29 May 2010

Easy Eats #1 - Quick Tuna Melt

Hello and welcome to the first ever post of Easy Eats!! This new fortnightly feature will offer some great ideas on easy-to-prepare meals perfect for all the busy bodies! Today, I am featuring one of Mr. B.'s favorites - Quick Tuna Melt! This creamy and filling open sandwich is perfect for light dinner or weekend brunch with a tall glass of ice cold lemonade. Enjoy!

1 can tuna in oil
2 slices of plain white bread
2-3 tbsp real mayonnaise
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Freshly ground pepper

1. Drain oil from the tuna.
2. Mix tuna flakes with mayonnaise until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
3. Grill bread in toaster oven for 2 minutes.
4. Spread tuna mixture on the toast
5. Top with shredded cheese and freshly ground pepper
6. Return to oven toaster for another minute and a half until cheese melts.

Makes 4 open sandwiches when you cut into triangles.

24 May 2010

In London

A few days ago, a friend of Mr. B. sent this photograph via email. It said, "...passed by Adelphi today and thought of you...".

For those who do not know, Adelphi is a London West End theatre located in the Strand. Since opening its doors in the 1800's, the theatre housed a number of plays, operettas, musicals and other performances. In recent years, it was the home for Evita, Chicago, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and now Love Never Dies, the much-awaited sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera.

More than just historical significance, Adelphi bring backs a lot of memories to Mr. B. It was here one fine day in July 1993 where he watched in awe the magnificent performance of Ms. Patti Lupone in Sunset Boulevard. It was his very first visit to London, a city he came to love. A city where his heart broke for the very first time and where he eventually found true friendship.

Many things has changed over the last 17 years and all for the good of everyone, but Mr. B. still longed to again walked the Strand, to queue by the doors of Adelphi Theatre, to again be mesmerized by the magic of musical theatre, to see the blue London skies and breathe the crisp London air.

To W. whose friendship he shall always cherish, Mr, B. says "thank you for remembering me..."

Photo credit: J.W. Lu

22 May 2010

I Knead You Here

Mr. B. is a very lazy person. He doesn't like to move if he can help it. He lets others do the moving for him. That is why he likes massages.

Okay, I am not telling the whole truth. He is not that lazy, but over the last few years, he completely given up going to the gym, and over the years, he came up with excuses from legitimate to outrageous:

1. I am too fat. I will only hurt my ankle and knees.
2. The gym is too far from work (or from home).
3. I have fasciitis. I cannot engage in strenuous exercises.
4. My blood pressure will go up if I go to the gym.
5. I forgot to bring my iPod (or my iPod does not have enough work-out music in it)
6. I can't find any gym wear that fits me.
7. I am embarassed to go now that I am too fat.

The list goes on.

In his 20's, Mr. B. used to go to the gym at least 3 times a week before going to work - key word before. He never complained about being tired and he didn't have an iPod then (well, it wasn't invented yet). In his early 30's, he had this whole regimen of working his upper body thrice a week and lower body twice a week plus abdominals daily. That's 5 days a week of gymming.

Now the only thing he lifts is me and his sedentary lifestyle is taking its toll on his health. Until he heard the good news from a doctor one time:

"If you don't go to the gym, at least get a massage once a week - full body Thai massage. It is very beneficial in circulation, help metabolism, stretches your muscles. It is a lazy man's exercise."

Lazy man's exercise. He has been waiting to hear that for a long time. He wanted to believe what the doctor said was true (not that doctors lie).

Tomorrow, he and D. are going to their favorite Thai massage place with real Thai massage ladies. He will be kneaded, stretched, pressed and bent into various positions. He will most likely fall asleep and snore all the way through the process of exercising his body.

18 May 2010

Go Placidly

Mr. B. came home tonight looking all stressed out. More stressed out than most evenings. I watched him heat his dinner in the microwave and ate silently while flicking the TV remote absent-mindedly. I sat next to him thinking he probably wanted me by his side. After a few minutes, he decided to throw away half of his dinner and lit a cigarette.

"Go placidly." I told him.


"Go placidly. Desiderata. I think you should read that again." I said.

"Why would I do that? That's so high school!" he replied blowing the smoke away from my direction.

"Because humans forget." I said.

"And you do remember?"

"I just read it this afternoon." I grinned. "Maybe we should have a contest and see who can memorize the whole poem first!"

"Too much work."

"Let's just lie down and read it together! I promise you will feel better." I told him.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career
however humble;
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

We looked at each other, Mr. B. and me. He told me how happy he is to have me. I told him the same.

