school's out for summer... wait, no it's not

there are three and one-half days of school left. but, as we all know, they are fake days. days that have to happen because the school year has to end, but grades have already been turned in so any work that's done isn't gonna be graded. which drives me bonkers. i hate busy work. hate it. with a passion.

but, to be fair, it is all over for #1. he had his last final today and only needs to return to school to retrieve his final report card. #2 is left with only field trips. 3 days of field trips and one half day of p.a.r.t.y. and it's nice to see that their teachers are not propagating the the-last-week-of-school-is-a-real-week-of-school lie. but for #3, the lie lives. he's got a regular ol' week coming up. with "maybe a few quizzes" (so he says). but, i'm starting to think that maybe #3 has it all figured out.

seems they were only looking for some kindlin' to start a good marshmallow roasting fire.
good cover story, don't ya think?

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lost my appetite

a few weeks ago, for the happiness project, i posted a picture of the koi in our pond. because i liked them. they made me happy. (notice the past tense.)

well, on monday, i'd been out gallivanting around and when i came home i discovered our house help's husband had gotten all industrious. he'd decided the pond needed a good cleaning out and maybe a paint job. he had the fish in a big trash can where they seemed to be happy. and i had assumed (yes, assumed. i know. and now i have an answer for when someone asks, "you know what happens when you assume, don't you?" well, yes, yes i do. fish die.) that the water in the trash can was the water from the pond. but turns out it was fresh water straight from the tap. chlorinated water. deadly water. (but that discovery comes later. and isn't made by me.) so p'khao (the husband) asks what color would i like for the pond to be painted - he's leaning towards blue. how would i feel about blue?

i'm not a huge fan of blue. and this particular shade of blue doesn't strike me as pond friendly. so i suggest white. he asks me several time if i'm sure that i want white and every time i say yes, i'm sure. white is what i want. white, white, white. only, i wasn't saying white. (it's an easy mistake, they are close in sound and i was feeling pressured.) so off p'khao went in search of the paint i'd asked for. only he wasn't sure i was right about this color choice, so he made an executive decision. (which is something i'm not so sure the hired help should feel so comfortable doing, but in this case, it was a very, very good thing.) and chose a very nice teal-y blue. he got the pond about half way painted on monday. so the fish were left in the trash can for the night.

the next morning (yes, this is when the discovery happens) #2 and #3 wander out to check on the fish. and they make the discovery that the fish, they are dead. tragic thing to come upon before you've made it out the door to school. i'm not home on tuesday to see p'khao or p'jim, so no discussion about the fish happens. but today there are big apologies. and heart felt don't-worry-about-its all around. i assure them that i hold no ill will. that it really is okay. and it takes me a bit to convince them to not replace the fish. that the kids want to go pick out new ones.

and so, as they are leaving. they bring me a special lunch. a we-feel-so-bad-we-killed-your-fish-and-we-want-to-do-what-we-can-to-make-it-up-to-you special kind of lunch.

i haven't been able to eat it. i'm thinking of saving it and serving it to the kids for dinner tonight.

lost that lovin' feelin'

when we first moved to thailand thailand loved me. big pink puffy heart loved me. and it showed me the love in the most amazing way. not with diamonds nor chocolates nor any of those frivolous things. nope thailand showed me it's love with weightloss. without dieting, without excercise, without even thinking about it. the weight came off. lots of weight. and it was amazing! absolutely amazing.

but alas.

it seems the honeymoon is over. thailand no longer loves me like it used to. and apparently thailand is no longer interested in making the effort. and the weight. well, as they say, what comes down must go up - or something like that. since i've noticed the lack of attention i've been getting from thailand i've turned up the charm. i've done all that i can think of to woo thailand back. (and i have no idea how you woo an entire country, but i've given it my best.) i know that thailand has had some distractions. what with protests and riots and being on the brink of civil war and all. but it's been several days since they broke up the shindig in bangkok, so i've come to the conclusion that this relationship is over. and i'm gonna have to stand on my own two feet and do something myself. (that is if i want something done.)

i'm working on a plan. a plan that i'm certain will involve several steps. the first one is to quit drinking cokes. not too painful. the second one will be to work out. for real. and who knows what steps might follow. we'll see. but please, thailand, can you try to love me just a little. i don't know how much love it will take for

  • give up pretty, fancy coffees
to not be one of the steps. but for all that is good and right. please. i'm begging. have a little mercy.

