Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A book on Singapore Houses

This book was my Christmas present and it is AWESOME. The book talks about Singapore history, the history of the bungalow house and has some awesome pictures of the black and white houses here in Sinagpore.

Oh to be able to live in one of these gems.... but, alas, most of them are either privately owned or rented out at SUPER high prices to wealthy ex-pats. In fact, in one way, I found it sad that many of the private homes owned by Singaporeans have been destroyed in order to sell the land to a developer at a higher cost. Pity that.

Highly recomend this book to anyone who wants a great coffee table book, but one with enough substance that keeps you reading!

Technorati tags:

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A great reminder... what to do instead of shopping

From Keri Smith's Blog what do do instead of shopping. Great reminder two days before Christmas.

Peace to you all!


Friday, December 09, 2005

Lost Innocence

Originally uploaded by Farflungcraft.

In the Journal your Christmas class, we were asked to do a journal entry about Christmas past. And then to think of both a good and a bad memory.

For me, it was looking through some old pictures that the good memories came flooding back. I looked at the pictures of three matching dresses, the huge tree... with the homemade popcorn garland. The smiles on our faces... the anticipation of not just the presents under the tree, but the dinner, the goodies, the snacks. Often the day would be spent with cousins, grandparents. Family. The day was joy. pure and simple.

My memory of a bad Christmas memory was probably one where I wanted a Breyer horse (you can see part of the page over on my Flickr account). Anyway, as I grew older, I started to snoop. I wanted to know what I was getting. I still to this day have little patience, but I can at least control myself now. So, I snooped. I found the horse I had asked for. I was so happy. But then Christmas came, and the horse didn't. I pouted, I moped... after a while mom or dad asked me what was wrong and I said I had not gotten the one gift I really really wanted. Well, a few minutes later, it came out... I am not sure if the gift was forgotten, if it was purchased to be a birthday present... but I do recall that while I did get what I wanted in the end, it felt sort of hollow. I knew that Santa didn't exist (I was probably in 6th/7th grade) but...really the magic of Christmas was gone. Gone based on my selfishness, my desires, my impatience.

I hope my kids don't face that. I hope that we can create a Christmas that is not just about material things. A Christmas that is about love-and joy-and family. A Christmas that puts "presents" lower on the list than joy. Very hard to do in a material society. But my goal nonetheless.



Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Starting a new tradition

This year I have been participating in an online class called "journaling your christmas" It is lead by Shimelle Laine a papercraft artist living in England.

The journal is for the month of December, plus the first 6 days of January.

It is a nice way for me to spend a few minutes thinking about what we do every year for the holidays and then being creative and putting it on paper in an artistic way.

SO far we have had a prompt on advent calendars, weather, Christmas cards... great stuff!

I have the 5th and 6th of December to still get on paper, but the days are in my head....

Here is a link to my Flickr account that shows these pages.



Thursday, December 01, 2005

Holiday Countdown

How to live purposefully and simply during the holidays is a struggle. No matter where you live. In the consumer capital of SE Asia, it is even harder. I am going to spend the next few days compiling a list of quotes, ideas and thoughts on how our family is going to celebrate as "non-commercial" as possible.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Have we met?

From Celine Navarro's blog.. I am posting this on both of my blogs to see what people say...

have we met?

1. Have we met?
2. If so, where and when? If not, where and when would you like to?
3. What's the first thing you remember about me?
4. Do we stay in touch? Would you like it if we saw more of each other (or got the chance to meet)?
5. Would you consider me an internet acquaintance, internet friend, buddy, friend, close friend, best friend, family, lover or not a friend at all?

Now post them in your journal so I can tell you :)

Great Singapore Blogs

Ok, As my intent was to do more about Singapore... tell my friends and family what an awesome place Singapore is to live... I find that trying to do what I want, in addition to working my full time job....and running Far Flung Craft and trying to get SOME personal scrapbooking done... the pictures and posts about Singapore are fewer... well practically non-existant....than I wanted.

So, in order to give you all a real treat... here are some great Singapore blogs.

The first, Mr. Miyagi is an institution in Singapore blogosphere. He has recently been blogging about his time in the Singapore reserve army.

