Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

casaHippo

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:41 AM 0 comments Links to this post
When the blasted doors came down and the new paint went up, the dining room was glorious. The brilliant white of the crown moulding and baseboards accentuated the pale mint green of the walls. I first came upon this color at a sandwich shop in downtown San Mateo. It formed a mental image of the dinning room I've wanted. It took 3 tries to finally settle on the sheer ivory curtains which length fell to just above the floor. Perfection. And after 2 weeks of searching every store and the internet, the china cabinet arrived, and I had a tough time carrying the 50 lbs package. I had to once again steal the dolly from work. But the assembly proved to be too much for me. After 4 hours of drilling, snapping and screwing nails, I finally put it up only to have the glass door come crashing down, luckily on the carpet. T had to come to help me finish the job. Now finally the souvenirs I've collected from all my years of travels had a home. It was another perfection in my book.


Waffle asked me if I could find a fridge that would fit in the kitchen. Course I did. And rather than spending 200 bucks more on stainless steel, I got a silver one that went well with the rest of the stainless steel in the kitchen, the oven, microwave and dishwasher. It was thrill shopping for all the dishes I had always wanted, to fill the more than enough cabinets in my kitchen. The cute Ona pitcher from Crate and Barrel, the Bodum original French Press, the Hamptons Green Dinnerware, the Edge wine glasses, the giant Swoop bowl for my noodles. Now my Norwegian pot holders featuring a Viking and his maiden from Oslo, decorate my granite counter top. The inherited stools from Target go well with the granite bar.
 

Strange that what I thought should be the last item to purchase was actually found before the other more pressing ones. The single recliner has exactly the same fabric and color as the loveseat. Even though it has a different design, nobody has yet noticed that. A multi culture display of a Menorah from Israel, the Lamasu cup from the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago, the El Camino Bell from the California Missions, a Trojan helmet from Athens, a Celt wine barrel from Northern Wales, and a Tuscan water jar now adorn the fireplace mantel. The most difficult work was the light celery solid Thai silk curtains. Once I finally got the right size and length, they went up and they looked gorgeous hanging over the silver rods from Penney's. I dont think I've ever spent more money nor time on so unimportant a thing. But every day I look at my living room curtains and every day I know I've made the right choice. Last came the Way Basics eco-friendly zBoards, the cubes that need no screws to assemble. My best purchase because they came in green, and I got a set of double and a set of single Plus that are just enough for my books. The books that I cant live without. Once upon a time I started with 15 boxes of books. Gradually they were reduced to 10 and to 5 and finally to 2. My travel photo albums, my books on castles and cathedrals, the Greek Tragedies, the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, The Tarnak, Archaeology, Anthropology, Online Learning, Flash & ActionScript, Photoshop, In-Design, CSS, and the few of my favorite fictions, Possession, The English Patient, Into Thin Air, The Quincunx. And last but not least, the right wicker basket to house my day blankets, Princess New England, Google and a throw from Peru. The living room is done and cozy.
 

 


She finally has a home! Now if she could only make the hvac noise disappear...

Views from the balcony
 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quim

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM 1 comments Links to this post
There are times when the nostalgic past creeps up on you whether you'd like to reminded of it or not. Flipping absently through one of my thousands old photo albums in a hopeless attempt to sort them out, I came upon his pictures. It's been long years and I admit I dont even from time to time bring back those times. As our after supper routine in those few hot summer evenings in Algarve, we were in the Praia de Armação de Pêra, sitting at a small square weather beaten wooden table by the beach. Naice got up and went somewhere. J, toying with the cup of his half drunk bica, revealed to me his plan. "But it's a dangerous profession" I commented. "Not here" he said. I supposed someone with no higher education nor future prospect, applying for the academy would be an option to consider. A small quiet town like Lagoa with only so many inhabitants, a place where everyone knew everyone, being a policeman would only mean walking around and chatting with the neighbours all day. "And after the academy, I'd like to get married and start a family" J confessed more. I knew he liked a local girl but every time they went out, they would inadvertently run into people they knew, and the girl would end up hanging around with another guy. "Assim não dá!" J would say. He understood he's from a poor family and living in a small town everyone knew just how well off your family was. Must be a terrible burden to him. Social status mattered there. Looking at me in the eye, J said "If you live here I would spend my life with you". "Me?" I said rather shockingly. He must have taken it the wrong way because he said no more, and turned his head to face the immense of the ocean with hard sad eyes. I didnt mean it that way. In fact I rather liked J. He's very romantic. He's modest but confident and above all he's simple with no hidden agenda. In contrast Naice could be arrogant and condescending. They're friends and grew up not more than 500 meters from each other, but the town square that separated their abodes was the invisible divider that forever kept them at opposite ends of the social strata. Naice's parents owned a 3 story house while J's was a row house with curtains dividing the rooms. I looked at J's image captured in the glossy paper, and I wondered what life would have been like had I stayed and had a life with him. I no longer believed in fate. Our decisions could seal us in a destiny we created ourselves. Did I regret my inaction on that breezy evening by the Atlantic ocean? Honestly I dont know but his image would always stay in one of my photo albums, and when I flip through it and find him again in a later day, I would recall his sincere undemanding revelation, and might perhaps even some day come to regret my inability to requite his sentiment. But this much I know till the end of times - his friendship was a jewel I held briefly in my hand.