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the happiness project #5

the rules:

  • simply post a photo of something that makes you wildly happy.

favorite color - orange. favorite flower - gerbera daisy.


that time of year

i know not long ago i posted about my general friend making suckiness, but i've taken steps - or maybe it's better worded to say others have taken steps - to help me make progress in friend making endeavors. and it's good. and i'm in a much better place. but you know how it goes, for every two steps forward you take one step back. over the next few weeks it's gonna begin to feel like i live in a ghost town. and we're part of the skeleton crew that's to be left behind. (which could possibly mean that friend making will go easier. options are limited and my hand waving high in the air while i squeal "pick me, pick me" won't be so easy to ignore.)

school break is upon us and it's time for furloughs and home visits. and then the summer will drag. 3 of #3's closest friends are going to be going. one for good, one for 6 months and one for 8 weeks. #2's closest friend will be gone for 8 weeks. i haven't heard what's going on with #1's friends, but seeing as how many of his friends are thai, it's possible he'll have a few more options. the thai schools just started their term, so there are no summer activities to be had. no camps. no summer movie spectaculars. not even vacation bible school this year.

midway through the break #1 and the man will head to the states for a month. which is good and bad. good because it means we can stock up on a few necessities - like shoes to replace the shoes that one of the dogs has eaten. and bad because there will be the jealous feelings of those of us who aren't headed to the states.

but for now, we've just got to get through the next 7 1/2 days of school. (there's a holiday thrown in there, because there's no way we could make it to the end without some kind of break.) actually, it's only 7 1/2 school days for #3. for #2 it's 4 days of school and 3 days of field trips. and for #1 it's 4 days of testing and then he's done.

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like a two year old

so, i'm thinking that yesterday the red shirts were throwing a temper tantrum. because today has been quiet. we're still under curfew, but no bam-bam-bangs to be heard. i can smell something burning nearby and traffic is being diverted through our neighborhood from the main road closest to us. thai schools are closed tomorrow, but our kids' school will be open. i think it's easier to make decisions to close campus when it's the first week of school - which is what it is for the thai kids. finals week is next week for our kids and it's difficult to miss days. #3's class has a field trip tomorrow. i'm not sure how i feel about that. it's probably perfectly safe, but i'm still a little nervous about it.

i'm trying not to be all worst case scenario and alarmist, but it's hard to not play what if. i'm praying that the worst is over, but i've read reports and heard people say that it's only really just begun.

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photos from this evening

don't worry, i didn't actually take any of these. if by take you mean leave my house with my camera. but, if you mean to take what isn't yours - then i definitely took these. but i asked.

all these photos were taken within a mile of our house

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more than just a bit worried

as i headed to the school to pick up my kids this afternoon i had several thai neighbors tell me to "get my kids and get home. those are guns and bombs you hear."

there is a situation (i don't know what to really call it, other than scary) happening not far from us - less than a mile away. they've barricaded the bridge and are burning tires. there has been gunfire and bombs, but i don't know any more than that. the red shirt leaders turned themselves in in bangkok and this has led to rioting in bangkok - burning and looting. i believe it's possible that this is also the trigger to whatever is happening in chiang mai. as i type this there is a helicopter circling over head - i don't think their focus is our neighborhood, we're just close enough to the bridge. i don't feel like we are in immediate danger. but i have no idea where this is headed.

the two thai schools closest to our kids's school have already announced they that will be closed the remainder of the week. (our school actually sits in the middle of the campus of one of these.) our househelp's husband came by to tell us to stay in our house. and we have received similar advice from others. it's been strongly suggested we keep our kids home for the next two days.

we know just enough to be scared.

picture taken from chiang mai mail's facebook page

*update - school closed for tomorrow due to political unrest.*

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the happiness project #4

the rules:

  • simply post a photo of something that makes you wildly happy.

