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Sweet love scenes from NYC

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On 24 July 2011, history was made when New York state passed the legislation to approve same-sex marriage and hundreds of gay couples across the state could finally formalise their commitment to their lifelong partners.

In New York City alone, 823 couples got married that day.

Seen in the picture above are Phyllis Siegel (left) and Connie Kopelov (right) of New York City, the first same-sex couple to get married at the Manhattan City Clerk’s office. [New York Times, Image via AP]

From the Guardian UK: Siegal, 76, and Kopelov, 84, live in Chelsea and have been together for 23 years.

Yes. Wow.

When I saw how happy the couple look, I broke into a grin. They looked so sweet together, don’t you think? I felt emotional. I was moved to see their union finally recognised in the place they have lived their whole lives in.

These were grandparents who were finally allowed to “utter the words that once seemed unimaginable: I do” after sharing more than two decades of their lives together.

There were other couples too who have shared their lives and built homes together while patiently waiting for the day they could officially wed and be recognised by the eyes of the law and the society at large.

That Sunday, their wish was finally granted.

Because “Love is simple. You either have it or you don’t. The rest is just delusion or self-sabotage”. [The Middleman]

Always treasure the person who loves you, cares for you and makes you laugh. This person will be unlike any other because you could talk to this person for hours and never get bored or tell them things and never get judged. Always treasure the person who is your soulmate and your best friend. Or you might wake up from your sleep one day and realise that you’ve lost the moon while counting the stars.

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10 ways to create a stronger relationship

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~ Sam Keen

I have no idea how our lives will be like from here on but I just know I want you to be in mine.

A real-life relationship is not a fairytale romance movie. I think we somehow know that. Yet we can make relationships work and stay happy and blissful together.

According to Lynn Zavaro at tinybuddha.com, here are 10 ways to create true intimacy, find pure love, and be truly happy in your relationship:

1. Use relationships to teach you how to be whole within.

Relationships aren’t about having another person complete you, but coming to the relationship whole and sharing your life interdependently. Let go of the romantic ideal of becoming “one”. Learn to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.

2. See your partner for who she really is.

The romantic tragedy occurs when you view the person you are in love with as a symbol of what they have come to represent. When you realise that more often than not you don’t really know your partner, you begin to discover who they are and how they change and evolve.

3. Be willing to learn from each other.

The key is to see the other as a mirror and learn from the reflection how you can be a better person. When you feel upset, rather than blame your partner and point fingers, remain awake to what has yet to be healed in yourself.

4. Get comfortable being alone.

In order to accept that love can’t rescue you from being alone, learn to spend time being with yourself. By feeling safe and secure to be on your own within the framework of relationship, you will feel more complete, happy, and whole.

5. Look closely at why a fight may begin.

Some couples create separateness by fighting and then making up over and over again to continue the romantic trance, creating drama and avoiding real intimacy. If you become aware of what you fear about intimacy, you’ll have a better sense of why you’re fighting—and likely will fight far less.

6. Own who you are.

We generally grasp at romantic love because we’re yearning for something in another person that we don’t think we possess in ourselves. True love only exists by loving yourself first. You can only get from another person what you’re willing to give yourself.

7. Embrace ordinariness.

After the fairy-dust start of a relationship ends, we often do everything we can to avoid ordinariness. The trick is to see that ordinariness can become the real “juice” of intimacy. The day-to-day loveliness of sharing life with a partner can, and does, become extraordinary.

8. Expand your heart.

One thing that unites us is that we all long to be happy. This happiness usually includes the desire to be close to someone in a loving way. To create real intimacy, bring awareness to what is good within your heart. It’s easier to recognize the good in your partner when you’re connected to the good in yourself.

9. Focus on giving love.

Genuine happiness is not about feeling good about ourselves because other people love us; it’s more about how well we have loved ourselves and others. The unintentional outcome of loving others more deeply is that we are loved more deeply.

10. Let go of expectations.

You may look to things such as romance and constant togetherness to fill a void in yourself. This will immediately cause suffering. If you unconsciously expect to receive love in certain ways to avoid giving that love to yourself, you will put your sense of security in someone else.

Draw upon your own inner-resources to offer love, attention, and nurturance to yourself when you need it. Then you can let love come to you instead of putting expectations on what it needs to look like.

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One way ticket

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This photo did not go through any filters or special effects. Well, not yet anyway.

I was at the old railway tracks two weeks ago and while walking under the bridge, I thought it was a picture perfect moment.

