spf not enough

i had this little growth on my upper lip. and because of all the unprotected sun exposure i've had and the basal cell carcinoma i had removed from my left shoulder 10 years ago i was pretty sure it wasn't just nothing. and i was right. it was a squamous cell carcinoma. a small one. and it has now been frozen (ouch, that hurts) off my lip. and here's where i share maybe my biggest - and certainly vainest - fear. that my face will be horribly disfigured by skin cancer. you know, one day there will be something, that in order to get, they will have to dig deep and go wide. and the scarring will be bad. so the doctor and i discussed how to get this thing off my lip and she listed all the options, freeze it (least invasive), scoop it, cut it (most invasive). and i was more than willing to just have it cut off. it's small, it would leave a very small scar and i wouldn't have to fear that it isn't completely gone (a little bitty scar doesn't worry me, it's the what if we missed part of it and we made it mad by poking at it so it's gonna go hay wire and get all aggressive that has me worried). but we opted for freezing it (because it is so small) and keeping an eye on it.

this morning i go back to have a basal cell carcinoma, not as small, removed from my right shoulder. after it is removed and i get some stitches they will send it to the lab to check the margins and be sure they got it all.

so where am i going with all of this? just a friendly reminder to wear sunscreen and a hat. and, also, i guess i'm going to have to say it, "you were right, dad" he was always asking, telling, nagging, harping at (you get the idea) me to wear sunscreen and a hat, but because i was a teenager and immortal and oh so much smarter than him, i didn't. and dad, fyi, this isn't a good time to say, "i told you so."

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one of the great things about living in thailand is all the rare and exotic tropical fruit. it's everywhere. mangos, mangosteen, papaya, guava, longkong, pomelo, litchi, pineapple, coconut, durian, jack fruit, marian plum, etc... lately, we've taken a liking to the rambutan. it took us a bit to get past it's fraggle rock appearance. cuz normally, food + hair = bad thing. but this one is quite tasty.

yep, inside that hairy exterior is this smooth, almost grape like, tasty piece of goodness.

here's what's left after you devour the fruit.

those of you who know me know i'm not a play with your food kind of mom, but this one, well, who could help it.

looks like a nasty road rash, doesn't it?

and for anyone who might be wondering... we've eaten no durian. it's not in season now. and for that i thank God. cuz that fruit stinks. big time. smells alot like something i could never and would never put in my mouth.

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we need a fix

it seems google thinks we're thai. which means any and all things google related - like blogspot - think we're thai. we're not thai. we can't even read thai. which is a problem. because we can't read any of the clickable spots. not even the one that might be the one that we should click to get all things google to produce text in english. i am now reaching out to the smartest person i know - ahem, that would be you - for help. please.

oh, and kind of the same, but not really, msn seems to think i'm spanish. anything msn related comes up in spanish for me. i never should have claimed to be trilingual.

He's the King, i tell you

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

*c.s. lewis' the chronicles of narnia


i was recently reminded of the above quote at a women's retreat. and have found myself thinking about that last bit - / 'course he isn't safe. but he's good. he's the King, I tell you. / i have often wanted to find a way to describe my God, to find a way to put into words who God is to me, and c.s. lewis has done it.

God is so good that He sacrificed his Son for us. and He has said to us, "for I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (jer. 29:1) see, that's good.

but it's the not being safe part that made me say, "yeah, exactly." because if i think God is safe, i am forgetting that He is in control. that He is the King. that it is His will that will be done. and it is so much more than just who God is. it's also how i should relate to Him and with others for Him. He's going to ask me to take risks, to step out - do things way out of my comfort zone.

i think it's pretty apparent that i don't feel "safe" sharing my faith. because, well, i don't do it. i mean, sure, when i'm around other christians, i'm all over it. i can stand strong. but it's with "not-from-church" friends and "might-gonna-be" friends that i waiver. i want to be liked, and i'm afraid that my faith is something that might cause them to not like me.

to me, this is a prime example of me forgetting that God is not "safe" and that my goal in life should not be to feel "safe". i believe when i respond to Him, it should be because i know He's good - not because He's safe. and because i know "that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." rom 8:28

even the scary stuff....even the unsafe stuff. i trust in God because i know He's good and because He's in control.

