Monday, February 16, 2009

Of Angels and Wings

You'd think by the title this would be an entry about something heavenly... but come to think of it, if heaven = extreme happiness, then I guess heavenly it is! :)

"Miniature perfection" are the only words I can come up with to describe what I see every time I gaze upon the littlest Miss Gaston... born just before midnight of February 9, Baby Sofie is the tiniest baby in the Gaston family so far at 5.8 pounds... and yet if she'd been the 'normal' Gaston-sized baby Mai would probably have had a C-section!   BTW, Mai is my brother's wife, at 5'1" (I think) -- she is dwarfed by my brother's 5'11" frame. 

Even as we waited for her birth, we already knew Sofia would be a beauty -- It's not hard to figure that out if you have two attractive parents like she does. :-) As of this writing I already have more than a dozen pictures of my little niece in my digicam, but the one i post here, taken just minutes after she was born, is, for me, a keeper (forcep marks and all!)

So for a little while we will have an angel among us... she may have no wings but while she sleeps and smiles and wakes up to feed we are enraptured by her little sighs, her gentle snoring, her dainty cries...and sooner or later, as I emerge from a mini time warp - 5, 10, 15 minutes - I realize I've simply run out of words to describe the wonder of a brand new life...

...And then there are wings of the different kind, the metallic kind, aloft and flying magically yet scientifically through clouds and - hopefully - clear, blue skies. This is the image I have in my head as my heart is all a-flutter, looking at something entirely different, but no less exciting:

I can just imagine the beeping sound the scanner makes as the red laser light sweeps across the barcode... BEEP!!!

Oh the wonder of technology! I just charged 452 ringgits to my credit card to buy these precious roundtrip tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap...I've never even seen a ringgit before! And in the space of 5 minutes, just sitting in front of my computer, I've gone from someone dreaming of visiting Cambodia, to one who, despite being a couple of ringgits down, is actually going to be there, God-willing! Joy, oh joy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Christmas Really Means

I just had to share this! I hope my friends Elson and Clara won't mind.

Elson, proud father of two sons, took this picture a couple of days ago, 12 days before Christmas at the most, but here's what I notice: no Christmas decor at this part of the house! Of course it's a very odd nook to expect to find Christmas decor at, the bamboo couch being just against the small counter that divides the kitchen and the living room but I'm just saying... :) 

No, the reason why I think this picture is really special is that it radiates pure joy! For me, this is Christmas. Who needs decor if you have happiness in the home? :)

Look at Finn's face... even in profile you see the happy wonder (and a hint of mischief) as he holds out his finger to gently poke his baby brother Diego's head... perhaps to see if he was real? I can only wonder what thoughts are running through his curious little mind! He's a little over two years old now but he's keeping a lot of his more intelligible thoughts to himself at the moment, preferring to keep his parents in suspense a little bit more and possibly waiting for the perfect moment to amaze them with complete sentences. He's probably decided to give Diego this Christmas time to be the center of everyone's attention.. :)

And my dearest friend Clara, is it a relief to finally give birth again? :-)  As much of a workaholic as you are, I must say this picture shows how motherhood seems to suit you too. :)  I'm sure it's not always as easy as it looks, but it is worth all the trouble isn't it?

As for Elson, you know the old cliche "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"? Well, your knack for sharing to the world how you see things through your pictures show how beautiful you thought this little scene was since you captured it so well! I can almost see you smiling behind the camera. More pictures to come I hope.

Anyway, here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas, and I hope we all find our own source of Christmas joy this season. :) Peace and love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Angkor WHAT?

Every time I tell people I'd like to go the Cambodia someday and see the Angkor Wat, the first thing they ask is "What are you gonna do there?" And in my mind I say "Duh, I just told you!" But I try to explain better and say, "Well, like I said, I'd like to go and SEE the Angkor Wat.. that's what I'm going to do there." More critical people will dare to ask further, "Yes, but what will you really DO there?" At this point I give up pretending that I'm talking to someone with even just an ounce of historical interest. My brother summed up this general reaction with a very simple question: Angkor What??

But maybe I'm too harsh. I guess not everyone can be awed by ancient structures dating back to more than a thousand years ago. Maybe not everyone can appreciate the wonder and intricacy of bas-relief sculptures. Can you imagine how long it must have taken to sculpt (out of stone!) even one of the millions of figures and pictures scaling the outer and inner walls of the various temples? At the rate we regard sculptors, painters, photographers - artists in general - today, those people, long ago, who carved pictures on stone walls with no help from modern technology, were gods.

And then again, maybe not everyone likes the feeling of realizing that as much as we are each unique individuals, important and powerful in our own right and domain, within the sheer antiquity of these temples, we are but specks of dust in the space and time continuum. At most we live to be a hundred, if we're lucky. By that count, these temples have survived at least 10-12 generations of people being born and dying. We come and go. The temples remain.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kite Runner

Genre: Literature & Fiction
Author:Khaled Hosseini
Certainly one of the most amazing stories of loyalty, love, sacrifice, betrayal, and redemption I've ever read... of friendship, brotherhood, family, and culture. I didn't even get to a quarter of the book before I started crying. And you just can't stop because even if you know its fiction, you also know that it could very well happen in real life. Very well written, you can actually imagine the kites flying overhead. Definitely a must read.

Here is a link to a synopsis of the book (please copy and paste):