Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sundays from Singapore: Some good and some bad


What a busy day this has been! It started out with a dream involving a large barbeque grill, some motorcycles, and a herd of elephants, but that's for another time. Then the thunder and rain came, but left quickly. Then I had to get up.

Today, I was to run the washer, because last night, the floor in the "yard" was covered in water. The rug that I have in front of the machines was drenched. I naturally accused the washer of having an accident, which it hotly denied. So I ran it, and watched little puffs of water spurt from under the machine. But then I noticed that the cold water hose was leaking at the bib and thought I had the mystery solved.
The offending washer pretending it's innocent!

So this morning, after the floor dried overnight, I went to run it again. Now, I was not about to stand out there in the muggy heat waiting for the appropriate draining to happen, so I kinda missed the actual cycle. But there was a bit of water on the ground, Of course, there was also water dripping in quantity from the ceiling accompanied by a multitude of paint bubbles and stains. *Sigh* The sky really is falling. I have reported the emergency to the building manager, along with the broken seal on the toilet that has turned it into a startling rocking chair in the middle of the night!

We received some guest room furniture from the same wonderful store that we got the dining set from. I was also to receive the replacement for the incorrect drapes in the guest room today. I have a corner window in that room, with a narrow side and a wider side, which the drape maker chose to ignore and provide two equal width curtains for a flat window. So the left side wraps around the corner and half way across the right window, which then pulls to the center of the deal instead of to the right side, but then it really can't open at all because of the wrapped corner. You following so far?

Crazy corner window with mismatched sizes.

Today, I was supposed to get a correct left side drape, and the existing two curtains were to magically transform into one wider drape for the right side, Instead, I got another piece of work that doesn't fit any window, being this time too narrow. So now I have 3 pieces that don't fit anything at all. This, I am told, will be remedied by 11:00 AM tomorrow. I can't wait to see what I get.

Now for the good news. Oh, you thought I already told you the good stuff?? Anyway, I got tired of running to the grocery everyday because I lack both the storage space and the mode of transportation to stockpile much. My shopping cart is too short and holds too little to be much help. So I broke down and did what any self-respecting ex-patriot Tai Tai (literally "ladies who lunch) and I called the provisioner who has called me faithfully for three weeks. Actually, I wrote out a shopping list, carefully including all the really heavy or bulky items like cases of Coke, and a few really hard to find American goodies like Stouffer's Mac and Cheese. I faxed the list over and then waited. Sure 'nuff, at about 5:30 this afternoon, Lawrence raced in with exactly what I ordered. The frozen foods were solidly frozen and kept in an insulated bag, and this little guy, no bigger than Not Quite Grown, carted in two cases of soda at break neck speed. Maybe that was the point, he was breaking his neck carrying it all!

I think I could get used to somebody bringing me my groceries everyday or every week, my choice. It all costs only a few pennies more per item than I would have spent at the market, and I can still stand upright. Next to try is the Swiss butcher who delivers free if your order is over $150S, which isn't hard when you can't get meat pieces like roasts in the market. Maybe he could come once a month or so and stock my shoebox size freezer.

So I will end the day, having taken a dip in the pool, by putting my feet up and reading a good book. I can rest easy knowing that my family will be well fed, and I won't have to walk slumped over to one side, limping like one of my legs is too short. I will, however, have to wear galoshes to do laundry, and a seat belt to stay safe in the bathroom.

Have a good day, all.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Presents revealed!

So, I have been crafting away for weeks before Christmas, but couldn't talk about the gifts here because, well, it would ruin the surprise. I made some other things as well, but here is the main line up.

Each girl got a set of decorated file folders for their important "grown-up" papers, like pay stubs, and bank statements.

They also each got a purse made by me, with a coordinating covered mini notebook, inspired by this tutorial.

Almost Grown's purse.

Not Quite Grown's.

Dh got a collage featuring baby pictures of Not Quite Grown to coordinate with the one of Almost Grown I made him last year.