The sunlight was hitting the rusty tracks at the right angle. The shadows provided the vinaigrette effect that iPhone photo apps like. The tufts of greenery sprouting in between had a calming effect. In that second, I had seen beauty in both manmade object and nature.

One of my favourite moments from hiking at a soon-to-be forgotten closed train station.

I have a few questions though. Where do all the sharp pebbles come from and why do the railway need so many of them? They are such a painful bitch to walk on.

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Stuck in a moment

Few nights ago, I was putting on my green polo tee shirt after a shower when my head got stuck under the collar. I burst out giggling when I realised the tee was buttoned up. It reminded me of the random things that made our faces sore, our tummies ached from laughing too hard.

There was one night (quite a few nights actually) when we finally decided to change into pyjamas after chatting on my bed for the longest time. I passed her the green polo tee which is her regular sleepwear whenever she comes over. Her eyes were half closed and she was falling asleep sitting on the edge of the bed. So she sleepily put the polo tee over and paused.

“Huh? What happened? Why like that?”

And I burst out laughing. Her arms were sticking out through the sleeve-holes while her head remained trapped under the collar. She started making weeping baby noises, trying to pull the shirt down.

And I laughed even harder as she struggled to free the buttons on the tee blindly with her head under the polo tee. It was like the Headless Rider in Sleepy Hollow in a comedy but the prettier and more adorable version.

When I finally stopped laughing enough to help her unbutton the collar, she looked up. Her eyes were still half closed, her face was still in a sleepy daze and without warning, she stretched out to whack me on my side. “HUMPF!!!”

Shocked, I hit her back and sprung backwards immediately. Just in time too. Her arm were outstretched in that split second, all ready to give me a sound beating. Naturally, I have to start gloating. With a jiggle of my butt. “HA! You missed!!”

And we started chasing each other around the room, trying to hit each other without getting smacked in return.

Her arms were naturally longer and stronger than mine so when she finally pinned my arms back, I couldn’t retaliate no matter how much I struggled. Until a lightbulb flashed above my head. And I swiftly aimed a kick at her thigh. Which shocked her and caused another frenzy round of us hitting and now kicking each other furiously while laughing and screaming like energetic children at a playground in summer.

“YOU STOP IT AH!”

“Who said you can kick me?”

“You stop hitting me back!”

“No, you stop it ah!”

“Let go!”

“Ok ok, now we are fair!”

“NO! If you say it’s fair, that means it is not fair. I have to hit you one more time, ’cause it means you have hit me two extra times.”

Few more hits and kicks later. More laughter and running around.

“Now we are fair.”

“NO! According to you, when you say ‘it’s fair’, it means it’s not fair!”

It was amazing how we’d eventually stop at a truce. Well, we kinda have to pause because we would be exhausted, panting for breath and trying to recover from the “physical” activity.

If you are not fond of regular exercise, you should try chasing your partner around a small room. Works just as well in getting your heart rate up which will burn calories and fats.

While recovering, she would be on the bed and I would be standing beside the bed and we would gingerly scrutinise the red patches of damage on our arms and legs and pointing them out with shrill voices.

“You see! All red!”

“It is paining.”

Plus, she is fairer than me so the red marks tend to be more obvious and redder as well. My heart would melt whenever I see her face scrounged up in a pout.

I’d hold her close to me and tenderly kiss all the red marks I could see and rub her arms soothingly. Then we’d lie in bed in each other’s arms, forgetting about our pyjamas for a brief moment.

Because in that moment in time, the whole world may have continued spinning on its axis, but for us, time has stood still, leaving just us in our own world, enjoying each other’s presence in those quiet moments.

Those were some of the best times of our lives.

Oh and if you think getting stuck under the polo tee was adorably funny, wait till you hear about our “wearing boobies correctly in the bra” and her “arm pits shing” theories. Stay tuned for more.

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Lego turns one

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This photo was taken on the day we officially met for the first time.

The first time I laid my eyes on you, you were almost four or five months old. You took an immediate liking to me. You made the first move to come make friends with me. You were brave even though you have never seen me before in your young life. Your tail wagged so enthusiastically whenever I patted your head or kissed your forehead.

When I said “hand” to you, you’d immediately lift your paw up and place it gently on my outstretched hand. I kept repeating the command and you willingly entertained me that night.

You kept close to me the entire time I was at your place, urging me to play or simply to sit quietly at my side.

