated herself to a holy corrective crusade solely to rehabilitate her son's ailing self - from ridding the Forteresse de Borgia of all wicked portents of ill health to planning out every mundane minutiae of his daily life.

Which evidently includes his regular meals as well.

If before, Madame Borgia was already wildly obsessed with the sanctity of her low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, low-taste dishes, now it's practically an organized religion. Where her Holy Book apparently starts out saying 'Let There be Steamed Vegetables'.

All very good for her son Charming Calvin of course - who is entrusted with a precious bento box of all-natural organic goodness every morning as he heads off to work.

Obviously though she forgot all about the Fuzhou son-in-law - part of a single-mindedly money-obsessed clan who sees business opportunities in the veriest little item. Though I wouldn't touch the greens with a ten foot pole, I can certainly see the wealth possibilities here. Since Madame Borgia already has to slave over the stove every morning for Calvin, she might as well make an extra buck - or ten - from it.

Paul : She makes you lunch everyday? 
Calvin : Yes. 
Paul : A packed lunch only for you?
Calvin : Yes. 

Paul : And it's a varied menu from noodles to sandwiches to rice? 
Calvin : Yes. 
Paul : If she made more, we could sell it. 
Calvin : What.
Paul : We could call it Calvin's Healthy Lunches! We could have specific pick-up points in the city. For an added price - and minimum number of orders, we could even deliver. 
Calvin : What.

A winning idea for all the health-conscious freaks, no?

Seems like everyone's a fan of Calvin's Healthy Lunches!

Since everyone I know is already on some kinda endless detox fest, why not sell them lunch as well? Half the calories, twice the taste? And it's all purely organic from a locally sourced farm - thanks to the peasants on the Forteresse de Borgia lands. I can already see the various ways we could pitch this idea to the eager customers. Already half my nurses would be lining up to try since - despite having the figures of a metal wire figure - they seem to be on a perpetual diet fad.

So would you buy a Healthy Lunch too?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Millenium Birthdays

"Birthdays won't be birthdays without presents!"

A little paraphrasing there but Amy March certainly wouldn't be pleased to find out how much birthday parties have changed since her time. At least the way the Millennials celebrate it!

Perhaps a bit of blanket generalization going on here but after attending a handful of Millennial birthday parties this month, I've found that to be grievously true. Though their brimming enthusiasm for parties hasn't abated in the slightest, the Millennials seem to have conveniently misplaced the seemingly outmoded practice of gift-giving.

Something I started to wonder after the third party I attended - only to find that apparently presents were strictly prohibited at birthdays.

Paul : So where do the presents go? Is there a table? 
Mabel : Oh wow, you brought me a gift!
Paul : It is a birthday party, isn't it?
Mabel : Think yours is the only one. 
Paul : What?
Mabel : And the gift is wrapped with a matching bow!
Paul : You seriously expected me to toss it in a plastic bag? 

Evidently that would still be better than what everyone else brought.

Which is precisely nothing.

And there I was agonizing over getting the perfect trinket for Marvellous Mabel to celebrate her birthday. Worrying whether the wrapping paper and ribbon would match the theme of the party. Tearing my hair out over the proper wording on the birthday card.

Turns out I needn't have bothered.

It doesn't have to be big.

Apparently no one else bothers about such social niceties anymore; not a single shame-faced guest at the party miserably hiding the fact that he/she came pathetically empty-handed. Really, has it become passé to purchase presents for birthday parties? Perhaps I missed a mind-boggling memo that got tweeted by the Millennials barring gift-giving as an outdated social custom?

Right around this time, many would start tossing out lame excuses for not getting gifts. Believe me when I say the guests can't use abject poverty as a valid reason since most of them have starting wages far higher than I did when I first started out. Lest we forget, a gift doesn't necessarily have to be purchased at a store either.

Did the Millennials never learn that it's so déclassé to come to a birthday party without a gift in hand?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Ladies & Gentlemen

The autumn party has come and gone.

Though admittedly most of the ton decided to frolic in the city for the weekend, quite a few had chosen to remain in the country. Certainly enough ladies and gentlemen for a convivial evening of fun and games.