Remember this post? I talked about making MIL some felt green beans? Well, that is exactly what I sent her for Christmas! She doesn't like many vegetables, but said she liked green beans. I cook my beans until they are bright green and tender, but people of a "certain age" seem to think they are poisonous if they aren't cooked until grey and whimpering for their lives. We had a bit of a "to do" over my beans and so I thought this would make a nice gift.

Beaded felt green beans with felt *pat* of butter!

Each girl also got a collage of a frequent saying of theirs. Almost Grown's says, "Have gone to find myself. If I arrive before I return, please ask me to wait!"

Not Quite Grown's says, "Daddy, I want a pony! Buy it for me NOW!"

Almost Grown got some sleeping shorts made from a flannel sheet with flamingos and Airsteam trailers on it. Not Quite Grown, who is moving off campus next year into an apartment, got an apron, made from thrifted sheets.

As for me, I got some novels, and some crafting books, including Secret of Rusty Things, a wire working book, and a book of vintage labels.

I also got...the latest issue of Victoria, and yes, that is a La Vie Claire magazine, located in "the big city!"

I hope everyone got fun gifts and had a wonderful time with their families! And now, back to reality!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, Blogland!

I really want to wish all my friends (and family) in Blogland a very Merry Christmas! My world has greatly expanded since I found the wide world of blogs and for that, I am grateful. I can't wait for Christmas Day to get here so I can show you all what I have been working on. I don't like keeping secrets, and frankly, I suck at lying! So it will be nice to get all the secret keeping over and get back to core dumping the craziness that is my life all over the web. And using my own photos!

Since you know I can't remain serious for very long (it might be hazardous to my {mental} health,) I thought about writing my thank you notes BEFORE opening the gifts. That way, I can thank the person for whatever I pretend is in the gift and make the appropriate comments about the fuzzy toilet cover from my MIL or the book on 101 uses for duct tape from my sister. Big fun, yes, but instead I give you an oldie but goodie...

The Twelve Thank-You Notes of Christmas

Photo by Today is a Good Day

Dec 25

My dearest darling Edward,

What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me! That sweet partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you, and thank you.

Your deeply loving


Dec. 26

Beloved Edward,

The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing away in the pear-tree as I write. I'm so touched and grateful!

With undying love, as always,


Dec. 27

My darling Edward,

You do think of the most original presents! Who ever thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It's a pity we have no chicken coops, but I expect we'll find some. Anyway, thank you so much; they're lovely.

Your devoted Emily.

Dec. 28

Dearest Edward,

What a surprise! Four calling birds arrived this morning. They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly - they make telephoning almost impossible - but I expect they'll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I'm very grateful, of course I am.

Love from Emily.

Dec. 29

Dearest Edward,

The mailman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly! A really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I'm afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says she wants to use the rings to "wring" their necks. Mother has such a sense of humor. This time she's only joking, I think, but I do know what she means. Still, I love the rings.

Bless you,


Dec. 30

Dear Edward,

Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn't six socking great geese laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped that you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room for them, and they've already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but let's call a halt, shall we?



Photo by bulldog1

Dec. 31


I am quite sure I said NO MORE BIRDS. This morning I woke up to find no fewer than seven swans, all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I'd rather not think what's happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds, to say nothing of what they leave behind them, so please, please, stop!

Your Emily.

Jan 1

Frankly, I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I'm afraid I don't find it very amusing.


Jan. 2

See here, Edward,

This has gone far enough. You say you're sending me nine ladies dancing. All I can say is, judging from the way they dance, they're certainly not ladies. The village just isn't accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies cavorting round the green, and it's Mother and I who get the blame. If you value our friendship, which I do (though less and less), kindly stop this ridiculous behavior at once!


Jan 3

As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing up and down all over what used to be the garden, before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it. And several of them, I have just noticed, are taking inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the neighbors are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again.


Photo by greenmelinda

Jan 4

This is the last straw! You know I detest bagpipes! The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse, and a man from the council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mother has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance to a home for the bewildered. I hope you're satisfied.

Jan. 5


Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to inform you that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30 this morning of the entire percussion section of the London Symphony Orchestra, and several of their friends, she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent you importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

G. Creep

Attorney at law.

