Thursday, September 21, 2006


I am just finishing up reading a book called Personality Plus by Florence Littauer - and I'm recommending it to all who will listen to my ranting. If any book is truly life-changing, this one is it!!

It was Hippocrates (also known as the father of medicine) who first defined the four basic temperaments:

  • Sanguine
  • Melancholic
  • Choleric
  • Phlegmatic

Ms. Littauer does a brilliant job of explaining the tempraments in a modern way. This book is such an eye-opener: I thought I knew something about people already, but having read this book I feel as if the scales have been lifted from my eyes.

I took the personality quiz in the book and it turns out that I am sanguine (not a surprise to anyone who knows me) but I also have a lot of melancholic and choleric traits - also not a surprise to anyone who knows me well. However, I now realize that I did the quiz wrong - that's how sanguine I am; I did not read the instructions! So I'll need to take the test again and perhaps the result will be slightly different.

However, the most important thing about this book is that it helps you to identify and better understand both your strengths and your weaknesses - and also gives tips on how to lessen the effects of your weaknesses.

The book also helps us to understand other people much better. I can't recommend this book highly enough - do check it out!

For many, many years now, I have been obsessed with two things: personal growth and leadership. But mainly the first one - I'm interested in leadership mainly because I feel that growing to be a true leader supports us in our personal growth.

I've even defined a personal mission statement for myself already several years ago: "To be instrumental in the creation of the organizational culture of the future". My mission statement does not explain what that culture is, but I mean the kind of culture where the goals, needs and dreams of the individual are met at the same time as the company is profitable. See my earlier post for more on the same topic.

P.S. The chair in the photo was hand made by my boyfriend - when he was 9 years old.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Oh Say Can You Sea...

I've been thinking about why so many people would like to live by the sea. What is the fascination? it might be something to do with being able to look into infinity. And the power of the ocean - even the potential danger. It's something very exciting. I'm not even interested in sailing and yet I'd still love to live by the sea.

I was watching the movie Basic Instinct (the first one, from 1992) and Sharon Stone's character's beach house simply took my breath away. It's simply my dream home!! It's high up on some cliffs with a view of the roaring ocean beneath - there's rocks so the sea is not calm and quiet. In one scene, she sits on a balcony/terrace having a cigarette - and the view is simply amazing. There's also some stairs so you can go down to the beach, where there is a big bonfire. It's just a magical house. It's worth renting the DVD just to see that house.

As a teenager, I used to laugh at my Mom because she'd watch a movie "just for the beautiful scenery" - I now do the same thing! I loved Under the Tuscan Sun mainly because of the beautiful Tuscan landscapes. The same applies to The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was filmed in various parts of Italy. I guess that somewhere along the way, our priorities just change.

Another equally gorgeous - though very different - beach house can be seen in the movie Something's Gotta Give. I don't know who the decorator of the set was, but I'd love to find out - because it was just perfect. I could've just moved into that house without having to change a single thing. It's that perfectly aligned with my tastes in decorating.

By the way, I believe that it's no coincidence that both of my dream houses are owned by wealthy, successful women writers. I want something else besides their beach homes...I want their whole lifestyles.

My boyfriend and I recently visited our neighbours' house - neighbours that have just fairly recently moved in. They live a couple of doors away from us. I was amazed at how finished everything looked in their house. It looked like they had always lived there - or like a professional decorator had just finished with it. I told them that now I'd be too embarrassed to have them visit our place; we've been here for two years and we still have two whole rooms as "junk rooms" and we haven't put up a single set of curtains yet in the whole house (we do have venetian blinds everywhere).

Our neighbours had even done some remodeling: they had put in a jacuzzi and they had to move the location of the shower etc. I now realize how differently they have behaved compared to us - we just talk about putting in a jacuzzi. However, I'm sure that they just took a bigger house loan and used some of the money for the decorating. Their house is only half the size of ours and with the size loan we took, we simply wouldn't be able to borrow anymore even if we wanted to. So in practice, we don't have money for furniture. All of our furniture is either stuff we had already or stuff that we got for free from relatives etc. And I've been renovating some of it.

Anyway, seeing how beautiful our neighbour's place looks gave me a new incentive to start fixing our place up - even if it just means tidying up and getting rid of excess junk. Buying new stuff will come later - when we can afford it. We refuse to buy anything on credit; we'll wait until we can afford to pay cash.

Lots o' Love,
Pink Lady

P.S. The photo was taken in Naxos, Greece.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pneumatic Bliss

Whispers of Immortality

(By T.S. Eliot)

Webster was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense;
To seize and clutch and penetrate,
Expert beyond experience,

He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
No contact possible to flesh
Allayed the fever of the bone.
. . . . .
Grishkin is nice: her
Russian eye is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette;

The sleek Brazilian jaguar
Does not in its arboreal gloom
Distil so rank a feline smell
As Grishkin in a drawing-room.