Highlight of the day was of course the rollicking farce that was Ladies & Gentlemen - a seemingly genteel Victorian game of manners which turned out to be quite the opposite as the Ladies turned into nagging shrews while the Gentlemen transformed into boorish tyrants. Game players are assigned to partners as couples - with the husbands heading off to work in the City while the wives spend their pin-money on frocks and feathers.

Obviously all ready to head to the glamourous ball of the social season. The most well bedecked lady is pronounced the belle of the ball and the rest of her rivals would scurry home to their manors to plot delicious revenge.

Perhaps some pin-money for a bit of fluff, m'dear?

Since we already had couples in the room, we decided to switch it up a bit and split everyone up into random pairings which led to quite a lot of hilarious commotion. Charming Calvin found himself matched with Fabulous Felix in an odd pairing of flighty wife / long-suffering husband.

Without a doubt though, there were the usual hysterical termagant wife / suffering henpecked husband pairing as well.

Wife : Are you even working? How can you afford to buy me the dress I want? 
Husband : I'm trying my best! It's hard. 
Wife : Don't whine. Just get to work and make me some money!

Not all the couples were so stereotypical though. Ever the Renaissance man, Sober Sam who espoused a terrifically independent woman found himself wishing he'd gone for someone far more submissive instead.

Sam : Get yourself a dress, woman. 
Wife : It's not worth it. I'll get myself a dress later.  
Sam : Just buy that dress already! I can afford it. 
Wife : Don't waste your money. There are better deals later. 
Sam : I'll get you the dress! You just wear it, dammit!

I was the wife of course. Rather than being typecast as the typical tai-tai, Kitty Kat took the role of my husband. Turns out we made quite the perfect pairing since Kat made quite the killing at the stock markets while I soused out the best bargains at the boutiques - while besmirching the reputations of the other ladies with pointed insults.

Which gains gossip points by the way.

Though I did sometimes slander them just for the fun of it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Nag

Parents are known to nag. That's almost a given.

Back then, it seemed as if everything we did - or more precisely didn't do - would be followed by an entire period of agonizing nagging from either one of our critical parents. However with growing age and maturity, I'll admit there's a perverse sense of nostalgia attached to that former highly annoying parental propensity.

Though I seriously doubt the other tenants at Netherfield would agree.

With our annual Mid-Autumn soiree coming up, there are several essential tasks to sort out from the caterers to the decorations. Contrary to what others might think, we don't exactly source out the entire social event to the party planners here - since there are sadly few on this side of the Big Puddle. Besides, the decorators here have deplorable taste and I wouldn't even trust them to style the storeroom belowstairs.

So we usually do it all on our own. Very Martha Stewart Arts and Crafts 101 with simple everydau items at hand like the ubiquitous craft paper and scissors.

Not to mention a little bit of help which is unfortunately not all that forthcoming. Years of experience have taught me - quite painfully I might add - that the tenants don't place as much importance on the event details as I do. Whether the party decorations match or if the ordered dishes are enough to cater for all our guests doesn't seem to bother them quite as much.

Paul : Dammit I told Felix that the tablecloth should be in a shade of olive. OLIVE!
Paisley : Does it matter terribly?
Paul : Hush! You already botched up the invitations!

Yes, I'm a wildly controlling, micro-managing bitch. Something I've generally learned to live with which is why I only delegate the simplest of tasks to them.

Paul : I'll hire the caterer, set out the invitations and handle the decorations. 
Paisley : Alright. 
Paul : You are Felix are in charge of the chandelier. Just decorate the chandelier. 
Paisley : Okay. 
Felix : No problem. 
Paul : Get it done before the party. 

Well at least that's what they say. Exactly two days later after I've already interviewed the caterers, picked my favourite and gone through several menus, I look up and see the barren chandelier with nary a shiny bauble in sight. Perhaps a friendly reminder?

Paul : Don't forget the chandelier yeah. 
Felix : Don't worry.

This of course goes on for several days as I keep myself busy with the party preparations. Two days before the party when I've spent several days going through pinterest boards and youtube videos to find DIY decor for paper flowers and lanterns - and experimenting with several intriguing choices, I walk by again and notice that there's nothing all that different about the chandelier.

Paul : It's two days more, yeah. Don't forget to do up the chandelier. 
Paisley : So done. Don't worry. 

Really? Is it any wonder that parents start nagging? What choice do I have with the dates coming so close?