Story courtesy of

{Edit: Original story written by John Julius Norwich}

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sundays from Singapore: Getting a Haircut

Actually the salon I ended up using for the remainder of my residency in Singapore.


Who would have thought that even getting a haircut would turn out to be an unusual experience?

Looking like the Bush Woman of Borneo, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and try a hairstylist. Now, I hate having to test drive a new person. I just want my same person, who knows what I want, and give me the same old cut without trying to persuade me to try something "fresher." So, I approached this upcoming haircut with trepidation, and a bit of kicking and screaming.

Dh had gotten a referral from Larry for a gal just across the street at the mall. Dh had gone, and was most pleased with the experience. So he booked me an appointment. To distract myself from the impending carnage, I dragged a daughter and the shopping cart along to load her up with groceries. We no doubt thrilled the lady at the meat counter when we ordered a "whole" kilo of hamburger for a meatloaf (about 2 pounds) because they just don't eat that much meat here and she must have thought we were feeding the whole block.

Daughter headed off, seriously stooped over since the cart was made for one of the midgets from the Wizard of Oz. I calmed my nerves with a passionfruit slushee. And so I entered the music pulsating, chemical-perfumed den of destruction.

I should have gone here... the local Hagen-Daz ice cream store!

Soon after being seated, a young gal came up bearing a cup of tea. She asked if she could wash my hair. Of course. As I started to rise to follow her to the sink area, she produced a handful of glob and a squeeze bottle of who-knows-what. Without ever leaving my seat, she proceeded to smear the glob around and turned it into the most wonderful foam with the help of whatever was in the squeeze bottle. Since I had to remove my glasses, what followed is a bit fuzzy, literally. The foam grew and grew as she rubbed it around. Then she started to massage my head, temples and neck! For several minutes, she raked my scalp with her fingertips, running them up and down my neck, and loosening my scalp most deliciously. I'm sure that in the process, she was making spiky horns and Dippity-Do waves in my hair for the enjoyment of her coworkers, but I didn't care. I probably would have fallen asleep, if the music was more soothing and less techno.

I was rinsed off, also with massaging, in the sink, toweled dry and returned to my chair, where I proceeded to sag to one side in relaxation. And then the dream started to fade. I was handed some of those ridiculous hairstyling books to peruse, you know, the ones with all the weird styles that nobody not taking copious quantities of mind-altering drugs would wear. I think these are kind of like runway fashion shows where everyone attending applauds wildly for their favorite designer who is showcasing, in public, his most horrifying nightmares in fabric. Nobody wears these monstrosities! So what was I supposed to do with these books. except wince, and occasionally laugh out loud.

At the time, I thought the book maneuver was a stalling tactic, because I had yet to meet the stylist, and to some extent, I was right. Jenny finally appeared and apologized for running behind(behind what I didn't ask.) When she eventually turned her full attention to me, she asked (gasp!), which of those silly hairstyles was the one I wanted! Couldn't she tell that this sophisticated lady would look decidedly uncool in a purple and orange, asymmetrical, wedge cut, with crimped tendrils hanging down like baby dreadlocks? What in my appearance tipped her off that underneath my "I am Woman...I am Tired" tee-shirt and stretch waist shorts, there beat the heart of a tattooed, dope-smoking headbanger? Am I so transparent?

And so began the ritualistic give and take of negotiating with your hairstylist on what you really want and what they think you need. I wanted thinned, layered, and shorter. She said, no, too short already. She accused me (most politely, of course) of trimming my own bangs because there wasn't anything left for her cut. I never! She didn't want to trim anything off of the sides, which by the way, stick out most annoyingly when I sweat, which is all the time! She said, again, that they were too short already. I'm sure she wondered why I was even there in the first place!

Now the good news is, that when she finally got down to the business of actually snipping something, she was the most gentle hair cutter have ever had. This was definitely a "No Doinking Zone." By this I mean that when it was all over, not that much transpired, I didn't feel as if my scalp resembled the dimpled surface of a gold ball. Usually, I have been "doinked" by the comb so many times, my head is dented, and my ears have been torn slightly away from my face. Not here, not this stylist.