Everyone was surprised at how comfortable you were and still are with me. I laughed and said, “That’s because you’re my dog form and I’m your human form. We are connected somehow.”

The truth is I felt like I have known you even before I met you. And maybe somehow, you felt the same way.

Yes, I have known you ever since you were born and found on a grass field somewhere in the Western part of the city.

Your owner would always update me about you, your quirks, your likes and dislikes and the adorable things you would do on a daily basis. She would send me photos capturing you in the moment. So in a way, I have watched you grown from a tiny, chubby, furry pup to the lean, sleek, large dog you are today.

You were less than five days old when your owner and I went to the pet store to buy milk powder and baby bottles for you. We then sat in a cafe near your home and spent the entire evening brainstorming for the right name for you. You were fondly addressed as “Gou Gou” – Mandarin for dog – at home for the time being. It was ok but we thought there could be something more official so we came out with many inspired suggestions but none seemed right.

Until I revealed one of my favourite character’s name from Lord of the Rings. He was a good-looking elf who had luscious long blond hair and excellent arrow shooting skills. I still go “woah” when I recall the scene where he nimbly swung up a running horse from its front in the second movie of the trilogy. Yes, Legolas. You were named after someone who made millions of girls and fanboys swoon.

When your owner heard the name for the first time, I could see her picturing herself calling you Legolas out loud. She mouthed the name a few times silently and said she liked the sound of it. You should know the other option she had was “Xiao Gou”, Mandarin for small dog.

On hindsight, Lego, you were given the perfect name. The one-year-old you today have blond fur and two distinctive brown soft ears. I always tell your owner jokingly that your ears look like those kangaroo skin souvenir key chains. And once a while, you do have strangers coming up to gush over how cute you are.

And for a little extra titbit, Lego is also derived from the Danish phrase, leg godt, which means “play well”.

And because you were born during the World Cup fever with the eventual champions hailing from Spain and your owner’s favourite tune then was “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga, she decided to include that as your middle name. You were given aristocracy even at a young age.

These days, you’re also sporting a collar, which according to your owner and her sister, makes you look “rather man”.

Even though I don’t see you as often as I want to, I think about you often enough.

I went to the pet store today because I know it’s your birthday.

I know I should have gotten you a toy because that is more lasting but I got you some gourmet duck mixed with cod fish and sweet potatoes instead. It does not look pretty even though it sounds fancy but I heard from my co-workers that this is a healthy snack for dogs and I know you haven’t had a chance to taste duck meat yet.

Then again, your owner may have been secretly feeding bits of her dinner and you know how she loves eating roast duck. Which was also another reason I wanted you to try duck. Maybe you’d be just like your owner.

I don’t know if I will ever see you again, but I will post my simple gift to you before it expires.

Your presence has brought so much joy to your family and the amount of love they have shown you always amazes me because everything they do proves that you have unwittingly become the main star in their lives within such a short span of time. You are now truly part of the family.

And because I love her, I love you with equal measure and unconditionally as well.

I have never cleaned up after a dog my entire life but I willingly do it for you. I have started watching shows on dogs so I could understand (and train) you better. I am conscious about your well-being and I always try to include you in our plans like going for walks or picnics. Whenever you were naughty and made her angry, I’d try to explain your behaviour and defend your innocence because that’s what a good human form does.

In return, you have shown me unconditional love, affection and enthusiasm. I miss squashing your tiny face passionately while putting my face really close to your face and rubbing your chest fur.

Happy birthday, Lego. You’re the best dog form a human could ever have.

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Saving the best

If you want to know how getting tortured in hell feels like, you just need to go for one 60-minute kickboxing class. Followed by an hour of “dynamic” yoga.

Exercise is clearly overrated. If we were meant to exercise, then why did I feel like my heart was on the verge of collapsing in the middle of a “double, double punch, double hook and front kick and roundhouse” move? Huh? HUH?

I was this close to blacking out in the middle of the filthy gym floors on Saturday and it wasn’t pleasant thinking about the potential amount of germs swarming all over me if I had fainted. Fortunately, I dragged myself out of the class in time.

It IS just so much easier to eat as much as you want and then settle back on the couch or bed and watch tv shows after tv shows until our food gets digested. Sounds fab, isn’t it? I know.

When was the last time I had such a wonderful time doing nothing but eat, chill, play and watch tv all day long?

For this, we would have to go back to a weekend in late May. There were other weekends throughout May and June that we had enjoyed doing all of the above but this was particularly memorable as you will see why later.

