Monday, August 3, 2015

We Were Liars

Some people go to the spa to de-stress. I, on one hand, like to go in literature heaven. 

My week was very exciting, interesting and crazy -- short of being a heart-attack inducing kind. We were running on adrenaline beating a deadline and we all went around the world looking for someone, a team, an individual who can resolve an issue for us. We've touched based with colleagues from all available time zones. It was heady. It was toxic. 

But, oh boy, it felt good. We were on a high. I was thriving in it. But in between those moments is a trough... at this point, I need a good read to stabilize my world. Make everything upright again. 

So, I selected from my iBooks shelf the book, We Were Liars by e. lockhart. I didn't know what to expect. It didn't look extraordinary but I started reading anyway. 

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

The first few chapters made we wonder if it was worth pursuing. There was much rambling. I thought all along that it was just one of those young adult novels that glorify teenage angst. 

Something though compelled me to turn the pages. Each page is painfully heartbreaking. Inner conflict must be the most troubling of all conflicts. And when you're young where and whom do you anchor? 

It's a story of a privileged teenage girl who lost a memory of her entire summer. She comes from a family of old money and trust funds. Of relations that pin their future on the will from their patriarch's fortune. 

She suffers from debilitating migraines and headaches while she strives hard to reconstruct the events leading to her ailment. But it's elusive. She has selective amnesia. She weaved through daily life occurences and memories. She grasps at shreds and snatches of conversations to understand what had happened to her and the family. What has happened that affected her entire extended family's existence. 

The reveal in the end was not what I expected. I kept on thinking she's going to get better and be well. Instead, in the end I cried with her. 

That summer in her desire to teach her family a lesson about how temporary possessions are; that in an instant it can be gone so you're happiness and future should not be pinned on them. In a night of youthful brazeness, she and her cousins committed arson. 

Tragically, it turned out fatal. The people they sought to punish for being materialistic lost more than the antiques, fine arts and collectibles. Young, promising lives were lost because of one single act -- the arrogance of the young, its devastating destructiveness. 

And so I wept with Cadence. 

Beautiful, beautiful story. 

What was on your night table this week? Or at your reading corner?

Xx

Sheng





Sunday, July 26, 2015

Container Gardening

The biggest downside to big city living is the lack of space. There is hardly a plot of land for any attempt to cultivate a garden, never mind the dream of a true pocket garden. Lately, I have been caught by the nesting bug. 

I am always on the lookout for any greens that can be added to our tiny apartment to make it seem more livable. And to allow it to breathe. There are still a few more pieces I would like to plant but I think what I have now is a good start. 

After much false starts, I actually did the the digging and re-potting of the plants we have at home. 

A few weekends ago, I went to the hardware store to buy my gardening tools. 

Then two weekends ago, we went to Sonya's Garden and saw these gorgeous herbs. 
Tarragon and Mint. Plus, Kira's gifts: succulents. 

Basil. And the castaway plants from a conference I attended. The aloe and that other plant I had since summer. 
I live on the fourth floor so I usually line them up on the balcony floor to avoid any accidents especially when it's windy. 

I patted myself for a job well done. I managed not to kill any of my potted friends yet. Then, my mom shared on what she had done with our left over vegetables. Curious we went to our laundry area. And these are the potted plants thriving there... which by any measure look better than mine. 
Kangkong. We can harvest in a few weeks!

Ginger. 
This plant is the healtiest among the potted ones I have. 
I also have greens rooting in water placed either in vases or in used bottles. 

This weekend made me realize that I can have my own potted vegetable garden for fresh ingredients to our home-cooked meals. Or just for garnishing on dishes. 

A while ago, I planted cherry tomato seeds. Hopefully, I'll see some sprouts in the next few days. In my wish list are a grafted pine tree, a lemon tree, lettuce and potted hydrangeas. 

So looking forward to the next long weekend to scour the city for plants and nice pots. 

Do you wish to have your own pocket garden, too? What have you planted so far?

Xx

Sheng