The next is a great blog I just found today, from Mr. Miyagi's article in the paper. Good Morning Yesterday is a great blog with pictures and stories about what Singapore used to be like. Awesome.

Finally, for an expat perspective on the wild wonderful world of tropical Asia... Check out Singapore Adventures. They are currently in Taiwan and eating our favorite food squid on a stick. Doesn't get any better than that.

Technorati tags:

Monday, November 28, 2005


The kids had the flu last week. Bad. Kiera had a fever all week long. she peaked at 39.2 C. That is 103 F.

Today, I am getting a sore throat. I am achey...

I need chicken (or in this case) turkey soup and some lemon/honey tea....

Will post on thanksgiving soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Freezer

The Freezer is here! We have two turkeys in it. We bought some sausage from the Swiss Butcher... I got a much needed raise. Life is not bad today.

Plus, this blog, is now ad free.

Figure if I promote simple living, less consumerism, I should clearly state this in my blog.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Seems like a silly thing, but in Singapore it is hard to find full size western refrigerators. I hate the fact that most of the time, we buy food and we have no place to store it. I have wanted for as long as I have lived in Asia to get a full size fridge. Well, alas, those are BOOKU bucks. So, Jeff and I just purchased a early christmas present for ourselves. A freezer.

It is a chest style freezer. Still tiny by way of American standards, but it is big enough for us to start stocking up on food when it is on sale. For example, Turkeys are on sale now for 4.00 a Kilo (that is about 2.00 US for a 2.2 pounds). So... we want to buy more than just for Christmas and Thanskgiving. I think we will get 3-4 turkeys and then have the ability to cook a turkey perhaps in February. Won't that be nice!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Halloween Fun

well, if you read my Far Flung Blog you know I was on the road the last two weeks. My biggest problem with that was that I was going to miss Halloween. So, being ever so smart, I organized a little halloween gathering... on the one night I would be in Town... Saturday. A few days early... but the kids had fun.

Here is Kiera the very hot lion and Declan- in his favorite spiderman outfit!

And here is the whole group. We did three apartments on our floor and then two other buildings. I think the kids liked it!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Operation Immigration

So, lets see, it goes something like this. Pick up two kids, nanny, take them down town, on a Monday morning, during rush hour, to an office on the other edge of town. take a number... say it is like 7101. They are currently on 6800. You get the idea. Wait for two hours. Get your number called. Go to the counter and present all of the required documents. wait, what is that you say? You need a health check from my husband? "But, he argues, I had one last year for my work permit. It is not on record? Then how did I get the permit?" he queries. Immigration official says, if you can find it, bring it here before 2 pm today and no need to take another queue number. get drunk after work to drown your sorrows.

Alas, no one has the original health check up, so 2pm came-and went- without us returning to the immigration office. Next day, husband-attends a health screening... the same on wife attended the prior week. Xray, blood test for aids, general health screen. wait for results, which should be back by Thursday.

Thursday, no test results, wait until Friday. Friday am, no results. Friday afternoon, 3pm, too late for return to the immigration office. Pick up the health documents. Get drunk. No, just kidding, it is off to the airport to pick up our old Nanny Emah who is coming for the weekend. Emah comes, we spend Saturday AM at the zoo. Kiera gets a bad cold, and a fever, we stay home all day on Sunday. But, Nancy makes home made pizza for dinner.

SO.. back to immigration. Monday morning, again. Get in the taxi with Emah, Nancy, hubby and kids. Taxi driver says "wa, so many la." I say " is there a problem?" not just with your English old man, but the fact that there are 4 adults and 2 kids. "Taxi only hold 5 la"... um... add it up dumbshit. 4 adults, 2 kids... 6 passengers. BIG WHOOP. He takes us then takes Emah to the airport. Good fare for him countered his grumpy mood.

Get to immigration, go back, take number,... number 7141. Currently on number 7008. Get the gist of this? While waiting, we see the mass of humanity. Chinese immigrants from the PRC. Indian and Sri Lankans, Malay. All coming to Singapore to get a permanent Residence. A stepping stone to citizenship. So, we wait. and wait. and wait. See comb-over guy, the most amazing comb-over in all history. I was mocking him... only to realize that my hair, which is quite long now, could not come close to the same comb-over maneuver. See probable PRC prostitute and "pimp" boyfriend in line for a social visit visa. Wait some more. 2.5 hours later. Our number is called. We get in line. Turn in the paperwork. Bam.. ok, next stage, over to payment. Wait. pay. wait some more. Finally ask if kids can go home as it is now noon. Send children home.

