Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seriously serious

So apparently the Taiwanese are FAR more concerned with your health than they are in the states. In order to go ANYWHERE where there are more than two people you have to have your temperature checked. At first I was taken slightly aback, I showed up at the kindermusik class with DD and the teacher was like, as part of our hello routine, I will check your temperature. I thought to myself, huh that's odd.... but hey bunches of little kids, I can see how you might want to do that. THEN I went to language class and THEY took my temperature. And today we went to an indoor playground for Zora and they took our temperature again! So not only is there a crazy amount of hand sanitizer being used (it is EVERYWHERE) and face masks being worn (and highly encouraged) there are mandatory temperature checks for any regularly scheduled event. It's crazy! I wonder why they haven't started doing this in the US... or even why they don't encourage face masks. Talk to me about our health care system being the best in the world. HMPFH!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some things in life are universal

Ok, well maybe not universal. But we have a cable problem so DH called the cable company yesterday and asked for someone to come out to take a look at our cable. The person on the phone said they would send someone over between 6 and 8 pm. (6&8pm??) I thought it was a little strange, so I was not surprised when they didn't show up.
However, I was shocked! SHOCKED! I tell you! When the cable guy showed up at 10pm! TEN! PM! I was already getting ready for bed, and had to hide out in our room while he tried to fix our TV. I couldn't believe it... still can't believe it! TEN! DH talked to the man and he said that they work until right around 10 every day. I wonder what time they start....
So it is good to know that even in foreign countries repair men never show up when they are supposed to, even if they do work really late.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I have been experimenting with my hair. I know, this is nothing exciting, women do it all the time, but I really have not. The biggest change is that my hair is now natural. No relaxer, nothing that won't wash out. I have been doing a lot of online research trying to find a product that will give my natural hair some curls without frizz and have come across a lot of angry black women. I didn't realize when I put my hair in braids three years ago that I was joining a new edgy "natural" movement. I was just pregnant and didn't want to mess with my hair. When my baby was a year and a half I figured I had 15 minutes or so to devote to my hair so I could take the braids out. At that point I was completely natural, and I loved the hair. I didn't know what to do with it, but I loved it. Now leaving my hair natural is not a political choice, or a black awareness statement, or anything. Like I said it all started out as being too lazy to take care of my hair, then continued on as hey maybe I don't have to have my husband perm my hair while we are overseas!
So it came as kind of a shock to me that so many women AGONIZE over whether or not to go natural. There are SO many websites, articles, tweets, etc written by women who have decided to thumb their noses at America and go natural I was surprised. In fact, my natural tresses could be signaling that I am edgier, or trendier than I actually am. I think I am saved by the fact that I still straighten my hair on occasion, but when I go back to the states I intend to have my hair professionally looked at to see if I can get the most AWESOME AFRO ever, just because it looks cool, not because I am in any way Afrocentric.... you can ask almost anyone... I am the least Afrocentric person you will ever meet.
Anyway, I have decided to share my experiments with the world. So I will post some pics of the experiments as the happen.

Friday, September 11, 2009


It has been 8 years since the attacks on 9/11 and so much has changed, and yet so little.... I moved to NY in October of 2001, a mere month after 9/11. The city was still very much in shock. We lived in Brooklyn, but whenever I took the train to Canal street to see my then fiance there was always this smell that hung over the air. I am not someone attracted by death, or famous places so I did not go to visit the sites of the building. I didn't see it until February of the next year when I worked at Merrill Lynch, I walked into my boss' office and looked out of his window into a gaping hole. I couldn't believe he had his blinds open, when I asked him about it he said that the site looked almost normal at that point, before it really was a nightmare. I can't imagine what he must have thought, the buildings had to have been close enough to see the others out of the window.
I can't imagine what it was like for people who lived in NY during the attacks. What does it mean, when the subways shut down, when you are terrified to get on a bus, what happens when you work uptown but live in lower Brooklyn?
One of the saddest things I remember about New York during this time are the posters. Everywhere you looked there were posters of missing people. People looking for people, some were young, some were old, some had children, some were somebody's children.
But even just a month after 9/11 the city was already healing. I go back now, and the city, while not the same, still lives on... stronger, meaner, tougher. New York grabbed my heart in a way that no other city really has. It's gritty, dirty, and mean, but it's a survivor - the greatest city on Earth.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ho hum back again

