29 May 2012

Some Days



There are days when things just seem to pile up one after another and you don’t seem to catch a break.  The kids don’t listen.  They whine.  Getting through dinner takes forever.  Homework is not yet done and it’s almost bedtime.  Toys are scattered all over.  You yell.  The kids cry.  You feel like a total failure.  You take a deep breath and try to calm down.  The frustration lingers.  You go to bed knowing that you could have and should have handled things differently.

Purple-orchid

Then there are days when sweetness abounds.  Everything is light.  You come home and homework is done.  Dinner is finished in no time.  You hear peals of laughter as the children play together.  You ask them to do something and you don’t have to ask twice.  They tidy up after themselves.  They willingly offer to help each other (e.g, turn on the light, get a water bottle, etc.)  They accidentally drew on the sofa; they say sorry.  You look and you say, “That’s okay.  Be more careful next time.” You see them working hard together on “projects.”  They bid you not to peek.  They come to you with these.

Ice-cream
{A sweet ice cream cone from Zoë, sprinkled with glitter paper punch-outs.}

Poster-by-Josh
{A beautiful poster from Josh.}
They wisely tell you, after you’ve kissed and thanked them for the millionth time, that “it is more fun to give than to receive.”  You feel all warm and fuzzy and… light, like you’re floating.   You think to yourself that maybe you are not messing up this parenting thing too badly after all.
 

27 May 2012

I told you I had quite a few more photos from my photo walk with my friend.

 

1. Capturing Movement (of the flames). This is one of my favorite shots from my photo walk on Monday. These are candle offerings at one of the temples we checked out.

Candles

 

 

2.  Beneath Your Feet – This man is pushing his little cart of goods along the tram track.

 

Man-on-street

 

 

3.  Texture – Natural texture of the wall, on the floor and the steps…

 

Bicycle-against-yellow-wall

 

Another one…

 

Shack

 

4.  Face Your Fears – Crickets.  Or some other kind of insect.   Left out in the  sun to dry.  To be used for medicinal purposes.  I had to get up close to these to get the shot.  Close, very close.  I was worried that some of them might still be alive and might fly out and attack me!

 

Face-Your-Fears

 

Check out these coils.  I could not make myself to go in for a close-up.

 

Snakes

 

5.  Currently – I am absolutely in love with street photography.  I go about with my DSLR around my neck and my point-and-shoot in my pocket.  As I don’t want to bother with changing lenses, the point-and-shoot comes in very handy for those angles or shots I cannot get with my 50mm/1.8 lens.  Not only that, it’s great for those quick sneaky shots that would have been hard to get if I had my big camera pointed conspicuously at the subject/s.

 

Temple2

24 May 2012

My friend, S, and I finally managed to go on our first photo walk.  This had been a long time in the works, but because of clashes in schedule, we didn’t manage to do it until earlier this week.  We decided to go to Sheung Wan, because it is a more local part of town and we had a feeling that we would get plenty of interesting shots there.  Boy, were we in for a treat!

 

Alley

 

We ducked into alleys,

 

Alley2

 

stopped and lingered, chatted with a few folks, saw many things that intrigued us.

 

{Some kind of lizard, I think, for medicinal purposes.}

Ugh

 

{Dried starfish – HK$5 apiece}

Starfish

 

{Coils of incense at a temple}

Coils-of-incense

 

Coils-of-incense2

 

With so many glitzy mega shopping malls and designer boutiques here in Hong Kong, I always find it so refreshing to come across shops that seem to have been stuck in time.

Essential-oils-shop

 

Stuck-in-time

 

It was such a relaxing morning as we took our time soaking up the ambience,

 

Unloading

Sheung-Wan2

Alley4

Alley3

 

rife with the smell of various dried goods.

 

{Salted fish hung to dry on the street.}

Dried-fish

 

Dried-Fish1

 

{There is a ton of photos still, but I will save those for another post.}

 

This had been such a fun and worthwhile way to spend a morning that we promised ourselves that we will do a photo walk at least once a month.  This way, we’ll get to discover and see parts of Hong Kong that we had never really taken time out to look and explore before.  Not only that, but since we’re both pretty much at the same level when it comes to photography, we’re learning from each other.  It’s a wonderful way to chill with a friend who shares my interest in photography.  We could compare notes, talk about shots without boring the other person, and never feel rushed whenever any one of us stops to take pictures.

