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Showing posts with label Family and Friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family and Friends. Show all posts

19 November 2013

Flowers rule

Wherever they are, flowers are flowers. Pretty - on a branch, a watering can, a vase or even on a cage;


lovely on a bike or on a girl's head. They're a joy to behold.

~ niece ~

04 November 2013

Qrookshanqs joins a quorum of witches

Prologue: Thailand's Supreme Patriarch is dead.  The whole kingdom is in mourning mode. And that also means Khaosan Road, a usual party venue, is shut down. Parties go on though but behind closed doors and kept as private and quiet as possible. And that's how -

Qrookshanqs ignores Ermione and wanders into Medusa's cave...
 xxx
xxx

She comes as Grumpy Cat,

tries not to forget who she is.

Qrookshanqs is convinced that those are Nagini's ancestors on Medusa's head, and thinks what a waste of cauldron time taking photos is

A smiling one joins them and the quorum is complete. Soon they chant eye of newt, toe of frog... lizard's leg and howlet's wing. Qrookshanks, ever the grief sucker, grumbles how do witches "boil and bake" fillet of a fenney snake or wool of bat at the same time? Anyone?

No one huh? Alright, grumpy mood intensifying nicely...

Until the party is peaking and she starts smiling, ruining her stance. Now she's gone queer.

Qrookshanqs learns that it's difficult not to grin when surrounded with crazy, goofing friends

and reckons she may well abandon her grumpy look
 
xxx
xxx

Epilogue: Qrookshanqs transfigured into the Cheshire Cat before midnight. Thailand continues to wear black until further notice.

13 September 2013

Keep calm and age well

Life is full of promise
There is so much it has to give,
so much joy and wonder
yet to be explored.

You can always meet the challenge
every single day you live,
when you walk in faith
together with the Lord


Amanda Bradley's words cheered me up 15 summers ago. I was going through some tough time and a thoughtful friend gave this card to me. I kept it and never saw it again until recently while rummaging through my drawer in the office.


Family over for lunch. Space is limited in my nook but I'm glad they came. Old family tales were retold. I rang overseas for Mama to join in some of the conversation. Ouch phone bill, but familiar voices are worth it.


Book shopping makes me happy.  World Book's Young Scientist and The Questionary for CJ and a coffee table book for me. Pictures inside Mary Ford's Cake Decorating book are a stunning eye candy.



A pretty little thing to wear to an occasion I do not yet know, is I think okay sometimes. I do look forward to it - maybe at The Authors' Lounge in Mandarin Oriental to have tea where Ernest Hemingway once had tea himself many years ago.


Humor on Rocky Road. I played a little joke on myself during my birthday and inverted the numbers on my cake. I thought I was only this age once I was entitled to be amused.

A doily arbitrates

Does anyone remember those doilies?


This doily is one of the oldest things we have at home; kept among pins, spools of thread, lace and other little old things around my mother's equally old Singer sewing machine. I needed to take a photo of my recent bookstore loot with Lady Anastasia before I was to fly back to Thailand. Something was necessary between her ceramic ladyship and Mama's glass table to prevent clashes or scratches. This doily served that purpose perfectly.
ae Nak, a native of Phra Khanong, marries the handsome Mak. When war breaks out, Mak is conscripted for military service and leaves his pregnant wife behind.
In the war, Mak is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Mae Nak dies during childbirth with her unborn child and is buried by the neighbors. This is unusual as Buddhist custom calls for the cremation of their dead.
When Mak recovers from his injuries, he returns home to an emotional reunion with his loving wife and baby son, not realizing what has happened.
Neighbors who try to warn him meet with a grisly end. Things remained this way until he discovers that he's actually living with the ghost of his wife!
He flees but she pursues him and the romance turns to horror. Mak seeks refuge in Wat Mahabut but Mae Nak follows him there. After several attempts by the terrified villagers, Mae Nak is finally exorcised to return to the other world and leaves Mak alone.
- See more at: http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/wat-mahabut.html#sthash.xwgvkf7o.dpuf
Mae Nak, a native of Phra Khanong, marries the handsome Mak. When war breaks out, Mak is conscripted for military service and leaves his pregnant wife behind.
In the war, Mak is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Mae Nak dies during childbirth with her unborn child and is buried by the neighbors. This is unusual as Buddhist custom calls for the cremation of their dead.
When Mak recovers from his injuries, he returns home to an emotional reunion with his loving wife and baby son, not realizing what has happened.
Neighbors who try to warn him meet with a grisly end. Things remained this way until he discovers that he's actually living with the ghost of his wife!
He flees but she pursues him and the romance turns to horror. Mak seeks refuge in Wat Mahabut but Mae Nak follows him there. After several attempts by the terrified villagers, Mae Nak is finally exorcised to return to the other world and leaves Mak alone.
- See more at: http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/wat-mahabut.html#sthash.xwgvkf7o.dpuf
Mae Nak, a native of Phra Khanong, marries the handsome Mak. When war breaks out, Mak is conscripted for military service and leaves his pregnant wife behind.
In the war, Mak is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Mae Nak dies during childbirth with her unborn child and is buried by the neighbors. This is unusual as Buddhist custom calls for the cremation of their dead.
When Mak recovers from his injuries, he returns home to an emotional reunion with his loving wife and baby son, not realizing what has happened.
Neighbors who try to warn him meet with a grisly end. Things remained this way until he discovers that he's actually living with the ghost of his wife!
He flees but she pursues him and the romance turns to horror. Mak seeks refuge in Wat Mahabut but Mae Nak follows him there. After several attempts by the terrified villagers, Mae Nak is finally exorcised to return to the other world and leaves Mak alone.
- See more at: http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/wat-mahabut.html#sthash.xwgvkf7o.dpuf