Note : Desiderata - a poem by Max Ehrmann 1952

13 May 2010

Killing Me Softly

In continuation of my musings about humans not being able to live a life by him(herself). it is interesting to know that they also created virtual communities. One of the more popular of these intangible groups is Facebook.

Since its inception in 2006 by a group of Harvard students, this social networking service has become a tool to stay in touch with friends and family, reconnect with long lost classmates, stay updated with people at work or share one's thoughts to anyone who cares to listen (which usually means not a lot). Facebook is also being used for purposes not originally intended, such as product promotion, artist fan page (I got one), games and believe it or not, a tool to get back at someone you don't like.

Imagine posting a totally nasty note announcing to the whole community what an unfavorable character someone you know is. That could start a war. A virtual war. It is also not unknown for people to block out their friends so as never to hear (read) from them again. The worst thing is to totally remove a friend from the list, which is to say - driven out of the community. If words can kill, then Facebook is the perfect place to commit the crime against the person you hate most and not be caught. I think that is funny.

Humans are strange. They can't live without others, they can't live with others. We bears are way simpler, we just don't want others to be within a few feet from us. We live alone, we hunt alone and we are happy. No one is hurt.

11 May 2010

All The Single Ladies*

I learned that humans are not designed to live alone. Of course there are people who eventually live solitary lives (example: monks), but I am sure they never intended to do so when they were young. Also, I found that many humans equate being "alone" with being "lonely", which is not the same if you ask George Merriam and Noah Webster. Kermit says it's not easy being green, but being single seems to a lot of humans a condemnation, something to be ashamed of.

So what is wrong with being single? Why do a lot of human beings, sometimes even those who are generally intelligent, become totally laughable or pitiful characters when faced with meeting or choosing a partner? Mr. B. knows a lot of people (some even his friends) who are known to make total fools out of themselves all because they don't want to stay uncoupled. Is it really that bad to be alone in life with only friends and family?

And then there are single people who start alienating coupled people. They go out having their singles fun and ignore the coupled ones because "they won't come out with us, they forget their friends ever since they are together." What kind of a reasoning is that?

For many years, Mr. B. lived a single life. He would come home from work alone, make dinner for one, eat dinner in front of TV, surf the web, go to sleep. On weekends, we may go out with friends. Have dinner and drinks and chat. He was happy with the way things are.

Now that Mr. B. and D. are together, they spend a lot of time by themselves - watching TV, shopping, eating. They also go out with friends on special occasions like birthdays, Christmas or even movies. He is happy too.

I think the human society put a lot of pressure on single people, so has the media. Just think Sex and the City and you know what I mean. Single or coupled, I think both stages of human lives can be fun and productive. When the bad feelings come, single people should think about all these other people in bad relationships and bad marriages. They didn't have it THAT good.

As for me, I am happy with the way I am.

*The original title for this post is All The Single Ladies and Gentlemen. But it was too long to fit so I removed "and gentlemen". I am a politically correct little bear.

08 May 2010

Elaborate Lives

I came across a very beautiful song today. It is from the musical Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice. Elaborate Lives talks about the unrequited love between Radames and Aida (go check your history). What I like about it is that it speaks so real not only about love of these two historical figures but also the lives of humans in general. Lives made complicated, I believe, by their own doings.

Sometimes I look at Mr. B. and wonders how he handled all of life complexities. Sometimes I do wish that things be much simpler to him. No more weight problems, no more employees issues, no more financial burden. Just him, us bears and D. going about our simple and happy days, living a simple and happy lives.

We all lead such elaborate lives
wild ambitions in our sights.
How an affair of the heart survives
days apart and hurried nights.
Seems quite unbelievable to me
I don't want to live like that.
Seems quite unbelievable to me
I don't want to love like that.
I just want our time to be
slower and gentler, wiser, free.

We all live in extravagant times
playing games we can't all win.
Unintened emotional crimes
Take some out, take others in.

I'm so tired of all were going through
I don't want to live like that.
I'm so tired of all were going through
I don't want to love like that.
I just want to be with you
Now and forever, peaceful, true.
This may not be the moment
to tell you face to face.
But I could wait forever
for the perfect time and place.

We all lead such elaborate lives
We don't know whose words are true
Strangers, lovers, husbands, wives
Hard to know who's loving who
Too many choices tear us apart
I don't want to live like that
Too many choices tear us apart
I don't want to live like that
I just want to touch your heart
May this confession be the start.

VIdeo: Adam Pascal and Heather Headley singing Elaborate Lives


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