Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
- I have too many blessed memories to even begin to count them. I tried for just a moment to count them, I got confused and then couldn't remember what number I was on and had to keep starting over.
- I've had the opportunity to so far live an amazing life doing legions of things that many might only wish for or dream of. Although if you are someone who is wishing for a life that is stable and sedentary and requires living in the same house or place for a long time - then you were not one wishing for my life!
- When I fill out a "bucket list" there are only a few things I haven't experienced and in one case I didn't even know what it was and when I found out I realized that I didn't really ever want to see or hear a glacier calf (I thought it was an animal - turns out it's a chunk of ice which means you'd have to be damn cold for a large part of time in order to experience. Count me out.)
- I've lost a few people that meant a great deal to me, but appreciate that I have not born an overabundance of sorrow. And speaking of lost, while "counting" my memories it astounded me to recognize that I have "lost" George the Younger three times in his short life. Once in a Pokemon store in Tokyo for about 15 minutes, second on the subway in Tokyo (although technically I was not the one to lose him - but he was lost nonetheless), and a third time last year while trick-or-treating (although he didn't realize he was lost - we were the only ones who thought so). Sorry for the tangent - thinking about "lost" took a wrong turn.
- I have three beautiful children that allow me to see a love greater than anything could have imagined. They also allow me to realize that I love them even when I want to leave them on a street corner for an hour while I gather my wits and figure out how to be a better mother than the one who is channeling "The Scream" in living color. Wavy lines and all.
- I have loved and been loved in return. I have also hated and been hated in return. But on the cosmic scale of balance, I'd like to believe that scale is leaning towards the "love" side.
- I have had a successful career that I fell in to without planning or worrying or really wishing for. It happened by a little hard work combined with a large dose of good old fashioned luck. I had great bosses that taught me a lot. I had crappy bosses that taught me what I didn't want to be. I had a wonderful time.
- I have been occasionally selfish and mean spirited and a generally not-so-nice person. I would like to think that I was unselfish, good-spirited and a generally nice person more often - but I have a few more years to make-up for that in the karma bank I think.
- Many of my most celebrated memories are when I have made people laugh over the years. And of course when I have laughed at myself! I apologize broadly for those times in the past (and future) when my sense of humor wasn't as funny I thought it was going to be! I fully realize my uncanny ability to put both feet in my mouth AND continue talking. Call it a "gift?"
- I have a family who loves me and whom I love deeply in return (even though I am not always the best at wearing my heart on my sleeve. I hope that they know I really do love them.)
Monday, November 23, 2009
- On Thursday morning (November 16th) my morning alarm clock quacked on at the normal hour of 6:50. It was quacking "Deck The Halls." I thought it was an anomaly. A joke. A little pre-thanksgiving ha ha ha.
- Later in the morning I headed over the the local nursery, thinking it would be open at 8:00 a.m. - - but alas didn't open until 8:30. I stopped in the neighborhood McDonald's to grab a cuppa while I waited and while standing in line was assaulted with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!" What the heck? I realized that it wasn't a joke, or an anomaly. This was full on Christmas music assault.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
One of the grand things about traveling to SE Asia is the food. I have mentioned it before and will mention it again. I believe that just going there to eat for a few weeks without seeing any historic monuments, or water festivals or riding in tuk-tuks would not be a poor use of days. Yup. Just eating breakfast and then sitting around until lunch and then taking a nap before dinner. Heaven.
The ace thing about this last trip to Cambodia was not only that we got to eat some delectable and scrumptious vittles - but that two of those unbelievable delicious meals were served in the homes of local Cambodians. A treat beyond compare. Street food = wonderful. Restaurant food = wonderful. Home-cooking = phenomenal!!
We had lunch with an ex-neighbor (Thyda) of one of my traveling companions. She and her partner had lived there for 9 months in 2008 (I think). We were treated to a meal that had been made by Tyda's mother before she left for work that morning. In reality, I suspect that Thyda's mother worked on that meal for several days beforehand. It's humbling the amount of work that she put in to make us a truly fabulous feast. What's more bewildering is that all of this cooking is accomplished without the benefit of a range top. Or a stove. Or any of the modern conveniences that I couldn't make a cup-o-noodle without. From what I could tell, all of this is painstakingly accomplished using a single gas burner. Gobsmacked, eh?