the man.

true story #1 - 15 year old boy asks #2 to prom. (when your graduating class includes only 18 or so folks, the entire high school gets to go to prom) #2 says no. 15 year old boy is in the play godspell. after watching the play, the man walks up on the stage to shake the hand of 15 year old boy and to tell him, "job well done." he then pulls 15 year old boy into the manly handshake-hug (you've seen it done) and whispers in his ear, "stay away from my daughter."

true story #2 - #1 has a presentation to give in his model united nations class - his topic is the fifth united nation millennium development goal - maternal health. he asks the man to be a "guest speaker". the man breaks the ice with this gem, "hi, i'm #1's dad. obviously i'm where he gets his good looks from. and girls, if you're interested in him, 25 years from now, it's possible he'll look a lot like this." and gestures to himself.

i think he might be losing his cool dad rep.


potluck the second helping

it's monday again and that means i've got plenty to say, but not a lot of content. so, once again, it's a potluck.

today, i'm not so hot. just very, very warm. right now it's 36 celsius. which is the same as almost 97 degrees. so much cooler than last week. but in bangkok, things are hot hot hot. and i'm talking politics. i have no idea when it will settle down or how. and since this is all new to everyone in the entire country, no one else knows, either. but there's more and more talk of it coming our way. two bombs at atms last night and rumor of a bus caught on fire - both here in town.

this week dr. google has diagnosed me with acanthocheilonemiasis. i bet that changes when the mosquito bites go away and my skin no longer itches.

one sad little mangosteen, one gecko (well, he's not there anymore, but he was there just now, when i peeked), red apples and a light box thing.

this week i didn't burn
moroccan carrots
tangy-sweet plum chicken
or take out.

and that's the way to get in a big post of nothingness. well, except the bangkok thing. that one's not nothing.

and, just like last week, this is a blog hop. you can join the fun, too.

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what to wear? what to wear?

every morning i look in the closet and can not figure out what to wear. it all looks hot. but, i've heard over and over that a good rule of thumb is to do what the locals do. so today i decided to notice what they wear. i snapped a few pictures, you know to help me remember what i'm looking for while building my wardrobe. i did notice a trend, but i'm not so sure i'm gonna be able to pull off such a fashion forward look when it's 42 degrees (107). and it's been hovering right around that temp for the better part of forever.

this seems a tad somber. i tend to like brighter colors.

orange? i love orange.

the flannel is sort of cute. sort of.

he's got corduroy going on. don't know if i can pull it off.

even with the shorts and flip flops there's something that seems a tad heavy about these outfits.

better choices of color.

this couple gets my vote for best dressed!

looks like it's back to the drawing board. cuz from what i've seen today. the locals are nutz.

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that's a mighty big promise

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state of emergency

yes, a state of emergency has been declared for 15 more provinces in thailand. including chiang mai. and, after a bit of internet searching, i have a definition from thailand's emergency decree that tells just what that means.

upon declaring the enforcement of a emergency decree, the prime minister has the power to issue the regulations including:

to prohibit any person from departing from a dwelling place;

to prohibit the assembly or gathering of persons at any place or the commission of any act which may cause unrest;

to prohibit the press release, distribution or dissemination of letters, publications or any means of communication containing texts which may instigate fear amongst the people or is intended to distort information;

to prohibit the use of routes or vehicles or prescribe conditions on the use of routes or vehicle;

to prohibit the use of buildings or enter into or stay in any place;

to evacuate people out of a designated area for the safety of such people or to prohibit any person from entering a designated area.
so what does that look like? this morning things are very much the same. kids off to school, breakfast with michael, and now out shopping for a birthday present for a friend of #3.

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i need need need someone to make these

if you click on the recipe card it gets bigger

i saw this recipe today over at picky palate. and it made me sorta mad at my kids. when my parents came to visit they brought with them several jars of marshmallow cream. mmm mmm good. and since they've left, my kids have eaten many, many fluffernutter - that would be marshmallow cream and peanut butter - sandwiches. they've eaten so many of them that the marshmallow cream is completely and totally gone.

some of you might remember a few years back when i asked someone, anyone to make the pioneer woman's apple dumplings because i can't get several of the ingredients here. and some of you did make them. and said they were oh-so-good. well, i'm pretty sure these cookies will be oh-so-gooder.

so, someone please help a girl out. make them and tell me just how very good they are.