 

Thanks for a really fun photo walk, S!

 
Give me your best shot at Better in Bulk PhotoStory Friday

                               Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

22 May 2012

Acquired Taste



Growing up, I was never a fan of Japanese food.  Maybe it was because I never really knew what Japanese food was like beyond “raw fish.”  Eating anything raw seemed totally wrong to me. 

 

I don’t recall when I first tried sashimi and sushi.  It probably wasn’t particularly momentous or I would remember simply loving them from first taste.  It almost seems that I woke up one day and love Japanese food, all kinds.

 

Between sashimi and sushi, though, I would always opt for sashimi.  I especially love salmon sashimi and can be at a buffet dinner and eat my fill of only salmon sashimi!   I would eat sushi, but I would not say that I love sushi.

 

Until these…

Boston-rolls

 

On the menu, they’re called Boston Rolls.  I think they might be Philadelphia Rolls (cucumber, salmon, cream cheese).  Regardless, they are the yummiest rolls I’ve ever had.  I could easily down six of these babies in one sitting… and possibly even more! 

 

Do you like Japanese food?  Do you take your sushi or sashimi with wasabi?

 
 Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living Food Photography Challenge

20 May 2012

 

1.  Rainbow – Zoë’s Rainbow Fairy costume for her upcoming ballet performance.  She has tried it on once and it looks so lovely!  I can’t wait to see all the other little girls all dressed up and dancing and twirling away in their dreamy costumes.

 

Rainbow

 

 

2.  Fluffy – There are quite a number of Genki Sushi restaurants across Hong Kong, but I’ve never had a chance to try one until now.  Every time we pass by one, there is always a huge crowd outside, with people waiting for a table.  Tonight we were lucky enough to just walk straight in.  I love the idea of just grabbing what we want off the conveyor belt.  Had way too much sushi, especially considering that we were not hungry when we went in.  Finished off with these really yummy and fluffy cream puffs.

 

Fluffy

 

 

3.  Letters – In English, we have ABC’s.  In Chinese (and maybe Japanese, too), we call them ‘characters.’  This was one of the lights at the Genki Sushi restaurant we went to earlier tonight.  I think it’s pretty cool.

 

Letters1

 

 

4.  Metal – The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

 

Metal

 

 

5.  Tree(s)

 

Flame-Tree

18 May 2012

What Brings Me Joy



A sight for sore eyes.
Music to my ears.
The two of them yukking it up and laughing themselves silly on our trip back from Ayutthaya.

Fun-times-in-the-car1

I remember when Zoë was still a baby and we were wondering when it would be before Josh and she would start to really enjoy playing together.  More and more these days, we hear them playing with each other, making up stories and telling really crazy jokes, and then laughing their heads off.   They crack themselves up over --

“The Eiffel Tower is an awful tower.”
“Uncle Max has no friends: true or false?  True!”

Such silliness… but it really makes me all fuzzy and warm to see and hear them like this.

15 May 2012

Underwater Fun



We spent four days in Bangkok.  Four VERY hot, SCORCHING, SWELTERING, BLISTERING –oh, did I mention hot? –days.  I don’t know what the exact weather temp was, but it felt like the high 30s or low 40s somehow (that’s about 100 – 105oF).  So, that was why, in a city with much shopping to be done and amazing places to visit, we found ourselves at the pool most of the time.

Our underwater point-and-shoot was put to great use. Josh was doing underwater acrobatics and I managed to capture this one of him doing Tom Cruise’s move in that John Woo-directed Mission Impossible movie (MI-2?).



I complained endlessly about the weather there, but one great thing that came out of it was that we spent so much time at the pool that Zoë learned to swim!  She started by  putting her head underwater for longer periods of time and walking towards me… then she found that when she held her breath underwater she floated.  It then just kind of clicked with her that if she held her breath and kicked her legs, she could swim!  After that, there was no stopping her.  A couple of times she would come up sputtering or out of breath, but she kept going, “Okay, one more time…”  It took quite a while to get her out of the pool that day.  Even after I’d dried her off with the towel by the poolside, she somehow managed to slide back into the pool for one more go!  