So I woke up this morning and opened up my curtains only to find a BEAUTIFUL rainbow painted across my sky. I think it was the biggest brightest rainbow I've ever seen! I could even see the purple in it clearly (normally when I see rainbows they are mostly red and yellow with the green and blue fading out). It only lasted a little while though so I didn't even have a chance to get my camera out (by the time I finished gawking and getting DD to look it was on it's way out). I'm going to take it as a good omen that my time here in Taiwan will be good.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why I do it

So DH has been extraordinarily helpful in the past couple of months and it has made my stay at home mom experience much nicer. I've been thinking about it and talking to my friends about it, and sometimes I feel a little inadequate because my grandmothers both worked full time, raised five children, cleaned and had dinner on the table every night. Keeping that in mind why should I complain about raising just one child, with little or no cleaning and lots of help from my DH?
Last night I finally hit on the answer. There are SO many other things that I could be doing. I went to school for 7 years to get a higher educational degree. I have many talents that would make me valuable to many people. Yet I choose to stay home and I believe that my special combination of talents and abilities make me MOST valuable to my family. I believe that it is an honor and a privilege to be able to stay at home with my family. That being said I want what I give to my family to be freely given, and given out of love. I don't want it tainted by what could have been or what I wish there was. My grandmothers had no choice. It was expected of them to give 150% every day. So they did it. I don't know if they enjoyed it, or always gave what they could with a smile. I know from the stories that my grandparents were tough I believed they loved their families but I don't necessarily think that their families got the best of them.
So yes, I don't vacuum everyday, take care of multiple children, and have three course meals on the table every night at 6, but I'd like to think that I try to give my family the best of me or at least give what I have to give freely and with as much love as I can on any given day. I may not always succeed, but I'd like to think that I try for the best every day. I think that the day that I stop doing that is the day that I am going to need to go back to work.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


We've had our Nikon digital SLR camera now for over a year and I have to say I've never been so excited about a camera. The pictures that I take with the camera are so much better than the ones I've been taking with our point and shoot. It almost makes me want to get involved in photography and buying expensive lenses and what not. I would not say that I'm anywhere near professional level, but I occasionally get shots that are so beautiful that you almost want to touch them.
I think the camera illustrates the difference between my husband and I quite well. DH takes staged shots, great scenery and architecture shots all of which are absolutely stunning. And while I hate taking the time out of whatever activity we are currently in the middle of to take the pictures I also really love having the pictures at the end. Now if I have the camera I will just snap pictures at random, so we often have to ignore or discard maybe two thirds of the shots that I take (maybe even three quarters, I'm not sure), but in that last third (or quarter) you get some pretty neat action shots (if I do say so myself).
But, it is nice to have the album that includes the posed shots and the on the fly action shots. It's just learning to work with the difference that's hard, but once you figure out how to appreciate each other you really have something beautiful.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


You know I just went to the home page of my website and I realized just how much it sucks. I need to figure out how to design a better website, or just give up my domain name. Why am I paying for something when I don't use it?

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Orleans

It is hard to boil a weekend trip down to just a few words. Especially about a place like New Orleans.
New Orleans is an older city that sits in a bend of the Mississippi river, in fact one of the nicknames of the city, "the Crescent City" comes from the location of New Orleans on that bend. It was primarily a French settlement, and it is one of the few places in America where French speakers and French language things outnumber Spanish. However, what that really means is that New Orleans has a little bit of a feel of Europe while being firmly rooted in the South.
What does that mean? Well, the French Quarter is made up of town homes and tighter quarters in European fashion. Residences, commercial property, bars and restaurants all share the same space on the street. There is a lot of beautiful architecture and very ornate balconies everywhere. And while the city is showing it's age, it has a definite beauty to it. Maybe it's not age, but damage from Katrina, but I don't remember N.O. before Katrina (the last time I went there I was maybe 15) so I can't say what has changed.
But everywhere you look there is Southern Hospitality, the food and many of the drinks are Southern. The people are definitely Southern (we were at a CVS and my husband couldn't figure out what was wrong with the cashier, she was just too friendly, and I had to tell him, it's the South). And the weather was Southern. It was March and we were in shorts and sundresses!
N.O. also reminded me a lot of Austin Tx, in that in many ways it's a much bigger city than it's population would suggest. The number of restaurants that served decent food and drinks could have supported a much larger city. There were also places that were soley dedicated to one type of food, Like Beignets or Muffalatos. That is hard to find in bigger cities like DC or Houston. There were also so many musicians in N.O. almost every little place in the Quarter had live entertainment, and for cheap! In so many other places live entertainment is a rare treat, but in N.O. it was everywhere.
On our last night we made our way to Preservation Hall for some good old fashioned Jazz. For ten bucks you could listen to three hours of Jazz, if you chose. There were no frills, just the Jazz players, some fold out seats and a little lighting. But the Jazz was VERY good.
And once you get out of the quarter and view some of the old style mansions in the Garden District you almost want to move to New Orleans, until you remember that it's spring and in another month it will be a hundred degrees in the shade and you won't want to eat or even lay down because it is just TOO hot! So you go back home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the weight wait