09 September 2013

Ice cream it is

I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream. ~ Heywood Broun


I don't think this is the kiddo's first ice cream. But I remember I bought this for him because its blue color was very attractive and I thought it would match his blue shirt and blue watch. It would also please his Grandma whose favorite color is blue. The other reason was he wanted to stay in the mall to check out the latest Ultraman dolls. I wanted to go home so I bribed him with ice cream.


History repeats itself. When I was little my father would buy me ice cream and I would forget that I wanted something else which I knew he didn't want to give. When a massive coronary felled him, I made sure there were loads of ice cream on top of a catered lunch I hosted for approximately 300 family and friends. The sweet, cold, creamy dessert must have worked wonders on the sombre mood. At the reception hall I heard this exchange between a cousin and her innocent, little daughter:

"Mommy, is it Grandpa's birthday?"

"What? Why? Didn't we just bury Grandpa?"

"I knew it. It's Grandpa's birthday ice cream."


"You can't buy happiness. But you can buy ice cream and that's kind of the same thing."

Not that ice cream made me feel better after having just buried my father. I remained in shock and could not cry. But the brain freeze from several scoops did manage to numb the pain of losing him.


When the Eagles came to Bangkok in 2011 tickets sold out like hot ice cream. I was beyond disappointed and must have worn a scowl to the classroom because a student asked, and I whined. It turned out she and her husband run a concert-organizing company. Hello connections! Ten hours later I was to savor Seven Bridges Road live from a strategic seat. 

Ice cream was of course immediately in order.

31 July 2013

Cake and candles


Cacoy, a close friend/cousin's youngest son whose real name is Caesar had a birthday last week. He turned 13 but to me he is still my baby nephew thus I ought to be forgiven for buying him a cake that does not look exactly like a teenager's cake. Aside from an exuberance of color candles, it's bursting with what resembles Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit for crying out loud. But unlike my son CJ who cried at seeing cherries instead of Ultraman on his cake (couldn't blame the poor, then 5-year old though), Cacoy was generally cool around the whole thing. Anyway he was probably too busy entertaining his buddies to care about what his crazy aunt has gotten him this year.

CJ's cake issue by the way has been sorted. (I'm a working, divorced Mom; do not have time to comb Bangkok for an Ultraman cake) I gave him Hong Kong Disneyland for his next birthday to make up for the girly cake. Boys!

I have been wondering about something for some time: technically I do not have nephews and nieces as I am an only child. But I am considered aunt to my cousins' children who call me Auntie. I'll appreciate it if any of you bloggity friends reading this, especially those from the mainly English-speaking side of the pond could tell me if you are also aunt / uncle to your cousins' or close friends' children.  Thanks.

16 May 2013

Mother's day high tea


This whole tea idea was unplanned. Things were hectic at work. Besides, the son is with Grandma in the home country. But a friend was greeting her Mom friends on FB, I was tagged on cards a couple times and it looked like people were bent on making the day something you wouldn't forget easily.  Well, they show me. I love celebrations so it didn't take long for me to decide that I was having tea after all.


I picked Coffee Beans by Dao, a posh cafe in a posh mall to celebrate Mother's Day with a girl friend. She's not a Mom but her niece just had a baby and that according to her makes her a Grandma. Sweet. I believe in treating the self from time to time, and of course it is such joy to have a friend to celebrate special occasions with.

The Moroccan mint tea (on collage) was a welcome taste as it was my first since 2010. Blueberry cheese cake is the specialty of the house and that's what I had. Yum!


Why does food look so inviting right after work? Yeah... work hard, party hard.