 
 

13 May 2012

We had a short getaway to Bangkok this weekend with my mother-in-law.  I have been to Bangkok many times, but this is the first time I’ve visited with kids in tow.  It was SCORCHING hot… absolutely scorching.  Out of the planned activities, we only made it to Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha).  We never made it to the Canal Tour nor the Floating Market –which we were planning to go to after our Wat Pho visit, but the kids were miserable in the heat, so we just headed back to the hotel that day and chilled.

1.  Sidewalk – A hawker selling slices of mangoes and other things right by the street.

Street-scene2


2.  Inspiring – I overheard a tour guide tell his group that each of these buddhas has gold leaves placed on them piece by piece every few years as part of their upkeep.

Wat-Pho---Buddhas-in-a-row


3.  Time – Ruins at Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya (dating back to the 1300s)

Buddha-at-Wat-Maha-That


4.  Close Up – One of the lilies outside the temples.

Water-lily---Wat-Pho


5.  With Mirror – That bright flash of light is the reflection off a side mirror on one of the motorcycles parked on the street.

Street-scene1


10 May 2012

When Becky (Life with Kaishon) asked me if I would be interested to do the Creativity Project, I was so excited and immediately said yes.  I think Becky is my photography fairy godmother.  Not only has she inspired me with the beautiful photos she takes and her philosophy with regard to photography, she’s been very supportive and had introduced me to Communal Global and a few other fun photo memes… and now she’s brought me in to the Creativity Project, a once-a-month blog circle with a new theme each month.

This month’s theme is double exposure.  I had to google what it is.   Apparently, double exposure is a photographic technique that combines two different images into one single image.  Here is my go at a double exposure image:

Double-Exposure
I’d merged a photo of street traffic along Gloucester Road (from archives) with an image from our trip to Big Wave Bay this weekend.  This… is one of the things I love about Hong Kong –the fact that you could be right in the heart of the city, yet the beach is only 30 minutes away.

Please head on over to Sharon’s (The Covert Lens) to see what her double exposure image looks like.  While you’re there, drool over her many lovely, lovely images of her pretty, pretty daughter with the gorgeous soulful eyes.

08 May 2012

Josh and Zoë were invited to a birthday party last Saturday.  Remember this?  Same birthday boy, same children, similar concept, but at a different beach.  But like last year, the kids all had a blast!

Upon arriving at the beach, Josh immediately took to the water to brave the big waves with his friends.  They would go out, wait for the waves to build, then they would jump as high as they could when they waves came in.  Sometimes they got knocked off balance and would come up sputtering, but they would just jump right back in.  He came running to us at one point and announced, “That’s the best fun I’ve ever had!”

While Josh was busy with his friends, Zoë was practicing her digging skills with her brand new shovel, ahead of the treasure hunt.

Digging1
 
Digging2
 
To distract the kids and to buy time to bury the “treasures,” the hosts staged a sandcastle-building contest.  The children were given 15 minutes to make a sandcastle.  Josh enlisted Zoë’s help in making his.  He got her running back and forth gathering seaweed for him. 

Building-a-sandcastle

Truth be told, Josh’s sandcastle was the most barebones of all.  He had no bucket or sand toy to help him, only a small rake.  Yet he somehow managed to emerge as one of the winners!  Each of the four winners got a nifty water bazooka.

The judges (two teacher friends of the hosts) visited each sandcastle and interviewed each child, asking them to say something about the castle they’d made, why they’d constructed it the way they did, who had helped them build it, etc.  Later on, the host told us that Josh had sold his castle to the judges with his presentation skills.  Josh had explained in detail his use of the seaweed to help camouflage his castle and the different traps he’d built underground.  He was so stoked that he won!

Paraglider

As if the excitement of the sandcastle-building contest, the treasure hunt, and jumping the waves was not enough, a paraglider landed on the beach.  A shout of “Look!” and all the kids just took off running towards him.  They followed him around like he was the Pied Piper as he gathered his canopy and worked the strings.

It was such a fun, fun day and I have a feeling we will be hitting Big Wave Bay again this summer.
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