Monday: Finding Focus

       Considering the sweat-inducing heat that the orchids at the Singapore Botanical Gardens thrive on, and weighing the additional factor that I (a.k.a., Sam-mule) was loaded down with all our luggage, it was easy to decide that navigating the dizzying network of connected, subterranean malls under Orchard Road, and seeking the sanctuary of a theater to cool off in and enjoy a movie, would be time well-whiled, before catching our overnight flight to New Zealand.

       As we explained to friends during Thanksgiving, that's the last time we've gone out to the movies. Two years ago.  And as I heard myself tell the story, I got the OBVIOUS hand-bonking-head message: it's time to schedule a proper movie date with my wife!

       Thanksgiving was gooood as gravy.  Not only were we able to host a dear friend from out of town, we got time to reconnect with our other closest peeps in the Bay Area.  The day, while stuffed with awesomeness, also made me feel homesick for my family back in Seattle and across the Pacific.  Arriving back home, we got on Kayak, and bought two plane tickets traveling north in December.  Unfortunately, we don't have plans to visit Taiwan any time soon.  Nevertheless, we were able to get out Sunday evening, avoid the crowds of shoppers downtown, nerd up a pair of 3D glasses, and savor the Life of Pi, and thereby assuage by degrees my regret.  My cousin recently finished production of the movie, signaled by the absence of animals like a Bengal tiger and striped zebras popping up on her Facebook updates.  It was the perfect family movie.  We especially enjoyed sitting after the film for the credits, and spotting her name on the screen. "There she is!"  I felt so proud of her, I could have thrown a bouquet of flowers on stage.  

       Life of Pi is a smart parable about, among other things, the meaning we get from life.  One of my favorite quotes from the book by Yann Martel sums it up: "The world isn't just the way it is.  It is how we understand it, no?  And in understanding something we bring something to it, no?  Doesn't that make life a story?"  

       Holidays are not an absolute vacation, but are like field trips with required homework.  The assignment: contemplate that day's particular holiday meaning and… eat a lot.  Looking over the photos from Thanksgiving together, it's not hard to find things to be grateful for: family, friendship, opinionated cooks, stuffing (why do we eat it only one day out of the year?), love, and leftovers.  I'm also thankful for those aprons we gallantly wore, protecting us from runaway gravy trains.  We are big on wearing aprons, not only  because they allow us to give each other giant, uninhibited bear hugs without fear of messing up each other's fine clothes (and the consequential reprisals), but also, and most importantly, for the silly photos they make (see below).

       Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.

With thanks,

Sam (and Ariel)

  Two hams and a turkey! ©  Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Two hams and a turkey! © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

 Mom's stuffing. So amazing and delicious. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Mom's stuffing. So amazing and delicious. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

 Mom, Auntie Yam and Dad -- aka The Yams. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Mom, Auntie Yam and Dad -- aka The Yams. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

 Too cute! Maya and Daniella, aprons on and ready to eat! © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Too cute! Maya and Daniella, aprons on and ready to eat! © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

 Liam and dad getting excited to chow down. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Liam and dad getting excited to chow down. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

 Nom nom nom! © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Nom nom nom! © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

 The feast begins. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

The feast begins. © Bowerbird Photography 2012; Thanksgiving in San Francisco.