A Day in the Life of a Roman Empress

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Location: Malaysia

Formerly an Empress and the crowning glory of the Roman Empire, long-suffering glamorous wife of Caesar Augustus (a marriage of INconvenience, if you ask me!) Some people call me a drama-queen but then I'm often misunderstood. Deep down I'm really just a medium-maintenance princess. Some people think I have a puppy personality just because I have eyes shaped like an upside down smile. That would be one of the few times public opinion was accurate. Find out for yourself. Read on.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Of Dogs & Diamonds

Absolutely NO peek into my life is complete without an introduction to my beloved baby, the joy of my daily routine, the laughter in my mornings & the apple of my eye!

Le-Le (Mandarin for "Joy") was my post-breakup present to myself and has proven to be better than therapy, antidepressants, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", French truffles & retail therapy put together. And that's saying a lot.
Half Shih-Tzu & half Terrier, she is more intelligent than most homo sapiens I've encountered, smells better than most Brits (well, some of them anyway), more adorable than...well, ME, at my most charming, & a more faithful companion than most boyfriends. Not pointing fingers at anyone at this point. Yet.
They say dogs are a man's best friend & a similar relationship goes for women with diamonds. Hah. Whoever it was probably underestimated a woman's ability to have more than ONE best friend at a time.
I adore Bling-Bling but heck if I'm gonna cuddle one to sleep at night. Le-Le, you've saved Mommy's life in more than one way & I wouldn't trade you for all the good-looking Lotharios the world has to offer!
'Course, if the gentleman likes dogs, then we'll talk about the possibility of making some room for him in OUR lives. Until then, we shall endeavor to survive on just diamonds & doggy love.
Signing off, Calpurnia & Le-Le

Scottish Fry-ups!! But then... Life could've been worse

FORCE = Mass x Acceleration; OBESITY = Mass x 14 days (Scottish Fry-ups)