Wait some more. Still waiting, watch lines of people be moved downstairs to get IC cards completed. Wait some more. It is now 1:30. No lunch, so movement of our we need to wait to get our cards. I go on a walk, looking for something to fill our ravenous stomachs. return at 2 with a diet coke (which tastes kinda funky) and a bag of M&Ms. At 2:45 our number is called again. They scan our pictures, take our thumb prints and the kind woman at the counter says. "why don't you go get your lunch and come back to collect your passports. What in gods name gave her the idea that the two lost looking soles who clearly had withered into nothingness in the 5+ hours of waiting would need a lunch. So we left. Came back at 3:45. Passports in hand. Documents in hand... kinda. We gotta go back next week to pick up our identity cards.

I WILL NEVER BITCH ABOUT THE DMV LINE AGAIN... SO HELP ME GOD! Welcome to Singapore, we are now permenant residents. lets get drunk.

Friday, October 07, 2005

back to simplicity

Been a bit off the simplicity and frugality mode of blogging of late. Long story about that coming soon. But here is my prompt of the day.

Thoreau said in Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, “Direct your eye sight inward, and you’ll find, A thousand regions in your mind, Yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be expert in home-cosmography”.

I read this today on Moleskinerie.

Nice quote.

Technorati Tags: :

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Potty and talking

So, we are making great strides with Declan, on both counts.

First, we have had three successful poops in the potty. We hope this trend will continue because he was awful darn proud of himself yesterday when questioned about the poop.

Second, our first real speech therapy was yesterday. Our therapist Vasu was educated in the US and follows the US method of therapy. I say "our" therapy because at every session either Jeff or I must attend and we get homework.

This weeks homework includes blowing on a recorder 25 times in a row for 3 reps. this is to help build up his diaphram strength. We also blow bubbles... same reason. He has to sit upright in a chair with his hands on his lap... We will be getting a little electric tooth brush. This is to get his mouth stimumlated. In otherwords, we put the electric tooth brush in one spot and then have him put his tongue where the tooth brush was. Finally, we also do bite exercises to strengthen his jaw.

Plus we practice a bunch of sounds and work on our conjunctions this week. WOW... I am tired already...

Took some cute pictures, but will need to go finish the roll of film and get it developed... hint hint a digital point and shoot would be a great Christmas present.....

Talk to you all soon.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Last Post of the Day

Olympic Mountains. 1996. Posted by Picasa

Last post for the day. Young couple, in love, in Washington State. God we were such babies. 9 years ago!

The Killers

OH I love this Disk. I need to listen to it again. great songs. Lots of critics panned it... who cares. It rocks.

They Rock. Posted by Picasa

Critics don't particularly like the proclaimers either.

For the everyday post below. Posted by Picasa

The munchkins, holding hands. Please notice the purse... my girly girl won't leave home without it! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 23, 2005


One of the greatest things this group of girls over on a scrapbook board I lurk at is come up with weekly dares. This last week was "everyday". IN otherwords, scrap something that is part of your everyday.

Here is mine.

Ken Wilber

First of friends and family. If you read this blog and you want to do some MINDBLOWING reading pick up a book by Ken Wilber. Any book. I am reading the Simple Feeling of Being. I know that Blythe you are more than familiar with the most amazing Ken...


This quote just sort of sums it all up.

"The directions to finding God, which are printed on the box in which your Heart came, are simple: relax the mind and body; with reverence and devotion, gaze into the Heart; feel the Love-Light radiance that permeates your entire body, and your entire mind, and all of nature, and all nations everywhere. A Current of Luminous Compassion creates and sustains the entire gross and manifest realm, a Current known by many, many names--the Holy Ghost, the Sambhogakaya, saguna Brahman, Arwah or divine luminosity, Keter, the subtle body--but a Current that, in all events, is simply the sound of the beating of your Heart keeping rhythm to the pulsing of the world."

Nothing more to say.

Monday, September 19, 2005

We welcome you.