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dishwater hands and a poll

i have no dishwasher. i also have no hot water in the kitchen. and i have a tendency to be, well, a little lazy. meaning, i'm not going to boil water to do the dishes. i just do them in cold. and from what i can tell, that is the norm here. i've managed to convince myself that this is okay. mainly because so far it's worked and, oh, yeah, i'm a little lazy.

but because i'm not 100% convinced that this is the best way to do dishes i've decided to let you guys have the final say. yep, it's a poll. so, go for it, have your say. and don't worry. i won't be too disappointed if i only have one poll answerer. i can always call it a learning experience - now i know how to put a poll on my blog.

but maybe not - while the poll seemed to work in theory, it didn't so much work out for real.

on to plan b - if you guys will all grab a dry erase marker. circle the answer that you feel is correct.

dishes must always be done in hot water or you will die.

it is perfectly fine to do dishes in cold water unless you're a pansy.

now, if you don't mind helping me to tabulate these results, please look closely at the answer you circled and write it down in the comment section. thanks for your most willing participation.

you might want to now go back and wipe the dry erase marker from your screen. and if you find it won't come off, check your marker. if it says permanent, well, it's possible your vote just might not be counted.

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sawatdii pii mai

thailand is in the middle of their songkran celebration - which is the thai new year - and party animals that we are we had to get into the middle of it. so we loaded up the family in the car and headed for the moat. actually, we headed out to find parking and then made our way to the moat. now, we had been warned that it was a bit of a moist celebration, but we weren't exactly prepared for the soaking we got.

we left the rear windows to the car open intentionally so the kids could get a sample of the party.

our first taste of the trouble to come.

#2 recieved a shampoo - no joke. they wet, applied shampoo, lathered and rinsed. we were very glad they didn't give a hair cut, too.

when we finally made it to the moat, here's what we saw. and the real water fight began.

the first thing we did was hop in one of these little jobs - it's a tuk-tuk, with the top taken off.

and it was decked out with it's own barrel of water and a few smaller buckets so we could throw it on those in the beds of trucks, other tuk-tuks, and people just standing on the sidewalk. the only problem with this scenario is that there was so much water being thrown in at us we could barely manage to throw any water out. i think farangs - (a)in a topless tuk-tuk (b)that is not moving at all - are really sitting targets. and one other important thing about this water - it was ice water, freezing cold ice water.

after an hour in the tuk-tuk we were ready to head home. but we still had about an hour to walk to get back to the car.

as we were walking we were able to get some good pics of the water fight on the other side of the moat.

those folks aren't fishing, they are gathering water to hurl on to the people in the trucks, tuk-tuks, and riding on motorbikes.

as we were making our way around the moat, the man and the kids found the energy to conquer the walls of the old city.

our camera's both took a beating during this outing. we tried to protect them in plastic bags, but still they got a little damp. so, the pictures end here. and niether of us captured the stupidest thing i've done since arriving in thailand.

the man and the kids had gone to get drinks and i was waiting on the sidewalk when a truck pulled over. and out climbed some lovely young people with a container of red water - it looked more like red koolaid - and they wanted me to take a drink. having read somewhere something about it being rude not to and added to the fact that i just really, really want to be liked, my knee jerk reaction was okay, sure, give me some of that. it took me no time at all to notice that my only option was to drink from the straws that were in the container. it took a very small sip for me to realize this was a tad bit whole heck of a lot stronger than red water or even koolaid. and they were absolutely tickled that i partook of what was probably some roofie laden cocktail.

and thus ended our first songkran. fun was had by all and we are all completely exhausted.