FORCE = Mass x Acceleration;OBESITY = Mass x 14 days (Scottish Fry-ups)
The devil hates exercise.
I'm sure if he had his way, all of us would've turned into sad muscle-less blobs of humanity dotting our already over-populated-with-clinically-obese-people world.
That was a mouthful. Quite like the five French truffles I just delicately consumed for inspiration. Which just reaffirms one of the sad facts about indoor sports like blogging, day-dreaming and watching TV: If you don't get fat from chronic inactivity, you will, on the accompanying "brain foods" needed to sustain the vigors of sedentary living.
As it is, the devil's had way too much success already. When I was in the UK for a rare holiday in August, my medic sister told me more than 65% of the school-children in Scotland are considered obese. The figures (if you'll excuse the pun) are pretty scary, but somehow not surprising. I put on 4kg after just 2 weeks in Scotland. And this, despite 2 hour treks in the Scottish Highlands! (Not to mention skinny-dips in freezing Loch Lomond! Which shall be the subject of another blog. No pictures.) I think the famous "Scottish fry-ups" have a lot to do with this burgeoning (ahem) phenomenon. Mackie's of Scotland aka Makers of Excellent Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream may have contributed to it slightly.
Here's a rundown of my typical meal in Edinburgh:
Breakfast I
2 fried eggs shaped like a smiley face
3 strips of bacon (REAL bacon; none of that overprocessed stuff you get from Cold Storage in Bangsar)
2 fried tomatos2 fried sausages (fresh, big-assed ones; you can practically still hear the animal squealing when you chow down)
2 fried Tatties (that's 'potatos' for the uninitiated)
2 fried Neeps (TURNIPS!)
...and a host of other deep-fried odds & ends I can't identify because by then the excess cholesterol would've sent me into orbit.
This is followed by...
'Breakfast II' an hour later with another variation of fry-ups plus some dairy products thrown in for good measure. Don't even get me started on the cheese, jam, toast & smoked mackerels!
Lunch is normally Langoustine (a relative of our beloved Tiger Prawns, but with longer 'antennaes' & a more majestic aspect) swimming in Garlic butter, fries on the side, thick dark hot chocolate, cream of seafood soup or extra creamy clam chowder, followed inevitably with Mackie's of Scotland vanilla bean ice-cream.
Dinner is nothing much to shout about since it is normally a heavier version of lunch. But TEA! Oh, tea-time is an institution by itself. That's when a lot of sweeties & pastries & sugary stuff come out of Calpurnia's Closet & into Calpurnia's fat-saturated bloodstream! Marks & Spencer on Princes Street in Edinburgh alone will give you a diabetic rush, especially the food store section.
The diet is so rich there the only way I could balance it a tiny bit was by shopping. A lot. 'Course the only thing that got lighter was my chequebook. [Note: Forget about VAT refunds; I'm convinced it is merely a more sophisticated version of highway robbery.]
A funny thing happens when you get into the "Supersize Me" frame of mind. Your brain starts justifying every evil thing you stuff into your Holy Temple. (I meant body ok?) Suddenly, you decide that jogging in the cold for 2 minutes is equivalent to running a 2 hour marathon minus the frostbite on your nose. Which more than justifies Lunch II right after. Next, you figure that "big" in Asia means "petite" in the UK (another spin on Einstein's Theory of Relativity). BIG mistake.
Well, the Scots may be unwittingly breeding heartattacks in the playground, but I can't imagine a more romantic place to meditate on the wonders of God's handiwork than in the Highlands. I could hear the theme from "Braveheart" playing in my head everytime I walked (ok, heaved myself) along the winding path, staring at the craggy green & tan undulations, breathing air so fresh it actually cleared my sinuses. Loved it. Felt a bit nostalgic when I saw the Aquaducts in one of the scenes from "Narnia". I walked under those Aquaducts. Rode on that train (which, incidentally, was also doing double duty as the "Harry Potter" train!)
Coming back from Scotland was a shock since I could no longer fit into my old dresses. Thankfully, one of the standard "uniforms" I have for teaching in a government university is the muu-muu like 'baju kurung'. Fits all shapes and sizes probably until the 3rd trimester. Hence my project for the coming year was to trim, trim, trim the excess bacon off. My enemy the devil & his aptly named cousin, Procrastination, are hard at work. Which is why I'm typing in my bathing suit now, instead of working out in the pool as I'd meant to. Have you ever noticed that everytime you struggle into last year's gym gear, the telephone always rings with some urgent messages from the office? Or you accidentally walk past a newspaper advert saying "LAST DAY SALE!! 70% OFF EVERYTHING!"? (I DEFY anyone who will choose a 2 hour treadmill pounding over "70% Off EVERYTHING". Especially women& metrosexuals)
Ah, but with a picture of Kirsty Hume (who, incidentally is Scottish! How....?!) taped to my refridgerator, and the theme from "Braveheart" playing in my head, & Superfit Caesar Augustus' number on speed-dial, I WILL survive this brush with potential borderline obesity by Chinese New Year 2006.
The devil bedamned.
Now where are those truffles??
Signing Off, Calpurnia circa 1978 A.D

Friday, January 13, 2006

Journey to the Unknown

Journey to the Unknown
It is tradition, I think, to start each new venture with a suitably solemn and profound quote. Were I to abide with this tradition (something I rarely do as a rule since traditions are meant to evolve with one's sensibilities), I can choose no better quote to christen my first foray into blogging than this: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I've been writing most of my life, from the cradle some might say. (My former nannies certainly did not consider my freestyle application of bodily fluids on various surfaces as "writing" but I beg to differ.) Writing, is, after all, an expression of one's innermost thoughts and dreams, the blessed release of one's essence, the conduit by which the external world is perceived and conveyed. Since Bridget Jones wiggled and whinged her be-girdled self across our collective consciousness, self-indulgent oversharing and dramatic disclosures have never been more hip. Far be it from me to miss the ultimate diva's revenge: frantic displays of erratic chick behaviour passing off as e-literature.
Thus far my random musings have found their way into various sympathetic e-trashcans so at present I am under NO illusion about the world's interest in my views, neuroses or shopaholic attacks. Roman Empress notwithstanding.
Ah, but I bless the brainchild behind this technology! Now, at last, the world is your captive audience and your shrink, your readers are your therapy group and catharsis is the order of the day! Strike one for the feminist movement. The world is finally our megaphone and YOU, the writer, are in control.
My journey appears depressingly longer than the usual thousand miles, since I have yet to figure out how to change the photo after 3 hours of clicking every icon on this darn page. Bugger. Note to self: Call Caesar Augustus to get tips on navigating this blogging stuff.
Signing off, Calpurnia circa 1978 A.D.

Calpurnia's Closet