I have finally admitted to myself that something needs to be done. I think because I've NEVER had to worry about my weight that I just assumed that one day I would bounce back to my college body. Without having to lift a dumbbell, or ride a bike. But I was out at Forever 21 on Friday and I saw myself in the mirror surrounded by people who can shop at Forever 21 and I realized that something needs to be done. It didn't sink in right there. I got home and looked in our mirror all by myself and it didn't look as bad, but in the back of my mind I knew it was a LIE!
This knowledge has been building for some time, hence the giving up of elevators for lent, but it has been battling against my natural laziness. I HATE to exercise! Which is partly why I love Yoga so much, I get the full body workout without the horrible feeling of sweat, and without gasping for air. But I think I'm going to have to add a cardio, or something. Yoga alone is not going to cut it.
Of course, as I thought this to myself this afternoon, I was eating a candy bar, and after Babes went to bed I ate a huge bowl of pudding topped with extra whipped cream. I know it's no justification but there was a lot of screaming today and a VERY grumpy, VERY destructive toddler, sometimes chocolate is in order.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring is coming

*Sigh* I saw the first of the blooms start appearing on the trees today. Usually I am very excited for spring, but not so much this year. This year the warmer weather is a harbinger of our impending move. I knew it was temporary when we came, but I didn't realize how comfortable I would become. I know most of it is because of Babes. She has become very attached to my mom and my father in law, I feel almost guilty knowing that I will be taking her away and she will not be able to just call Big Mama or be only two hours away.
It is also VERY easy to live here. I don't have to think 6 weeks into the future in terms of supplies and toys. If I want something I can just go out to the store. And as bad as it is, I even find things I didn't know that I needed (which is why it's probably better that we are leaving the US).
We even have a very nice weekly routine. Our days are filled with activities that keep us busy and often take us away from the apartment.
Though it might be nice to get away from the depressing ever present news about the economy, the housing market, and the DOOM TO US ALL!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Days like today

Days like today make me miss California. It's the days where the sun is shining, the wind is soft, and it seems almost too perfect to be real. These are what I remember in my mind as California days, the only difference is that in California I knew that tomorrow would be just like this too, and the next day, and the next..... Here they come along like sea shells on the beach, here is one, that is cracked, oh here is one that is chipped, oh here is a perfect one, oh, no the next one is not so good. It is sad, but quintessentially Californian, that what I think of doing on days like this is driving. Rolling the windows down, cranking up the music and driving along the Ocean. The road stretching on in front of you to the horizon, the sun glinting off the ocean on your right and the desert flat and dry on your left. *sigh*
Instead, Babes and I went out to the play ground and I let the wind toss my hair around for a little while. Not the same.

Monday, February 23, 2009

spread out

One of the most maddening things about the foreign service lifestyle are all the transitions. I knew when we left Baku that we would be in the US for about a year. So we had to try to reduce our household into the most used items that would fit into 600 pounds of air freight. Now if you don't know, 600 pounds is a lot of stuff, but it doesn't fit everything. We left behind a good portion of the kitchen stuff, all of our lamps, rugs, pictures, etc. half of Babes' toys, and various other things that make up a household. And while we are pretty well set up here in our furnished rental, it doesn't cover everything. You've got your basic cooking equipment, but no baking pans, so I have been either putting off baking or purchasing baking pans.
You also tend to forget what you've packed or not, and I think in the excitement of packing I left some things that I intended to bring, and brought things that I intended to leave. It's so frustrating because I'm sometimes positive that I brought something and I tear apart the apartment only to discover that it's not here. And if it's not here is it at my parent's house, or my in-law's house? I hate being so spread out! Sometimes I feel as if I can't find ANYTHING!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