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hate to play favorites

when you're in thailand - where you can get real, honest to goodness thai food - and you've been invited to dinner and the dinner party includes the following guests

  • 1 filipina
  • 1 indian
  • 3 thai
  • 1 ugandan
  • 2 ethiopian
  • 2 american
what do you eat?

chinese, of course.

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happiness project #4

the rules:
  • simply post a photo of something that makes you wildly happy.

this is what it looks like when we lock up for the night. i'm a big fan of being done at the end of the day and knowing everyone's home and safe.


some mondays might mean potluck

i have nothing worthy of an entire post to write about, but i've still got words i am desperate want to use. so i'm stealing holly's potluck monday idea. and i might steal it every monday. that's for me to know and you to find out. (ok, really i've got no idea.) what's a posting potluck? well, you know how when you go to a potluck dinner and everyone brings a dish that is for the most part absolutely unrelated to any other dish there, but it still tastes good? it's sort of like that. but with random thoughts instead of food. and i'm the only one who contributes.

i sure am. today the temp hit 41, which to my farenheit temperature telling brain sounds lovely. but they use celsius here and that that translates to 107 farenheit. and we have to sleep without aircon. which means i don't sleep. i just sweat. and that is not at all refreshing.

this week dr. google thinks i might be menopausal or possible going through nicotine withdrawal. i'm betting he's wrong on both accounts.

mangosteen, apples, rambuton, onions and a tide to go pen. the tide to go pen is the most valuable.

carnitas, spaghetti or boiled eggs. i also didn't burn a souffle. of course, i didn't make a souffle.

and that's all the random i have to offer.

oh, and this is a bloghop. i'm not exactly sure what that means or how it works, but i'm doing it. and you can, too.

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now you see him, now you don't.

the man has just returned from indonesia. he was gone four days - which is a short time in comparison to his normal trips. but, when you figure in his next most recent trip was 3 weeks long and had him returning late last saturday night (giving him a little over 2 days at home) it didn't feel so short. i have people ask me all the time "how do you do it?" how do we manage the comings and goings. and my answer is we just do. i don't mean to sound flippant, but it's one of those things that we do because we have to. we knew that the traveling and the seperation came with this job - with this opportunity to live in thailand. but knowing it and adjusting to it are two very different things. and sometimes it is hard.

when he's not here the whole family dynamic changes. basically, we function as a single parent family. but single parenting when you're not really a single parent can be difficult. it's not so great for the kids to have only me at home. i am not the fun parent. i am the one that is most likely to say, "no." when i'm reacting to something, i try hard to think about how he would react and balance my over the top with his a bit more laid back nature. i frequently don't succeed.

but apart from the parenting thing there's the whole he's my spouse thing. you know, the "we're in this together" thing. except, often we're not. at least not geographically. and i find myself becoming resentful. the bills, the kids, meal planning, household or car repairs (planned and surprise) and any other day to day thing (like bicycle-vs.-motorcy-not-really-an-accident accidents) all fall to me when he's gone. and i handle it all. not always well, but it usually gets taken care of. the odd thing is that the things that bother me most are the things i would be responsible for if he were home. i read an article the other day and this quote was in it (you can click on the quote for the full article).

The difficulty of living out the married life at a distance is that the independence you need to develop in order to function well apart, directly challenges the healthy interdependence that defines a good marriage when you are together.
i couldn't have said that better myself. and i it points to what i find most difficult. i work pretty hard to not develop that independence. to not have 2 different norms - the he's home norm and the he's away norms. (of course, we do have 2 norms - we have the let's pretend he's not away norm and the he's home norm). and by doing this, i think i might be making things more difficult. my fear of becoming comfortable without him might be interfering with my being able to function without him. when i'm dealing with the kids, reminding myself that i'm not the fun parent or that he would handle this differently isn't at all helpful.

