Thursday, May 31, 2007

Penang Views

Getting on a plane gives me that shiver of anticipation and adventure. Where to next? What new experiences, new food, new friends? I was not let down in my excitement. There's lots to catch up with. But first a few photos of Penang by mr G and me.
View from my window at Tanjung Bungah Paradise Sandy Bay Hotel. I used to visit my granma here when it was all fishing villages.

We got to go on the ferry - childhood nostalgia!

mr G took the girls to the Butterfly Farm in Penang and he took some lovely pictures.

I like this picture of me rushing to get to the hawker stalls on Macalister Road. Charge! Can't leave Penang without some Char Kuey Teow. I have to say that the man who sells pork intestine porridge here was really rude and action. hmf! goodness me, he has a high opinion of his place in the universe!

More later, gotta do my after holiday laundry and housework. sigh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Penang Post

My mum has broadband but it is still slow and I won't have much time to post today. I've had lots of mango, pineapple and nasi lemak. And some otak otak. And big family dinner things. But today I think the kids will have to have pizza or they'll pop from all the chicken and broccolli sang mee I'm feeding them. Doubt I'll even get in some char kuey teow...but we will see. The whole point is to visit family, not get in my eating schedule!

I can't believe I get to have my name on the Readings Poster this Saturday - see Kenny Mah's site or Sharon's - my first reading in Malaysia - it is a real milestone, folks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

PuisyPoesy update-check it out!

Moon joke
(click on above link)
Zoom in as much as possible to the max.

I have just guestblogged for Puisypoesy and Sharon has kindly put it up!

Check it out and leave a comment to let me know you've been there. Join in the discussion :)

Going Home

Hope the broadband works in Penang. I am not an intrepid phone blogger, so no internet, no post. Some family time, some makan time, some blogger time, some resort time. It will be good - it is just all the packing and organising before that daunts me! I am starting the process today so at least it isn't the day before. Any requests from Penang? Will bring home some Kari Kapitan. I doubt my food photography will improve but will be meeting the lovely Lyrical Lemongrass so I may experience the expert Food Bloggers at work, and catch a Reading or two with Kenny Mah. Sunshine ahoy!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Put some sunshine in your life with Bergamot

That hint of citrus in your Earl Grey, that's Bergamot. Essential oil is extracted from the rind of this fruit by cold pressing. Well, ideally it is, certainly if you are a therapist it should be, but perhaps the flavourings people are not going to be so picky.

The best Bergamot should come from Italy - Calabria, in particular, on the toe of the boot shaped country. Support these small family growers by choosing whole cold pressed essential oil from Italy because many perfumers and other big users of Bergamot have turned to synthetics or extracted the Bergaptene from it. What is bergaptene? It is the component which has been identified as causing photosensitisation of the skin. This means if you have bergamot on your skin and you sunbathe, it may cause your skin to burn much faster.

The controversial mistake that manufacturers made in the 70's was to actually add bergamot to sun "protection" cream. Oops. Opposite effect than intended, resulting in bad name for bergamot. So now you can actually buy it without this component in case you are worried your client may go out in the sun and sue you for sunburn. However, education is important and I believe that simply informing your client of these facts, and advising them not to go on a sunbed directly after treatment is the key. Or to bathe small children in it and then let them play in the sun. Perhaps I wouldn't use Bergamot in Malaysia for my skin or on beach holidays, but I'd certainly inhale the gorgeous sunshine scent of it because it would make me happy. And I would keep it whole, no fiddling with the bits, please.

Use it carefully and respectfully, and you will be rewarded with an amazingly relaxing oil - uplifting and regulating to the body. Of course, it comes into its own in cold, grey, snowbound times - or when your soul still feels that way, even if the sun is shining outside. It is an excellent digestive, and good for bloated conditions. I use it for PMS and I've used it to treat cystitis and insomnia. People with knots in their necks also benefit from a dose of bergamot to remind them to breathe in and find a summer meadow to lounge in, even if it will have to be in their mind. Bergamot is uniquely calming, more so than the other citruses, so it is ideal for knotty people. It is under the Wood Element and helps sooth irritable Liver clients.

Safety notes: Always dilute your essential oils. 6 drops in 10 ml of base oil like sunflower is a safe dose for adults. Bergamot is safe for pregnant mothers after the first trimester - during the first trimester, inhaling it is great for dealing with so many hormonal changes. I would use orange and mandarin for children instead, as they have tender skin which burns easily. Bergamot always seems to float in the bath and sting the skin, so dilute it properly in a dispersant or unscented bubble bath before putting it into the water. Some literature suggests full fat milk, but I think that is not enough. Swish it very thoroughly.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Deckchairs by Mr G

Seaside towns. Along the pier at Weymouth. This is my favourite picture by Mr G.

Busy bee picture in the lazy garden

This is the favourite of all the pics I took this weekend. The flower bracts are from the euphorbias at Lorton House. More pics to come.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Happy Friday, off to Lorton House

There will be 5 families with small children - and no internet!!!! A football, BBQ and a billiards table. I probably want to lounge around and read my books, so far I have packed 5 but will that be enough?? Other people might want to go walking...and there will be plenty of food, of course. It's Bank Holiday Monday, here - so I don't think Mr G has ever spent so long away without a connection. I bet he is bringing his phone to connect! See you Tuesday.

Update: Here are some more pictures of Lorton House in Dorset once we got there. It sleeps 16 - it was a wonderful space and we would do it again. Here is a clearer picture of the house from the garden. The front garden is that wonderful large field in the bergamot post above. Pic number 2 is a picnic area in the garden and the two little photos are of the landing and the dining room.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Painted Veil

When I was a poor and impoverished student in upstate NY, my housemate Sonja would sometimes cut me in on her dogsitting jobs as she worked at a local vet and would often look after some of the dogs when their family was away. This is how I met Ron Nyswaner - he went away to visit his family in Georgia and i would spend my time looking after his dogs, lying in his hammock on his porch and listening to Nina Simone. He got me an Olympics t-shirt when he came back and was very kind to me. When Mr G came to visit me in a fiancee type of way, we used to help out in local plays that some of the jobbing actors, including Ron, from New York city who lived up our way would put on in the local community. One spooky Halloween, when the crunchy leaves were on the ground, Mr G and I were carving pumpkins for a production of Dracula when he nearly cut his finger off and I had to take him to emergency! Ick! We remember the time we spent with them so fondly - they were all so nice to us - and we were really pleased when Ron went on to write Philadelphia (starring Tom Hanks) and was nominated for so many screenplay awards. So we are pleased to see him back on the big screen adapting the Somerset Maugham novel and can't wait to see The Painted Veil (starring Ed Norton). Please let me know if you have seen it and what you thought. The title of the book comes from a poem by Shelley:

Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,--behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it--he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.