Well, the news is in. Jeff and I have been approved for permanent residence in Singapore. The goal of become a PR is twofold. First, we can now contribute to the CPF (Central Profident Fund) Which is the SIngapore government form of government sponsered 401K plan. Not a big deal, we set aside $ for savings every month. BUT our employers must now contribute as well.

Also, the good news is that we are no longer dependent on Jeff's work permit. My work permit has been issued on the account that "jeff" has one. should Jeff leave his employer, without a new job, we would have two weeks to leave Singapore. Obviously not what we want to do. So, now we go in, have blood tests, x-rays and the like. Prove that we are healthy... and we are good to go.

On other news, Delcan saw a speech therapist. WE were very happy with Vasu and what he intends to do with Declan. The evaluation was long and hard for the little man, but he did super. Vasu, is a speech therapist who has done both his undergrad and masters in language pathology in the States. He gave the D-man all sorts of test, checking what his baseline level of understanding and abilities are. He also did some oral motor evaluation. While we are still waiting for the results, basically we were very encouraged. He thinks his expressive speech is obviously delayed, but his receptive is not far off the mark. In otherwords he understands at nearly his age appropriate level. Some things like plurals and verbs are still a bit behind, but it make me happy to know we are not far that way. Declan may be slightly apraxic in terms of his oral motor ability, but we will have all sorts of fun games that Declan will play in order to work on those as well.

Cheap, well, no. The therapy will run us about $500 a month, but our little man is totally worth it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Updates on Family, Life and Everything

So, I have been chastised by many members of the family for my lack of communication... It is not that I purposely ignore you... just really busy thats all. Remember peeps, you can always try to call me....

Well, what is going on.

Declan is on his second field trip of the month. He is off for the WHOLE day today. First they are going to the port to look at ships. Then, on a train ride off to the airport. After looking at the airplanes all day... they are going to come home, tired and full of stories to tell around 5pm.

Stories for Declan aren't too involved at this stage. He still is pretty quite, but we are now at the point where with coaching he will tell us what he has for lunch at school. He also knows his address... 93 Cashew Heights. He also knows how to tell the taxi driver where his favorite coin operated rides are, as well as the restaurant that sells milkshakes and "cookie man". Cookie man, for those who aren't in the know, are actually gingerbread men, with m&M buttons and eyes. My children are future sadists as they take great joy in exclaiming "OH I ate his EYE"... or "oh no, I ate his foot".

Anyway, Declan will be evaluated for speech again (nothing like EVERY FLIPPING PERSON FAILS TO ACCEPT THE PRIOR EVALUATIONS>>>>) anyway, that will take place on Friday. His first session... that will be OCtober 4th.

So, Kiera. Well her favorite things to say now are... thats mine, I don't want it (or more correctly in her language "I no wann it"... and wheres my binkie. I love 2 year olds.

Love to you all


Thursday, September 01, 2005


Here are a few great pictures of the kids...

Delcan reading as part of an ad campaign for his school

Declan Watkins

Here is Kiera in my office in March(I need to get some pictures on my computer of her)

Kiera Watkins Office

More to come tomorrow

Old Pictures Old Memories

I have been looking through a bunch of old pictures the last few weeks. As soon as my shipment of stuff came from the states, I had the chance to sit down and look at some pictures that go back a number of years.

Old boyfriends- I wonder what you are doing? Did your life turn out the way you expected when you were 19? In some cases I thought I was so in love with you at the time, and now look back and think my life would be dramatically different. Was it really love, or a misguided youthful wish?

Old friends, Sorority sisters, high school and college chums- Where did you go? What did life give you? Are you out there on Google?

I can hardly imagine that I am sitting here, sometimes 20+ years ago... looking back at this young kid. First off, I was pretty cute. Second, I was really skinny, third... I was so full of life. I went to dinner last night at our favorite Hawker center, ordered myself some chicken prata... wanted to go home and go to bed by 7:45.

What happened to my reckless youth?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Gentle survival

Call me crazy, but this is just getting to be wild. I guess I think the gentle survivalist theroy may be one I need to follow.

Singapore is now considered a target for terrorist attacks.

New Orleans is about to flood. See this blog

Time to start getting my bug-out-bag ready, all of our vital records in one place and ready to grab.