And even the Abstract Entities
Circumambulate her charm;
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.

That was another all-time fave poem by an all-time fave poet: T.S. Eliot. I have memorized lots of his poetry over the years. This is one of the ones I memorized way back in high school and I still remembered most of it. T.S. Eliot is easy to memorize because his poems have such fantastic rhythm.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Oh Baby!

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I went out with a bunch of women last night. We had a lot in common, but there was one thing that distinguished me from the rest: I was the only one out of six women who does not have children. One of the first things they all did was to break out the baby pictures or pictures of their kids (one lady had three). As the pictures were being passed around, at some point they all noticed that I was not taking out any pictures. But nobody commented on it.

At some point these mothers were complaining about how tough their lives are. One was saying that she did not intend on becoming pregnant so quickly. One had a third child who was an "accident" and she had considered abortion. In the end she had decided to have the baby. At this point I finally couldn't take it anymore and told them that if being a mother is so bad, try not being a mother. Try not being able to get pregnant. Try crying every time you get your period for years and years. Try injecting your tummy with a needle every day. Try having women with kids look at you with pity. Obviously I don't know what it's like to be a mother, but they also don't know how I feel.

OK, so the converstation changed "slightly" around this time. Towards the end of the evening, one lady said that I was the only woman she had met who is (or has been so far...) unable to have kids but who is not bitter. That's true I suppose. I just find that bitterness serves no purpose. I prefer constructive feelings - and yes, we do choose our feelings! If you don't believe that, take an NLP course. In NLP, we learn to "change state" in an instant from happy to sad or vice versa. It's actually very easy.

I sometimes also wonder if not having any kids is so terrible. It does have its advantages too. I just fill my life with other things - writing this blog for one thing. And I read a lot. And get to do what I want. I eat out a lot. Us childless couples have a lot of peace and quiet - except when we throw parties. We get to choose our noise level.

Women without children are sometimes (often?) portrayed as being selfish. Perhaps some are. I find that since I have a lot of time on my hands to just sit and think, I spend a lot of time thinking about values - so I really am thinking about the whole world and its future and well-being and not just about myself. Although I do find that I think about myself and things related to myself way too much - it really bores me. I'm bored with myself. That's why I love spending time with other people. And why I love to read. They're both activities that allow me to get new, fresh ideas.

Recently, I've also discovered audiobooks. They're great! I can jog and "read" a book at the same time. Or drive a car and read a book. Not a new thing of course, but new for me. I'm such a book lover that I resisted the idea for a long time. But I'm converted now. I still read books as well, but I get to read more by also listening to audiobooks whenever I can. I listen to at least one CD per day. I listen to the same CDs over and over again - repetition is the mother of learning.

But back to the baby discussion. The mothers mentioned last night that becoming a mother changes you forever. I'm sure it does, although of course I can't know how it feels. But mothers also have no idea how a woman who is unable to have children feels. But if motherhood makes you grow, then maybe being childless also makes you grow. I feel that for years I've mourned the children that I did not have. It's a different growth process - and one that women with children know nothing about.

It's not necessarily too late for me to have children, but I do find that if I'm to be a happy person, I can't make having children or trying to have children central to my life. I have to just live my life.

The mothers also said that children are a gift. I suppose so. So why is it that some of us are not given that gift? Or is it so that life itself is a gift? We just all have different lives and we all give back in different ways and to different people. Maybe I give more to my friends because I have more time to spend with them than women with kids do. Maybe I give more at work.

The biggest lesson for me has been this: we cannot always choose what happens in our lives. We can't control everything. Sometimes we just have to work with what we're given.

Ladies Who Dine

I went to a really interesting reunion tonight. There were 6 of us girls and some of us hadn't seen each other in 13 years. We had all at one time or another worked in the same café - a very beautiful one in a very beautiful place.

It was amazing catching up and getting to know each other as grown women. We all work in very different fields and have had very different lives, but we seemed to have something in common. We talked for 5 hours straight and about very deep and even intimate subjects: the death of grandparents or other loved ones, the birth of children, finding our way in the world, love, friendship. What an amazing evening!

I only knew 2 of the 5 women, but felt as if I'd known all of them forever. We sometimes have a lot in common with friends of friends. We were six women of approximately the same age, sharing our lives.

Something that we repeated several times during the conversation was that when talking about some things, words seem inadequate - we seemed to have trouble describing the depth of what we were really feeling. I feel that way now: eventhough I am very seldom at a loss for words, I find that I have trouble describing the beauty of this evening's conversation and how special it was. Very rarely does a group reach such a level of true caring and sharing.

I entitled this post "Ladies Who Dine", but we actually did not dine: we only had dessert and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Brut! :-)