"Life is not measured by the number of breath we take, but the moments that take our breath away." - george carlin


Um facho de luz
Que a tudo seduz por aqui
Estrela brilhante reluz
Nesse instante sem fim
Um cheiro de amor
Espalhado no ar a me entorpecer
 

Quisera viesse do mar
E não de você

Um raio que inunda de brilho
Uma noite perdida
Um estado de coisas tão puras
Que move uma vida

Um verde profundo no olhar
A me endoidecer
Quisera estivesse no mar
E não em você

Porque seu coração é uma ilha
A centenas de milhas daqui

composição: Djavan Caetano Viana

Para ti
A rosa mais vermelha
A estrela mais brilhante
O trigo ondulante
E da aurora a primeira centelha
Para ti
A imensidade do ceu
O que tenho mais de meu
Para ti
O meu amor
Para ti
A prece mais sentida
Para ti
A minha vida

(fragments only) by J Jacinto

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

a 13 de Maio, na cova de Iria ...

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:01 AM 0 comments Links to this post
o ceu aparece a virgin maria .... ave ave ave maria ...

awful song we had to sing when we were kids, back in the fantastic old colonial days ...

Today is the day the virgin mary appeared to 3 little shepherds at Fatima. My sister who was born in this month, was named after the virgin at Fatima. although the aparition might not have happened afterall, what those 3 little sheperds said about what the virgin told them about the world and all the predictions (yup end of the world stuff again) which sparkled a series of mysterious letters that the Vatican 'claims' to have stored in its deepest safes, were indeed quite interesting. The last letter was already revealed and open to the public, but did it really reveal all that the letter said? for those who loves mysteries and conspiracies (like the Hippo), this stuff can suck you right in ... hm, Dan Brown should take up this story ...

The Portuguese are very, very, I mean, VERY religious. By religious, it means roman catholic. And Fatima is an awesome site to visit (OMG, look at all those stalls selling religious stuff!!!! look at all that shopping). Anyone who's been there didnt buy a rosary? I have a gihugic one that I use to hang right above my bed in my bedroom (you guys have seen it remember?). and I even had a priest (father xavier, no kiddin) bless it. imagine that!

Fatima It's more touristy than anything now but you can still see pilgrims 'walking' on their knees (some with pads, some without), burning candles and praying. The Hippo grew up with this kinda of stuff (hey, my Mom still burns candle every month on the 13th) but I'm glad I've outgrown them. But looking back, it was fun, because it gave you a sense of belonging to a big family of all those who believe and do the 'catholic' things, and now I simply feel sorry for these people. But if believing helps them, then be it.

where exactly is the cove of Iria anyway? I dont think I've ever actually been there ...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

on steel railroads

Posted by Hippo Bean at 1:27 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Oh, the joys of riding public transport! Gives you a feeling you're living in the great metropolis. And the sound of the train wheels rolling on ancient tracks! I havent ridden on a train for so long. Although this morning was only for a 2 stations ride, it brought back the old sentiment. I reminisced my old life when I had to wake at 5AM, drive down to the Sunnyvale station and ride for over an hour to get to work in the city. The top floors on the caltrains are single seaters. The windows were dirty and foggy which only made the outside world as it went by more romantic . I remember hating waking before the sun rose for the long commute but loving the solitary ride. Just love to ride and let the world outside present itself, and the sound of the wheels gliding on the steel tracks. And oh, the subway trains in NYC, London, Boston, and lastly in Santiago. Watching the locals go about their daily lives, the expressions on their faces, and the things they carried. But the premium one was the overnight from Budapest to Bucharest. Now that's ancient tracks, noisy, rocky and full of European flavor. This is the season for reminiscence. I drove down to Cupertino the other day and saw how the City Center changed. Once upon a time, I went in and out of that place daily and now the 2 buildings are obscured by a hotel complex. But the view of the far away hills looked more beautiful than ever. Oh, how I miss the view of mountains! The Sunnyvale Town and Country now has new apartment buildings with shops below, and the Target is enormous, even with its own garage. Hippo, welcome back to the south bay!

 

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