I was also treated to a fresh coconut, complete with bendy-straw, to drink. At first, I was kind of panicked. Heretofore, I have always hated coconut milk directly from the coconut. Honestly, I tried my first and last one in 1996 in Saigon. It was blazing hot out and I kept seeing these coconut vendors with their fresh coconuts resting on large blocks of ice - leading me to believe that the inside milk would be cool, crisp and refreshing. Not. Coconuts resting on a bed of ice do not, in my experience, suck up any of the cold that is emanating from the block of ice. Instead of cold, crisp and refreshing - I got slimy, warm and thick saliva-like ooze. Thought I was going to puke on the street in front of the closest cyclo driver. Based on this, I wondered how I was going to get past not drinking the coconut and, in turn, insulting our host. As luck would have it - I took a tiny sip and - skies parted and angles sang - the innards were cold! Cold made it not so slimy. Not so slimy made it palatable. Palatable made me not rude. Thank goodness.
My second home-cooked meal was at the family home of our Program Manager Sokeum "Ken". His wife is categorically one of the best cooks I have encountered. The whole meal was superb - end to end - - start to finish. The cook did not join us at the table. Neither did "Ken" or three of his four daughters. The oldest daughter was selected to eat with us. The rest of the family sat on a bench parallel to the table and watched us eat. They ate when we were finished - but not at the table. It seemed to give them immense pleasure watching us enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Earlier in the day, while we were driving through rice fields. My travel companion, and fellow board member for Camtom, idly mentioned in passing that one of the most exciting things to see at Ken's house was his ant hill. She mentioned that it was large and was worth seeing. I thought, "OK. An Ant Hill." Immediately after dinner, Elizabeth suggested that we all take a look at the ant hill. As it was already starting to get dark, I thought it make the most sense to see it then - since it would be impossible to see it well without light. But still I thought, "OK. An Ant Hill." Whatever.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Our little group of "hander-outers" was tough on the crowd. We required a resounding "trick-or-treat" before handing out the loot and we pretty much gave the kids without costumes a rough time. I'm of the ilk that it's a give and get situation. You give me something by showing up in a costume and you'll get the candy. Next year, I'm going to put up a sign that says "No costume, No candy, No exceptions!" We even had a couple of "solo" adults. No kidding. I'm talking older than 30 in full costume. What the? And, it must be said that if you are trick or treating with your child who is not yet able to walk and the hander-outer gives your child candy, this is not your invitation to then hold out your own bag for a treat. This happened more times than not. Hmmm?
Next up are the boys last night. George the Younger went out with "the big kids" - all alone - but carrying a myriad of cell phones. As luck would have it, we neither had to call him or the police. It was a banner night since George the Younger made it home on his feet instead of in the back of an unmarked police car. (For back story, please refer to blog entry in Oct 2008 Halloween 911)
Henry also made it out with his fellow fifth graders. They were trailed at a respectable distance by George the Elder. Turns out that when you are "trailing" you also get to play sherpa for the evening. George the Elder came home holding a few masks and weapons that were impediments to the job of getting a boat-load of candy from the neighbors.
I would also like to give a shout out to George the Elder, who in the face of choosing between taking Henry door-to-door and watching Game 3 of the Series, was a real stand-up guy and went for father-hood-memory-moments. All that and the Phillies lost. I think George the Elder is wondering if he had stayed home and sent his mojo through the screen to the game that the results may have been different.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Trip home was the usual 17 hours of bliss. *Sarcasm intended* But without incident. It was nice to have the cab pull up and see my own Khmer King Henry, and the Georges. With the exception of having to run the vacuum cleaning within about 30 minutes of arriving - the boys held down the fort with amazing aplomb.
So, I'm off to change time zones. Pictures and what not commence tomorrow!
Glad to be home, but already miss the hum of Phnom Penh. Do you think that starting a tuk-tuk brigade here would work???