So I sat blind and she gentle snipped away at 2 or 3 hairs and then took me back to the sink to rinse. After a flurry of blow-drying, I was presented with a mirror to admire the effect. Without my glasses, the effect was rather pleasant, but when I regained my full vision, I looked like one of the Beatles with a bad toupee. The sides were short, but the top was fuller, and dried so as to fountain out from the crown. Perhaps, Jenny didn't realize that I am taller than she is by a foot, and that I didn't need elevator hair to lift my self-esteem.

We negotiated a bit more, with her trying to explain how much better it will all be after the next cut, when it had grown out a bit more. She said it was so pouffy now, because it was so short. Okay, I might be able to buy that one. She relented a little and slimed the top down with something so secret, they bring out little handfuls at a time from the back room. Whatever! It controlled the worse of the fountain thing.

Feeling already out of my element, I did the only rational thing after I left the salon. I went directly to the department store and bought the biggest ironing board I could find and strolled out with it. Conveniently enough, they were playing "California Girls" by the Beach Boys on the stereo, so I put a little swagger in my step, just to complete the look.



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not Quite Grown is Home!!

That's Not Quite Grown on the left and Almost Grown on the right! All my chickens are now back at home. I keep asking if they are smart enough yet so they can stay here and not return to college. But both think there is more to learn in the big bad world. Go figure!

You can tell that they have the same *ham bone* problem that I do! We are undoubtedly a family of goofballs! (Yes, DH, that includes you! And if you deny it, I will be publishing the picture of you trying out for the Broadway production of "David the Gnome!") {Edit: Yeah, he denies it, but has threatened to post an even more embarrassing picture of me, so I will pass. Not that he has a blog or knows how to post.}

Crafting continues, although not as fast as I would like. What is with people wanting to eat more than once a day? Why do we have to go out to get milk? Can't someone just squeeze it from some animal around here? I'd show you what I am making, but that would spoil the surprised look on the faces of my loved ones as they open a gift of Homemade Dorkiness.

Speaking about making stuff, I have tried twice and failed twice to make this No Knead Bread recipe. I tried it first on what turned out to be the coldest day and night of the year. No rising. Next, I tried putting the bowl into the oven with the oven light on all night. Not much rising, but it was twitchin' a might! And I think it fermented too. Smells like strange beer in my kitchen now. *Sigh* Back to Wonder Bread :(

In other news (?), since my Bad Boy Buggy is still at the shop for repair, I don't have much in the way of transportation around the property. Yes, I know I *could* walk, but that just smacks of work or exercise, so instead, I took my tractor out for a drive. I had a good time, chewed up some muddy parts of the road, moved a couple of fallen trees to the side, cut a few doughnuts, and popped the occasional wheelie (but don't tell DH!) On the farm, you make your own fun.

So, now the family is intact, Nick the dog is guarding "his" girls in case they disappear again, and all is well here. It's raining pretty good now, so no more tractor rides for a while. I took the Christmas turkey out to thaw (can't believe Christmas is in less than a week!) I haven't done any baking, but Barb has promised me some of her diet chocolate chip cookies (with choco covered ants.) I am happy, healthy, and is good!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sundays from Singapore: The little things

Singapore skyline. Photo by Christopher Chan

Are you guys tired of these posts yet?? Let me know if you are and I will stop torturing you!

August 8, 2001

I need an ironing board. A real one, not like the table top one I have used for years. I bought some great furniture for my sewing room, but the counters are too high for the little guy now. So I need a grown-up, stand -on-its-own-two-feet ironing board. And this has become a problem.

I have been eyeing various boards at the mall, but am having trouble reading the German labels. Isn't it enough that I have to understand spoken Chinese languages, now I have to decode German or Dutch or whatever it is too? I mean, making such a purchase is serious business.

First off, I am determined to find a board that reaches higher than my knees. If I have to run a steam-spewing, heavyweight doorstop over my clothes or sewing project to dewrinkle it, I want to do it without ending up like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Come to think of it, maybe thats why all the really old ladies here are so stooped, they are perpetually staring at the feet. Maybe it's from years and years of ironing their kinfolk's duds.