Or maybe it's just me. I'm a fan of food and I love to eat. I even like saying that ;)

31 December 2012

Yule celebrations expat style, then and now

By yule, I mean the 'period extending from December 24th to January 6th.' Or January 2nd for me as I'm back to reality, a.k.a. work before all the hang-over is over.  This is the first yule in five years that I stayed put in Bangkok. No crazy wrestling of crowds at airports, no time-limited tours around exotic places in neighboring countries, just good old apartment with films, little hearty meals, music, a few international dials to communicate with family beyond the South China Sea
 
and well, one shopping that got a bit out of control. But things happen and there's always a first so while I was at one I thought I'd just forgive myself, and go feel the joys of the season. Before I tried putting up a book Christmas tree after seeing the idea from Book Riot on Facebook, yule began with routine visa and work permit renewals at Government House -

which was accomplished smoothly last year, but a bit complicated this year with a tiny irregularity spotted on a document- something between the Thai government and my employer and was quickly sorted which meant I could get on with the holidays without worrying whatever was happening to my immigration status. I kicked off celebrations with a trip to this 11000-seating capacity arena


for a night of memories induced by Candle in the Wind among many others, and sweet longing to give the kiddo a tight hug when his fave Lion King emanated from the grand

How time expands many things. And how I wish it spared the waistline

Horror of horrors: expansion is ongoing. I tried to temper that by welcoming the nephew's turn to be grounded on the piano, and coming, albeit late, to his recital. The niece, a guest performer, pleasantly shocked me with her weed-like growth. I probably should see them more often.

Meanwhile at work, there were finals to invigilate. We make do with this view from the 5th floor window - beginning stages of an offshore company party


and then to the heart of the celebrations

Disclaimer: good girls stay sober throughout yule. Countdown 2013 was as clear as these carolers resemble those in Frances May's Tuscan Christmas

The star of Siam shines on


HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!


17 December 2012

Chocolate mint ice cream

When I ordered ice cream at a big lunch I hosted in 2004 for (m/l) 300 family and friends at my father's funeral reception, I also wondered how it was made. I like to have an idea of how something I'm eating came to be. The recipe I'm sharing comes from Rita on Food: Home of the Home Cook.

She says her son likes chocolate mint ice cream and she made this for his birthday. In the meantime I can only buy scoops for my son and for a slightly different reason - to bribe him to eat veggies. The plan though is to try this recipe myself when things at work calm down.

Ingredients:
2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
9 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons pure mint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine.

Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine.

Temper the cream mixture by stirring cream into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about third of the cream mixture has been added. Whisk in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature to cool for 30 minutes. Stir in the mint extract and vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, Cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.

Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

Rewind to (circa) 1989
Miss Rallos, a vintage, fat old maid, very strict you don't want to cross her, was the manager of the dormitory I lived in when I was in boarding college.  My  roommates and  I would queue up for her signature on our clearance slips before we could take final exams.  Once my turn was about five girls ahead; I made use of the time observing things in her lair...err...kitchen. On the wall near the bathroom there was this picture poster of a mommy koala and her baby looking cheeky. I still memorize what it said, and I'm using the words nowadays to make a little story of how the kiddo is so difficult to feed. 


Fast forward to 2008
This chocolate mint ice cream was actually my choice, not the kiddo's. At first he was timid about it. I introduced him to some of life's sweetest things by telling him a story about how that pretty nun Mommy saw in Dalby Forest (England) ate an ice cream just like this one. This was also his reward for trying to eat salad during lunch earlier. By the time he finished eating, the melting ice cream had dripped from his little fingers down to his elbow and soaked his shirt, and I found out I had no more Kleenex in my purse so we rushed home by taking the sky train.

26 November 2012

Screwdriver


This is my screwdriver during a birthday dinner with a girl friend. We ate at a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms.

    MellowYellowBadge


    21 November 2012

    The cake that cost me an overseas holiday


    Links:
    Wordless Wednesday HQ, Rednesday, Create With JoyMomspective, 5 Minutes for Mom, A Mother's RamblingsMama to 4 Blessings,

    The Can't-Shut-Up version: It was the kiddo's 5th birthday. I was busy at work and didn't have time to look for a cake that was not as girly as this. I feared he wouldn't like it and he didn't. He was then on a tantrum-at-every-turn phase. When he saw this cake he gave me an appalled look. What? no Ultraman, Mom?  He cried. I felt so sorry for him. Guilt was written on my forehead while tantrum was looming on the MacDonald's horizon. The guests have arrived and in a snap I promised him all the heroes on his next cake and bribed him with Hong Kong Disneyland if he would not make a scene at his party. He managed to show enough decent behavior the whole time. The next year we flew Air Asia to Macau and ferried our butts to Hong Kong. Boys!   

    26 September 2012

    Knight's kiss


    In a fairytale world, she's the damsel in distress and he's the gallant knight in shining armor who comes to rescue her from the tower of the evil witch.

    Enter reality -

    CJ in a golden steed green bike and Pinky gallop to the sunset head to the lift of a six-storey apartment building. They speak different languages. They also have different personalities. He is an introvert; she is obedient. And sweet. When asked to kiss him she obliged. Click!  goes the knight's little professor's very first kiss from a girl besides his mom.

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