there's nothing we can do to change his travel. and i'm not looking to. what needs to change is my attitude. it's not a betrayal for me to truly single parent while he's gone. it will probably make things better - certainly for my relationship with my kids, but also for our marriage. the article i quoted above is about the unexpected good of life with a traveling spouse. and i think there is unexpected good, but i think if we're gonna find it i have to embrace the role of not traveling spouse.

got to be startin' somethin'

we've now been in thailand coming up on 2 and 1/2 years. and i'm finally ready to invest in something. i've spent the last 18 months being the christian ed. chair at our church. which means i've taken care of children's ministry. in a very mediocre way. it was something i got into spur of the moment like. with no thought given. and seeing as it's an 18 month commitment and i very clearly said "no" when asked if i'd be interested in another term - i'm wrapping that one up and not looking back. so, now it's time for something new. i would love for the next thing to be something i really want to do - you know be a little more intentional about it and less spur of the moment.

i want to be more involved at the kids' school. in the states i was extremely involved and i miss that terribly. i've taken care of this one. i'm going to be the ptg secretary next year. this involved an election - i was unapposed, but still people had to raise their hands and all.

another thing i know i want to do is become more familiar with the local compassion office. i've sent a tentative email to see if there are things i can do there. if we were in the states i would offer to do administrative type things - but here there's the whole language thing. i know they would like me to teach english, but i've given that a try on two occasions and i'm really, really bad at it. i really hope this one works out.

and there is one other thing i'd like to do. there are several orphanages in the area. i'd like to get involved with one. i'd like for the kids to be able to be involved, too. at least #1 and #2. not that i wouldn't like for #3 to be involved, but it's likely that he's too young. so i've put some feelers out on that one, too.

and as i think about this, i'm a little worried. i know three separate things at one time seems alot, in my head i have it all working out. no problems. but it involves setting boundaries. that might be a problem. i'm not good with boundaries. (that's how come we have three dogs.) i have just emailed the ptg president to see exactly what kind of commitment i'm looking at. i don't really think it's too scary, a few meetings and such. in my tentative email to compassion i almost mentioned that i was available 1 morning a week. wishing i had done that. and i've told the orphanage 2 days a week. we're gonna have to work out times and days and such. and seeing as they do have a schedule that the kids are on it might not be too hard to keep it to two days. so, see, it all works out perfectly.

the happiness project #3

the rules:

  • simply post a photo of something that makes you wildly happy.

these are the koi in our pond. they are happy to eat the same meal three times a day. everyday. not one complaint.


taken advantage of

the motorcy incident is behind us and i'm pretty certain that #1 was not at fault - but this cultural transaction still cost us 4ooo฿ ($124.00). we might have been able to put up a fight and pay less. we could have argued that the guy was putting on an act and his injuries were not as bad as he was making them out to be. we could have pointed out that what he said was the estimate for repairs to his motorcy seemed to be double what it should have been. and since we were reimbursing him for time missed from work we could have said we'd only pay for the 2 days the doctor excused and not the five days he was certain he needed. and we would have been right. but in order to do that we would have been saying we didn't believe him. that we thought he was lying. which would have caused him to lose face. and in so many dealings with thai the right outcome is the outcome that helps save face. or at least causes the least loss of face.

part of me thinks that his guy wasn't so worried with saving face. that the saving face thing was convenient because he knew it would be difficult for us to put up too much of an argument. and i don't like that. i don't like feeling like i've gotten the short end of the stick.

but there's more to it than just money and the hurt feelings. the big picture includes the entire neighborhood. the guy works just around the corner from us. the entire neighborhood knew what had happened and who was invovled within seconds of the incident. and the entire neighborhood was watching to see how it would turn out. everyone had an opinion of how it happened and who was at fault. and i think when it comes down to a he said/he said involving a thai security guard and a farang teen it's not too difficult to reach a conclusion that does not favor #1. so, to keep the peace we paid. and then explained to #1 that we did believe him even though our actions made it appear that we didn't.

i don't know if we did he right thing. there probably was a better way to handle it, but we did the best we could and now we have another story to add to our time in thailand tale.

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the truth will out

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