Back to the ironing board decision. For some indecipherable reason, probably clearly explained in another language, the choices here run from "expensive" to "who are they kidding!!" I'm sure I can get a small motorcycle (not that I would!) for the price of some of these inanimate objects. Perhaps it is because wearing well-pressed clothes is important when you smell like the breath of a thousand camels. Helps confuse people as to who the offender is. "Can't be him, his clothes are wrinkle-free!"

Then again, the cost is surely related to the range of sizes, from "I've had slivers in my foot wider than this," to "I think I've seen a CNN report on boat people sailing to America on these." I wonder what unusual things they are ironing over here that require such girth in a board.

But, undoubtedly, the real reason I haven't made my selection and subsequent purchase is the vision of my middle-age, slightly overweight self cruising through the mall with this "thing" tucked under my arm, as if I was a lost surfer looking for the tide. Not the cool sophisticated woman of the world image I am going for.

So, I have come up with a solution. I am going to make my decision, then have my loving husband carry the "thing" home for me. With the appropriate attire on, maybe shorts and slippers, he just might carry off the lost surfer image.

We bought some carpets over the last two days. What an education! I can now recognize the difference between a village carpet and a city one, silk versus wool, persian versus Kilim. But mostly I recognize that the carpet I will like best really belongs in a museum with people staring appreciatively at it. I mean, I couldn't actually walk on a $13,000 carpet!

Tonight, after buying another carpet, we had Mexican food for dinner. Pretty good, actually. But it was a little funny to be sitting in a restaurant, eating tacos, chips and salsa, and realizing that one was in Singapore. I wonder if the Singaporeans feel the same way when they go to Mexico and have Curried Fish Head Soup?

And speaking of Fish Head Soup, the newspaper reported on a man who sold $12 million US through his Do Do Fish Ball company. Really?! Now, this could spark a whole new line of wondering about fish anatomy, but i will leave the obvious questions to your imagination. It's enough that they sell the stuff in every food court!

Oh, no! I will need an ironing board cover too, won't I?

Love to all.

She's coming home!

Almost Grown gets home today! Well, she will if she gets her shirt on (dubious!), makes her plane, makes her connection and can hold the bad weather a bay.

In three days, her sister, Not Quite Grown arrives. Then Christmas can really begin!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Early Christmas gift for DH and some awesome singing

I want to promise y'all that crafting is taking place! But 'tis the season not to spill the beans before the receiverer person gets the stuff, so you'll just have to take my word for it. And I have the painted, glued, and sore fingers to prove it!

But yesterday, DH took delivery of his early Christmas present, a 45 gun safe. I know! Exciting, huh? Well it is to him and he has wanted one for some time. And this is the time of year to give the boy what he wants!

Two incredibly strong delivery men!

You know this thing is heavy when it cost a third of the purchase price to get somebody to drive it out to your house and wheel it into your garage! You also can tell it is heavy when it comes on a metal pallet! I think this safe weighs 700+ pounds, so there was no way I was putting it in my truck! The good news is that nobody is walking off with the thing.

So the guys come, armed with pallet lifts and refrigerator dollies, and easily maneuvered the monster into the garage.
That's DH removing the pallet. My hero!

After much shoving and wheeling... ta da!

One happy DH and his new safe!

In other news, my girls are coming home soon, starting with Almost Grown on Sunday, followed by Not Quite Grown on Wednesday. I just know my holiday funk will lift (evaporate and blow away completely) when they get home. And to get the funk-lifting started, a friend emailed this link for some incredible singing. I know it will brighten your day too!

Indiana U Chorale ~ Twelve Days of Christmas

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The one with the yardstick

Photo by Brave Heart

I haven't been much in the holiday mood, and had even started a post about that. As my dear departed mother used to say, "If you can't say anything nice... go b*tch at someone else!" Okay, she didn't really say that, but I bet she thought it. A look around blogland tells me that this funk is affecting more than a few this year.