#3 has declared it the second best holiday ever. coming in right after his birthday.

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normal, that's us

it’s official. the counselor’s declared us and all that we are going through as normal. i know, i’m just as surprised by that as you. actually, i’m not, i knew it. everyone keeps telling us that this is all normal, everybody who moves across the world goes through it. but yesterday, finally, someone said to me – that while this is normal – it still sucks. and that’s really what i needed to hear. deep down i have no doubt that we will make it through this transition. but every once in a while i do have those niggling little thoughts that scream, “what in the world were you thinking!?! you are a crazy woman and nothing is ever going to be alright again!!” niggling little thoughts can be quite loud. but yesterday we decided to embrace the normal. we went to eat lunch at normal ol’ kentucky fried chicken, then we went plant shopping where the boys did what boys are normally wont to do and complained that they had to be there. but we did get home with these

and once we were home #2 pointed out in her very normal way that if i was intending to pot these plants we had no pots and if i was intending to plant them in the ground we had nothing to dig with. (but i really have a much more sinister plan. since my mom is coming in may and she has an excellent shade of kelly green thumb and i have a not at all green thumb i’m hoping she won’t be too put out if she gets to take the lead on help with some landscaping. and that looking at the tropical plants that are so easy to come by here will get her very excited about the prospect of traveling half way around the world to garden. mom, don’t worry we will do so much more. gardening is just an if we get time kind of a thing. oh, and i will get those plants potted before you get here, i’ve purchased a green permanent marker to color my thumb with so the plants will feel more confident in me.) where was i, oh yeah, normal. (don’t all normal people have sinister gardening plans?) anyway, once home we went swimming at the very normal swimming pool in our neighborhood. and then i worked very hard at convincing the kids that cereal would be great for dinner since it was 900 degrees outside and that was way to hot to be cooking over a hot flame. i finally convinced them when i told them, “all the normal kids are doin’ it.”

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today we, the kids and i that is, head off for a head check. the kids are going to meet with someone while i'm meeting with someone else. and then i get to meet with both of these someones to see what's next.

so far c14 really seems to be doing great. my only concern about him is that he seems to have developed some sort of funky accent. i have a tendency to mimic the accents around me, not intentionally, sometimes i don't even realize i'm doing it and i think he might do the same. it seems that c14 apparently is turning japanese, i think he's turning japanese, i really think so... okay, well, maybe not japanese, but you get the idea. however, i am worried that maybe there is something hovering just under the surface, waiting to break or crack or whatever it's gonna do.

a11 is doing okay at this moment. but that might not be true for the exact moment we walk into the counselor's office or even the exact next moment from this exact moment. things change quickly with her.

s8 hated thailand before he got here and this hasn't really improved at all. he has good moments, but when he's having a bad moment - it's bad. it's heartbreaking.

hopefully today we will get a bit of help. really, i think for the kids someone other than their parents saying this is normal will be very helpful, but also some tools to help process all of this.

bh isn't left out of all this because we think he's doing all that great, he's left out of this fun because he isn't here to participate. he gets back saturday from a two week jaunt to india and singapore. and this time his being gone has been so much better than mongolia. no freak-outs on my part. it has helped that i have had some contact from him, but i think the biggest difference has been that i have been so very busy informing the whole of thailand that i farted.

excuse me, um, i farted

"you keep using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means." inigo montoya, the princess bride

one of the first phrases i learned to say after i arrived in thailand was "excuse me" or "i'm sorry" and i've said it a lot. everywhere. all over the place. all the time. any time i felt i'd made some sort of error - which, really, was every time i had any reason to interact with anyone. you know, accidentally bump into someone, "excuse me". not moving fast enough to get out of the way, "excuse me" i didn't understand what was said and had no idea how to communicate that? "excuse me". and the list goes on and on. today in language class i learned that i hadn't exactly been saying what i thought i'd been saying. instead i'd been saying, "i farted."

did i mention i've said it a lot?

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