The Spy Who Loved Me

With these two on screen, sparks and intrigue undeniably fly. (Credit: the Everett Collection)

One of my favorite movies is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious” about a woman who is recruited by the U.S. government to infiltrate a ring of Nazi sympathizers in South America after the war. But it is also a twisty love story between the broken yet alluring Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) and her dark, cool handler Devlin (Cary Grant). It’s the chemistry between the two leads that ignites the sparks that fly with the suspense exponentially. Without it, there would be no incident in the wine cellar or the impetus to dispose of another victim of a fringe remnant of the Third Reich.
Interestingly enough, I waxed poetic about another movie here.  “The Lake House” alluded to “Notorious” in its own narrative—a movie within a movie—to draw a comparison of two people who come together not only due to physical attraction, but also the gravitational pull toward one another as equals. It’s this force that drives romances and jumpstarts relationships. But it’s not the only thing to hang their hats.
I’ve said before, I’ve learned love has to insinuate itself into a relationship, or else it is a nonstarter. I’m probably not the poster girl for such a sentiment or truism, but I am moving toward it. For any relationship to exist, as a famous Beatle is quoted many times, love is the answer.
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An Inner Game of Catch

Now my nephew fits into this equation.

Now my nephew fits into this equation. (photo by Rhodora Ayuyang)

It’s no secret to those who know me that I love sports due to my brother who realized the chances of having a brother were very slim.  So as the closest sibling, I was relatively his equal–more or less shaping me to be one–teaching me every sport he played.  One of my favorite things to do with him was playing catch in our front yard, more than likely because it was a relaxing remove from the competitive nature of sports. 
Taken by one of those friends who see me as me.

Taken by one of my friends who see me as me from the Apple Store on Union Square in San Francisco, CA; the two-level retractable glass door is a stunning design element.

 


I am reminded of an essay by Roger Rosenblatt “A Game of Catch”: “It’s hard to learn to play catch,” he writes.  “In the beginning, you use your arms to cradle the ball against your chest; then you use both hands, then one.” The natural flow of this carefree play wasn’t lost on MLB batting leaders at the time:  “Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly tossed a ball between them without a trace of effort, bodies rearing up and pivoting gently in a casual parody of a pitcher’s full windup toward the plate. … It was interesting to note even at their level, this was still a game of catch.” 


Connecting the bond between father and son and parenthood, it also points to the
 universal need to be understood and how it could be accomplished by very few words, like some of my closest friendships.  It is rather nice, for lack of a better word, and welcoming that nothing has to be spoken.  There is no talking to death, no need for gruesome or superfluous details, just the reassuring silence that I am seen by someone, and it requires very little conversation. 

The Soul in Architecture

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A plaza opened before us on our way to the Academia museum in Venice.

I read an article last year about what architecture means to some well-known practitioners in the industry, and it made me reflect what drew me to my current situation with an interior architecture firm.  I wondered why I hadn’t pursued design in the first place, what took me off track.  When I was 11 and I had my own room, I decided to be creative with some corrugated cardboard and reclaimed toy pieces to create tables.  But it felt more like a passing fancy.  As I got older, a new passion took over and held my interest to this day. Maybe discovering and articulating the soul in architecture is the purpose of being here, while working on the financial and legal side.

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It is said architecture is an expression of one’s world view.  It speaks to me none more so than in the confluence of cultures in restored Venetian building facades, and Venice’s plazas, San Marco being the ultimate manifestation of the public “living room” in an increasingly socially isolated world. Its cozy alleys that smack of claustrophobia, which if you let the discomfort pass, offer a level of intimacy that is rather personal, homey even. venetian-flag

Like the bustling under the windows of our pensionado during my 2008 trip there with my mom and sister, the pitter-patter of foot traffic was more a soothing murmur, not the profane cacophony of a major metropolis.  It was rather welcoming, the ambient sounds that would lull me into an eventual nap that afternoon.Serenissima room

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photo by Rhodora Ayuyang

 

In my Absence

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Sign of the Times: Chapel of the Chimes

Gosh, I look back at some of my blog posts up to date, and I realize I miss writing, like an old boyfriend or friend (none of which is mutually exclusive). As I see how other people’s lives unfold, I am aware I am living my own these last ten months. Much has happened in 2016, and while I’m inclined to bookend chapters in my life, it often plays out without a convenient break. Refusing to fit neatly in a tidy box, it is a messy proposition and overflows sometimes rather rapidly.

Having said that, I can’t promise fidelity to regular monthly entries, although I will try. Writing is a solitary, difficult endeavor when forced. It can’t often express everything inside me, although I love it so.

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Simple Pleasures

January has proven to be a gentle month after the bluster of December, and simplicity is the key.  I am grateful for what I have and even not have: no drama on the personal or professional front. I don’t have to come at life like an ambitious crime-fighter on a TV procedural.  Sometimes it’s just taking myself out to dinner or Happy Hour and appreciating what’s in front of me, whether it’s an Arrabiata pizza topped with a farm-fresh egg and later a rare dessert at my neighborhood joint Gialina or grilled calamari at Woodhouse Fish Company after a doctor’s appointment.  Whatever the case may be, this weekend before a new month is about doing absolutely nothing, no deadlines to meet or anyone to accommodate, but me.

 

2015 in Review

IMG_3638I am thinking lately where I was same time last year and remember feeling fair–that at least I was still intact, moving forward and finishing strong.  I would say the same is true for this year but so much more.  As 2015 progressed, I was growing more into my authentic self.  It is indeed a liberating experience. Once there is acceptance, the pace picks up, and life is a rolling stone going downhill.  I feel the power of the present with the notion that my life is also just ahead of me.  I think of my young nephews and how fearless, rambunctious and magical they are–so much hope living inside of them.  I see the goodness of this existence, and I don’t want to miss it anymore because quite frankly it’s much too short to be feeling otherwise.  Here’s hoping 2016 is another adventure, whether it’s crossing a long desert or wide ocean, let it be one more journey to the center of my soul.

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Child’s Play: Our last day in Hawai’i

Je Suis Paix

St. Benedict The Painted Church

St. Benedict, The Painted Church

As is often the case when I’m feeling blue or even trying to fill time, my last trip to Paris was my touchstone.  And now as my beloved City of Light is a victim of terror, I stand with her since she was my respite at the end of one of my worst years.  While I would lean on that trip 15 years ago to center me, other places I’ve discovered since are also instrumental in keeping me sane.DSC02182

A highlight on my recent trip to Kona in Hawai’i was a historic landmark in Kealakekua known as the Painted Church or St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church.  The moniker was given due to its colorful interior of biblical figures and stories rendered by the parish priest Father John in the mid-1800s. When we drove up, it had started to rain, turning to mist, just as it would in Paris or once in Berkeley when I would fall in love for the first time.

Colorful Interior

        Colorful Interior

The moment was both enchanting and spiritual, and I was most present and connected with my fellow travelers, this time with my brother, his wife, my nephew and my parents, just as I was with those whom I went on my Paris trip.  I remember being at a younger age not having the foresight how my life would be as I got older, perhaps because I didn’t know how long I would live.  But if there is one constant through the years, it is my family, and I would count on them for the spiritual love that I am seeking.