So I wasn't feelin' this whole festive season stuff. I'm on a diet to lose some a lot of weight, so baking is out, although I thought about baking some gingerbread men and then breaking their heads off, but decided that was a bit meaner than I actually feel. I'm hoping that things will get better once Almost Grown and Not Quite Grown get home next week.

This is where the yardstick comes in. Penny from sewtakeahike was kind enough to join my Pay It Forward Handmade. Then I got an email from her, saying she was sending ME something! Cool, a PIF victim that doesn't understand how it is played and is going to shower me with stuff!

The package arrived today! And in it, was the yard stick!

It is a stick about 7 inches long with a note attached, that reads:

"This is a yard stick. I found it in my yard. It has many uses!! You kin measure the gas in the mower, play catch with the old hound, stir yer coffee, threaten the kids with it, scratch where it itches, ward off a crook, you kin even start a fire with it. But whatever you do, don't put it back in my yard, it's yer yardstick now!"

How cool is that?!? DH and I were cracking up, especially since the yard stick came in bubble wrap!

Penny said that when she saw it, she thought of me immediately. I'm assuming she saw it at a craft fair or something, but I guess she also could have seen it in her yard! I'm not exactly sure why she thought of me, Was it the greyish color? The lumps and bumps on it? Or the fact that she knew I would just love it!

To top it off, Penny send some cool notecards with the letter "L" on them. (Psst! For Lisa!)

Thank you, thank you, Penny! It's beginning to feel more like Christmas around here! I know in my heart that it is better to give than receive, but dang! Getting a gift is pretty neat too! I think I'm going to put in on my Christmas tree...right next to the headless gingerbread man!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trying to get caught up!

This is a bed. A what?

Okay, a bed covered in clean laundry!

Oh, a bed!

Sunday from Singapore: Ten things I miss about the USA

A little whiny, I know. Sorry!


1) I miss Target. My big, wonderful, well-stocked Target store. Home of linens and kitchenware and discount racks and toiletries. I miss being able to buy a large plastic bowl for popcorn quickly and cheaply. This, and a dustbin (trash can) larger than a thimble are my current Holy Grails. I also miss Walmart, but won't say so in case some of you are tempted to flame me for shopping there.

2) I miss off-the-rack clothing in sizes larger than Calista Flockhart squeezes into. Want to have some fun? Try asking a midget sales clerk for a bra in European size 90 and let the laughs begin!

3) I miss Fat Burger and Krispy Kremes and meal-sized salads, and I miss McDonald's Large Diet Cokes!!

4) I miss air conditioned public restrooms. Got desperate while out shopping today and had to avail myself of the cleanest toilets I could find. They were clean, but even under refrigeration, you must admit they can be odoriferous. With aroma-enhancing heat and humidity, well, let's say no more. I should share that in most public restrooms there is at least one stall that requires a step up. The reason becomes clear if you aren't watching where you step.

Some cultures prefer a toilet known locally as a squatter, which consists of a regular toilet bowl that has been mounted flush (get it?) with the floor, hence the elevated platform. It's like a glorified latrine, without a seat. For those of you desperate enough and coordinated enough to squat over a porcelain hole without falling over, you are good to go. For those of us who are more concerned with squeezing through the door with our packages than to paying attention, you just might twist your ankle in a most revolting manner.

The bathroom I was in today didn't have a squatter, rather a sign imploring those who would be disappointed at the lacking accommodations, to please refrain from standing upon the existing toilet seat in order to adapt to the situation.

5) I miss light switches that flip up to turn on and down to turn off. I also miss having those switches conveniently located inside the bathroom, instead of shutting myself into a dark room and having to leave again to illuminate the room. In a similar vein, I miss door locks that turn towards the jam to lock and away from it to unlock. I'm sure the neighbors who have listened to my blue streak wish this too.

6) I wish there were more than two access numbers for AOL here, and that the service was faster than Grandma Sincere in a 10K marathon.

7) I miss Joann's ETC and their $1.99 pattern sales. Also fabric sold by the yard and in widths of so many inches.