money matters

I'm getting a little tired of all these "money saving" tips that you get from mainstream media. They are so lame that they border on the rediculous sometimes. Do people really not know some of this stuff? For instance, one such tip said that if you brew your own coffee at home instead of going to starbucks everyday you will save hundreds of dollars a year. Who didn't know this? Seriously? A cup of coffee at starbucks costs at least $2, a bag of coffee at the grocery store costs $8. If you drink more than 4 cups you have saved money.
I have gotten to the point where I no longer read these so called money saving tips because they don't tell me anything I don't already know. I mean I already cook at home. I don't order wine when I go to restaraunts. I shop for clothes at season end clearances. Buy store brand food. I know how to use a budget. *SIGH* I guess I could start bathing the dog at home, but it is totally worth the $25 to have somebody else do it. I don't have to bathe her in my tub, or with a garden hose in 30 degree weather, I drop her off and three house later she is magically clean. That and custom purses from viv pickle are my two big frivolous expenses.
I didn't realize that my parents were teaching me to be frugal, I just thought it was the way everyone was raised. I didn't know that people were going to McDonald's everyday or buying things for their kids that they couldn't afford. And I never really felt deprived, I might have felt slighted or unfairly cheated, but I got over it. I think we have somehow forgotten that life is full of ups and downs and that kids need to experience these things in order to be able to be happy as adults. If you always sugar coat life how are they going to learn how to deal with bad times when they move out of your house. No matter what you do, you will not be able to protect your kids forever. They need to know that plants, animals, and people all die, and that death is a part of life, as is sadness, and sometimes pain. You will also not be able to get everything you want, sometimes no matter what you do there will be things you can't have.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Babes and I just returned yesterday from another trip out to Columbus, OH to see my Gparents. My grandfather turned 89 this past weekend. Unfortunately, he has reached 89 under the fog of an Alzheimer's like disease which has left him uncommunicative and unresponsive. My grandmother, who is only slightly younger than my grandfather, is still a tiny little fireball of energy and will power. She does a wonderful job celebrating his life and makes sure that no one overlooks or ignores my grandfather. When you call on the phone, you must say a word to him, if she is having a party, she will bring him home from the place where he is staying to be a part of the party. And she will try as much as possible to include him in the festivities. It is not so bad now that he lives in a nursing home, but when she was taking care of him it was incredibly frustrating. When Babes was born we drove for 12 hours to bring her my baby, but she was so busy managing my grandfather that she didn't even really look at Babes. I guess my problem is that we are so busy trying not to leave my grandfather out, that we never get to do anything in Columbus that resembles anything. For the first time, this last visit, I was able to eat at a restaraunt that was not Old Time Country Buffett. I never say anything, because I know my mom has a hard time with the situation, and I know my grandmother is doing the best she can, and the only thing she knows to do, but I'm still frustrated.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Man, I'm a grown up

It started out as a small thing, really. I noticed it first when watching Superman Returns a couple of years ago. It might not have been the first time I thought it, but it was the first time I noticed thinking it. What I thought was, "will insurance cover this?" Not, "will Superman pull through?" Not, "how will he defeat this guy?" But, "will insurance cover this?" I was disturbed by this thought, apparently my believe button was not getting enough use, or maybe it just needed a tune up, or something. I didn't think anything was seriously wrong. But, now! OH!
I am currently reading the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, it's not a bad, aside from the overwhelming teenage angst I kind of like it. BUT! And here's where I know that my believe button is severely damaged. The part of the story that bugs me, I mean really gets to me, is not that there are vampires and werewolves, no. I get stuck trying to figure out what on earth a 200 year old vampire wants with a 17 year old girl. I know this is a recent thing because it never bothered me while watching Buffy. Angel was just as old, and Buffy just as young, but I never once thought about it. Now it almost ruins the story. After all, I find 17 year olds a little irritating, and I'm only a little older. I can't imagine what it would be like after 200 years, unless it is as I suspected and men really don't age past 17.
UGH! Does anyone know where I can get a believe button fixed?