I had gone over her place bearing gifts of premium durians, iced bubble tea and prawn pancakes after trekking all over the shops under the humid weather at her request. When I arrived, she was watching tv with her limbs sprawling lazily across the couch.

Her dog Lego was there as well. He was so surprised to see me that he dropped his toy from his mouth. And he immediately jumped on me to lick my face the minute I walked through the door. I still haven’t figured out if that was his way of showing affection and welcoming me or (according to her) making me part of his pack. Yes, we have been watching too much Caesar Milan.

She has saved me some chicken curry and soft fluffy white bread because she knows that’s one of my favourite dishes.

Either Jim Bob or Jon and Kate or Small People or the Kardashians sisters were on tv that evening. She has got me so hooked on reality tv shows recently. We have watched these tv families so often that we probably know more about their eating habits than we know about our own families’. Then again, we also diss these tv families a lot. But how could we not? It’s hard not comment on Jim Bob’s nerdy dress sense or Michelle’s overly shrill chirpiness or Jon’s balding head.

So we ate our snacks, drank our iced bubble tea, played with Lego, fed him durian, chilled on the sofa and watch tv shows after tv shows.

We also sneaked kisses in between commercial breaks. Held hands once in a while. We also called each other rude names for a bit. But Lego being Lego also meant that we had to take turns to clean up after him. Oh, we played Wii too.

Then hours later, after I tussled with Lego over his rope, I turned around to face her on the couch and I paused.

Half her body was sliding down the couch, with her butt firmly poised in mid-air.

“What are you doing?”

In her most adorable innocent baby-like voice, she spoke softly: “I am planking.”

“Planking?”

“Yuh! You don’t know? Planking is very popular now. You just lie somewhere and pretend to be a plank.”

My face twisted into a dozen expressions, not knowing whether to laugh or to run over to squash her face and kiss her all over.

I know, this may sound ordinary but for 1am at night? It’s amazing how comfortable we are being silly and crazy with each other at any hour of the day.

And how it feels right to drape my arm over her as we snuggle to sleep.

When she woke up in between saying she had to go pee, I piggybacked her to the bathroom. Waited for her and piggybacked her back to the room again. I know, totally random. We are just so spontaneous.

The next day, she slept in late while I revised my notes beside her. She would wake up occasionally, blearily wondering if I had been looking at her sleep so I would pat her back to sleep, murmuring comforting words.

The truth is whenever I found myself losing concentration, I’d turn to look at her blissful face dreaming blissful dreams and then I’d smile and go back to studying. Sometimes I would lean over to kiss her. I didn’t tell her then but the whole tine, I was thinking, “How nice it feels to be here next to you.”

I ordered a Japanese meal for our dinner and waited patiently for her to regain consciousness. When the food arrived, I set the table, laid out the cutlery, opened the sauces she would need, took food for her and urged her to eat the best parts of the dishes.

It could be just me but I realise I always want to give her the best part of anything, whether from meals, activities or gifts.

There was a fried soft shell crab and I kept feeding her most of it while pretending to eat some. But really I fed her almost the entire crab because I knew she likes eating it.

I must have an innate need to give her the best and to take really good care of her. And I know she does the same as well. Sometimes she would insist on me eating something she knows I like or getting me something she knows I need or have been thinking about.

Maybe this is what true love is – finding someone you know you care more about than yourself and whom you can laugh with and grow with.

Few hours later, she asked me, “How does it feel to spend 48 hours non-stop with me?”

“Heh, nice. I like.”

I guess I just love being around her. A lot. We may be doing the most ordinary thing but it still feels exciting and interesting and nice because we are doing it together.

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Comme play with me

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I’m thinking this could be my next long-term wallet. After more than six months of living without a proper wallet, I came across this picture while surfing the Internet and I like it because it is the closest I can find that resembles my previous (and sorely missed) black leather JPG wallet.

Well, I could still use the nylon airline Givenchy pouch which I have been fully utilising the past six months… After all, it’s roomy, durable and I can fit almost everything inside it. It’s so much more than what other standard wallet could give me. Plus, I am not affected by any weird looks people might give me for carrying a pouch. Then again, she’d have something to say about that.

So luxury Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons has a series of new style wallets that are made from bold, hand-dyed cow and goat hide leathers.

Maybe, just maybe this can be my new everyday essential.

Photo credit: http://Fashion Beans