8) I miss heading out for some shopping and not worrying about how much I buy, 'cause I have a van and it can hold everything. I wish I had more hands here.

9) I miss being able to wear a dress all day without having to worry about developing jungle rot where my thighs rub together in the heat. I also miss having thighs that don't touch!

10) I miss hanging out with the homeschool group at the park and gym.

But mostly, I miss making phone calls to friends and family at the end of the day when I'm winding down, but recognize that y'all aren't too chatty at 4 AM. Thank God for the difficult-to-get-on, painfully slow internet that lets me core-dump my life to you regardless of the hour. And thank God for friends like you!

Missing you... Lisa

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cherry Mistmass

Photo by dearbarbie

Okay... I have done exactly no holiday decorating. Even the tree is still in it's box down in the shop. I haven't done my shopping, and crafting seems to have fallen by the wayside (and down the hill, into the creek...without a paddle!) I am having trouble getting *into the mood*, so I decided to do some baking, and drinking, instead. Here's the recipe:

Christmas Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the
Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one
level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer…Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy
bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar…Beat again.

At this point it’s best to make sure the Cuervo is still OK, try
another cup .. just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and
chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit off floor…

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers
just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsist icity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who giveshz a sheet.

Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your

Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink.
Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo
and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.


Author also unknown, but must be related to the Carol creator!
Oh, and don't call me anytime schoon. I'm still lickin' the beaterers.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Carols for the Mentally Ill

photo by Jakob Lodwick

Just for fun, no offense intended

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Queens Disoriented Are

3. Amnesia --- I Don't Know if I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and...

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Full Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

10. Agoraphobia --- I Heard the Bells of Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House

11. Senile Dementia --- Walking in a Winter Wonderland Miles From My House in My Slippers and Robe

12. Oppositional Defiance Disorder --- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus...So I Burned the House Down

13. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent Night, Holy oooh look at the froggy, can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

Author unknown but obviously has some issues!

Back from College

I survived four days back in college! I don't know how I made it through the first time. Maybe I was smarter then than I am now!

I traipsed off cross country when Almost Grown got word that she would have to start her thesis over or risk getting an "F." And it's due Dec 10th! Not the words any student, or tuition paying parent wants to hear! I figured I had to protect my investment and ensure my future care by said child, so I hauled it off to provide "moral" support to the effort.

Along the way, I spent a night back in Las Vegas because, well, you just can't get to where I was going from the farm in one day without killing yourself. But I got to stay the night and visit a bit with Awesome Ann!

Awesome Ann at our favorite hangout... IHOP! Hi, Ann!

Off to the freezing Pacific Northwest where I became, in the words of Almost Grown, the "Master of Her Existence." Also, research assistant and editor extraordinaire, but who's counting! I determined when she slept, ate, kissed her boyfriend (very satisfying power!) Seriously, I haven't had this much power over her life since...well never! In truth, my job was to provide mommy snuggles and help little miss ADD to *ground* herself and remain on task.

Almost Grown, allowing me to take a picture, but only after I threatened to post a baby picture featuring a naked and sand covered bottom! Notice the container of chocolate covered coffee beans on the table.

Could it be that the build up of trash in her room was contributing to a cluttered mind? Let it go, Mom.

One of the highlights of my trip was to find the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile parked at my hotel!
Bad nighttime photo.

Yes! There were wieners staying at the same hotel! You know, my dream job was always to drive one of these babies! Can you believe that at (ahem) almost 50, they think I'm too old for the job! Doesn't immaturity count for something?!? I even tried to buy a retired vehicle years ago, but, alas, they are not available for resale at your local car dealership. *Sigh*

So, the trip was exhausting, but successful. Almost Grown went from about 6 pages to 26 pages of mostly useable stuff. And I got to see and snuggle her (it's been too long) and the return trip provides me with more hateful things to add to my list of air travel complaints. Except, I just don't care! It's over!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sundays from Singapore: Adventures on the MRT

Orchard Road, the main shopping street.