PS for those of you wondering what a believe button is, think of it like an imagination cap, or whatever. It's the button you push when watching things like Independence Day that let you buy that an advanced civilization of aliens can be brought low by a computer virus uploaded from a mac.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


So a high school friend of mine just got in touch with me this week and one of the things she told me as we were catching up is a mutual friend of ours died about two years ago in a car crash. Well, it is sad, yes,I'm sorry maybe tragic is a better word for it. And while I have not shed any tears for him, the fact that he has passed on has disturbed my balance. For the last couple of days the idea has been popping up and twisting around inside my brain. She wrote a very moving tribute on her blog, talking about the day she met him, which got me thinking about how I know other people and where we met, etc.
What I find weird is that when I think about it, a lot of my friends chose me. I am not the chatty type, and I often will be content to sit in a corner and watch the interactions of those around me. So for a friendship to have developed it means that we either had class together, or some other function, or that they started talking to me. I wonder what it is that drew these people to me. Was it that I wasn't talking? Or that I look interesting? Or maybe they just wanted to make me feel more comfortable, and so a friendship started. I don't know.
Don't get me wrong, I have made it a point to befriend some people. I can on occasion be outgoing, it just takes so much effort. You've got to think up things to say, and smile and whatnot, it's so much easier to just be quiet and watch. I think it comes from growing up where I never really fit in. I hung out, and did stuff, but I was never really like everyone else. I learned to cope, and now I really like it, but I guess it leaves a mark.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I can't believe that we are now two days into Barack Obama's presidency. (Blogger still hasn't added his name to spell check) It is still amazing to me that we have elected a bi-racial man president. I am a little afraid for him, people's expectations are SO high. People will randomly tell me things about what they are thinking, and I can't imagine that he will be able to be a successful president in the eyes of the people. Everyone seems to think that things are going to get better starting today, and while I think that it is better to have a smart guy in office, I can't believe that it will get better tomorrow. The problems that we are facing are so huge, it will have to take some time to get to even a plateau. So what will happen to his approval ratings in the meantime? Even if he does set up programs that will eventually lead us out of this mess, if people aren't seeing the results they want will they continue to put up with him?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We are back from the holy land! Over the new year my sister in law got married in Israel. Of course we, the crazy travelers that we are, could not just go to the wedding and come back, so we took a week and made a vacation out of it to see some of what everyone is talking about. We spent four days in Jerusalem and three in Tel Aviv and two on the floor of the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
So what to say about Israel....
Well, I can honestly say that it was a lot different than I imagine, but I suspect that the weather had a LOT to do with that. Jerusalem, instead of being a dusty dry desert city was a cold and wet city. Although when you think about all the places that you are walking hundreds of millions of other people have walked there first it is still pretty awesome. All the history in that tiny little place can be a little overwhelming. I think we saw a lot of the major tourist sites within the old city, although most of them not on purpose. The only thing that I can say for sure that we saw on purpose was Golgotha, or the place of the crucifixion. After that, we generally ended up finding a point of interest on the way to another point of interest that we never did find, that is until we were looking for something else. In this manner we "found" most of the gates to the old city, the wailing wall, the Via Dolorosa, as well as the churches (or maybe chapels) that are built on the site of Jesus' initial trial and flagellation. We found the Dome of the Rock on purpose, but I don't know if that was cheating or not since we asked someone, and also did not find it the first time we looked for it.
Jerusalem also had a HUGE military presence. Everywhere we went, and I mean EVERYWHERE there were groups of soldiers on patrol, standing guard, or just hanging out. It was obvious in Jerusalem that Israel was a country in the midst of conflict. Unfortunately, it was so cold and wet on all the days that we were traveling in Jerusalem that it is hard to come up with something else to say.
Tel Aviv, was nicer weather wise, but I unfortunately had stomach issues that laid me up for an entire day so I didn't get to see anything but Jaffa, the port city where Jonah's journey to Nineveh is supposed to have started. Tel Aviv is a much more relaxed city. I don't know that I saw soldiers there at all, and for the most part people were outside, shopping, eating in restaurants seemingly without a care in the world. It seemed very disconnected from reality.
My sister in law's wedding was very interesting. First of all, Israelis do not attend weddings in suits or dresses. Israelis apparently go everywhere in jeans. There were girls at the wedding in skirts, but they were very casual skirts, like you would go to the mall in. Then, in an Israeli wedding you do not sit nicely in your chairs, but you huddle around the huppa (a traditional wedding canopy) and shout encouragements at the bride and groom. They did not dance a horah (a big circle dance that usually involves everyone at the reception) although they did dance with the bride and groom on their shoulders. Even still it was a beautiful service.
On the way back Paris was snowed in and we spent the night on the floor of Charles De Galle. When we got back to the states, we discovered that our luggage was still on vacation so Babes spent almost a week in Pjs and tights since almost her entire wardrobe was in our luggage. But we all made it back safe and sound and that's all that counts.