I got incredibly drowsy by around 9:30 last night so fell asleep a bit early. Was awakened at 12:02 a.m. by a vendor's loudspeaker. I've never heard or seen one of the Bongo or Porter trucks circulating and hawking wears late at night. This guy must be a bit desperate. Anyway, it only kept me awake for a couple of minutes, so I woke up a bit early.
(8:30 a.m.)I had one parcel to open this morning. It was from a brother and it turned out to be a packet of trinkets and bobbles along with a typical non-religious Christmas card. I like some of the costume jewelry.
Another thing is it is pay day! I have stayed on financial track this year, despite a lot of travel.
Christmas is not a big thing here. Some Christians go to church, and it is a day for couples to go out. With respect to the academic cycle, I guess it is a time to rest after final exams and a day for family reunions.
...(10:30 a.m.) Just had a great late brunch as planned.
I didn't intend to talk about food so much at the outset of this project, but I guess it's something I ought to for I should be grateful that I eat well most days. Well, I've always liked cooking too, but haven't had much opportunity to show it in many years.
It is noon and I should be calling the folks back home right now. ...Job almost done. I just spoke to the bros and sisters-in-law, as well as a friend in Vancouver. I guess I talked for about one-and-a-half hours! We caught up. Everyone is well, generally speaking. I talked about possibly doing some travel together with the friend. I should call at least one more friend, or rather the American surrogate uncle, today, but I need a break. (1:40)
It's time to have that hot chocolate I've been dreaming of. I'm having it with cinnamon and watching a British comedy. It's "Stiff Upper Lips", a 1998 lampoon of Edwardian high society. It makes fun of proper manners and rituals, gender roles and the oppression of women, and the orchestrated suffering of the working classes and Irish migrants. It also makes fun of language learning, namely Greek and Latin. Oh, it seems it is specifically ridiculing movies based on E. M. Forster novels. There is the visit to Italy and the room with no view, and the virgin who demands, "I want my sexual awakening, and I want it now!" There's the infatuation with the gay guy, and the self-repressed butler who is too prim and proper to express his lust for a lady of the household but who finally musters up the courage to dive into an affair with her. She demands an appropriate proposal of marriage, but appropriately turns him down--by letter left on a tray. (Maybe she's afraid to commit. Ha-hah!) Her mother blames it on Itally being so foreign, so they pack up and go to India where Auntie has her sexual renaissance for a retired officer played by Peter Ustinoff. His character complains about the traveling butler not being black, so he tries to teach him to wear a turban and speak like an Indian servant. Ya-dah, ya-dah, ya-dah.
(4:00 p.m.) I caught "uncle" at home and he was pleased to hear from me. He has few relatives and friends and they are busy, but his region is bracing for a blizzard so he stocked up on Christmas fare and planned to stay home for the holiday. I'm glad I called. He usually beats me to it; in fact, he gets to calling me too often and at inconvenient times during work days, so I have to ask him to cool it. I've called him myself twice in the past month; the previous time I was the one to call him was many years ago.
(6:00ish) Dinner was rice-free; more ham steaks served with boiled white potatoes and broccoli, plus a tomato and zucchini salad. It's fun uploading some pictures, and I'm sure some colourful images make it easier on the reader's eyes, so here I go again.
I'll have another caramel chocolate and date for desert. Resumed the wine sipping as of the beginning of the meal prep, which was around 4:00. I watched another British movie, this time a tragic spy drama called "The Secret Agent", which is based on the novel by Joseph Conrad, one I've never read. I think I've seen a version of this story before, or perhaps it stole the plot and recooked it. The protagonist, an anti-hero actually, is played by one of my favorite actors, the talented and skilled David Suchet.
I don't read a lot of novels or other books these days. Since I work enough on computers, and spend enough time writing myself, sitting back with a good book does not seem appealing, except while traveling or waiting for lengthy periods here and there. The last novel I read was "Please Take Care of Mom" by Kyung-Sook Shin, a heart-wrenching tale of a woman raised and married in the post-war period in Korea. As the story unfolds, it neatly exposes the labor and suffering that is probably typical of many women of that era, the kind of experience that still scars women today and makes them anxious about marriage and raising children. It's told from the perspectives of the children and husband, one by one, who realize how much she was devoted to the children, what good reputation she had among her neighbours and peers, what terrific skills she had and how much she worked day in and day out, and how selfless she always was.
I have done this blog differently today in that I have not waited for a good time to report my observations and activities to date, but rather have kept the blog open and running for most of the day and written intermittently all day. Well, I've had the time on this splendidly relaxing slow day. I think I'll close it now, though, and say good night. Another hectic morning in store for me tomorrow.