Had a very busy day today, learning to ride the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway. And ride we did! Today, I wanted to show the girls how they would get around to the shopping they might want to do, so we headed out for the free trolley at the mall across the street. It is a cute little trolley, the interior being wood paneled with stained glass transoms. A bit like SF cable cars. I, of course, stood poised at the right hand door, ready to beat the locals at their own push-and-shove game, only to have the left side door open. Drat! I would have to exit on that side to hit the sidewalk instead of becoming roadkill, and had to hustle to get on. The trolley waits for no moron!

After alighting at the Marriott, we made our way through the pedestrian underpass to the MRT station. Wisely, I had read up in the expat handbook that I needed to buy a transit pass to ride either the MRT or the buses. These people don't trust just anyone with cash, so even using a public phone requires a prepaid card, which can't be bought anywhere near where you are.

Smugly, I waited my turn in the queue to buy the passes, and felt superior to the poor schlepps who only wanted to buy a day tourist pass or a one-way fare. That, I knew, had to be purchased at a separate machine, which only accepts $2 bills and coins. with cards in hand, we headed for the platforms.

I have to bless the government of Singapore. If I had been in France, I would have been jostled and smooshed to death trying to determine where to go and how to stand, all the while being pummeled with insults I couldn't understand.

Here, a large color-coded map showed the routes, and advised one to note the final destination for the direction you wanted to travel, It was even kind enough to remind the hapless traveller to "get off at your intended stop." Thank you! With only 2 directions on this particular line, was sure I could do this, and show my children how savvy I am.

The turnstiles are like those in Washington DC, sucking in your card, opening the stile, and spitting out your card once you have passed through. They even tell you how much money is left on your card!

Riding the subway was a pleasant, easy and clean mode of transportation. We rode 1 stop to the south to go to the post office, 5 stops back to retrieve the phonebooks of gold, and 4 stops back home again.

News stand in Holland Village, a quirkier more local venue.

Lim's in Holland Village... great treasures, gifts and furniture.

I've decided that the postal system is one part convenient, but the rest is simply hateful. The convenient part is that no matter where I want to send a letter outside of Singapore, it's $1S. Cool. I'll buy stamps. The hateful part is multifaceted.

To start with, I can get my mail delivered to my box downstairs, That's good. Sometime during the day, a truck pulls in and tosses the mail bags overboard. Later on, a guy on a scooter comes by and sorts it into the proper boxes by wadding up and cramming the letters through the little swinging slots in the box. You can tell who is not at home, because their mail is sticking out of the box like the hair on "Wilson" in the movie "Cast Away." Nothing like getting your bills and having them look as if an orangutan has dragged it through the jungle on its was to you. Maybe I should mash and stomp on the outgoing stuff, too, just so it's even.

The envelopes here either open at one short end (kinda cool, maybe I can be like Johnny Carson and rip the end off and blow into it!) or it opens on a long side, but on the bottom! Turn over a piece of business mail, and the smaller flap is on the bottom. How do they load the paper in and tamp it down before sealing? Do they slide it in, then jerk up sharply and hope it settles in place before gravity takes it's toll? I'll have to see if there is an instruction manual for this somewhere.

The there is the issue of outgoing mail. There isn't a slot in the group box for it. What? Turns out, you have to march yourself down to the post office if you want to send something. Remember when I said that I crossed the street, took the trolley, bought the MRT card and travelled 1 stop to the post office?? Bingo! The newspaper reports the postal system (there's probably a Minister of Mail somewhere) is bemoaning the fall off in business as a result of email and Short Messages on the handphones (cell phones.) I bet they can't figure the problem out, either.

As for me, I will continue to email, pay my bills online, and toss out the Christmas cards. I never get around to sending them out, I just keep buying more and thinking I'll start earlier. I must have 15 years worth of the things.

Tonight, I will tackle the phone books, widely regarded as a wealth of information. There are three of them; the residential white pages (don't need much there...i don't know anyone,) the yellow business pages (could be hepful), and the also- yellow buying guide. Does this mean i can't buy from businesses that aren't in that one? Also included was a small book on police procedures and practices. Hummmm.

Good night all, and happy reading.