Emergency Water stored.

Food Stores set up.

Nice world we live in now...


I have a cold, and it sucks. I have a stiff neck, a sore throat..and I can tell a headache is probably on the way. Being sick stinks... being sick in a tropical wonderland... really stinks, cause my body tells me to go to bed and sleep, in a big fluffy cloud of down covered duvets... but when it is 90 degrees outside, that doesn't quite work now does it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Our Shipment of STUFF arrived from the States.

We have our China and our Silver. We have the few books we saved and did not sell. We have most importantly our pictures. I admit, that now we have too much stuff. This is always a challange in trying to live a simple and delibrate life. But, there are a few things that maybe it is ok to have. Like pictures of Jeff as a kid. Pictures from our trips to Europe and Asia. Our Wedding China.

These things make me smile.

But we have too much stuff.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tell it like it is. Dan Eldon

I posted over at Far Flung Craft Blog that I admire the collage work of Dan Eldon and Peter Beard. For those of you who don't know, Dan Eldon was more than a collage artist. He was Rueter's youngest photo journalist who was killed while in Somolia during the famine in 1993. He was a journalist, an artist, a soul that believed in helping others.

I was contacted by Rita King who has started an interactive project in honor of Dan, and his mother and sister who have created an organization in Dan's honor.

Rather than repeat Rita's entire blog post, I will link it here and give a brief snip.

I’m asking for the participation of everyone interested in exercising their right to free speech who would like to make a substantial statement about current events.

Some of you voted for Bush. Some of you did not. Some of you didn’t bother voting at all. For better or worse, President George W. Bush is the leader of this country. We are at war. Climate change, which happens within or without the presence of humans, is becoming an overwhelming force of nature.

We have so much to think about

She goes on to give the details of the project

Those of you who want to share your thoughts about the current state of affairs in the United States are cordially invited to submit an essay of no more than 1000 words on this subject; serious entries only.

Limited to one entry per reader, each essay must be 1000 words or less on a subject that will illuminate your intimate thoughts on the state of current affairs. Be as abstract or specific as you’d like. Email each entry to with a portrait of yourself, taken by a friend, your child, a professional, yourself, as long as something about the photograph conveys a sense of who you are.

Seems like a good thing.

Technorati Tags:

First post of the day... some silliness

You gotta go check out this blog from a Singapore Blogger. I am sending the link, but basically, it is a security cam of a guy photocopying his behind. Best part... well, you gotta watch. Don't worry no nudity.


Trust me. It is good.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Shopping Locally

Don't you hate it when you can't find what you are looking for? You know they exist, but you can't find them here? I know exactly where to look in Taiwan. I can find them in Shanghai... I can find them in a snap... but I want to source them locally, and I can't seem for the devil to find them. What am I looking for? Wholesale sources of Silk/fabric or plastic flowers for my frou-frou kits. I have a vision in my head... Here is an example...

Like I said, I know where to get them in Taiwan... ARGH

SO very frustrating when I want to shop local.

Monday, August 01, 2005

What Kind of Coffee Are you?

A fun little test....

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


In a continuing quest to organize my craft supplies, I am also getting rid of some old stickers and supplies I no longer use. The problem is that I have a small supply (compared to many) and I really want to expand my art work... not reduce it. One of the key issues is the storage for all of my fibers (for the Far Flung Craft Business). Plus I really like the thought of being a Mixed Media Artist. The problem is I live in 1500 square feet of poorly planned apartment with my husband, my two kids, my nanny and my two pets. I also work for a major international MNC, from a 8X10 room in my house. This room also serves as the guest room/storage room and studio for my art/crafts.

SO... how do I survive? I actually need to accumulate more stuff for Far Flung Craft I have some really new fabric that I want to make new Frou-Frou kits with. The problem is I fear that this fabric will be a hit (not a bad problem I know) but I worry about supply. SO... How do I solve the age old dilemma of storage?

I will get back to you on that....


Friday, July 22, 2005

First Aid Kit

Also in connection with the London Bombings. I strongly suggest that we all have first aid kits in our homes for personal use. I know that I don't have one...and I am often hard pressed to find a bandaid, let alone some serious stuff if someone hurts themselves.

With Due Credit to Tenzicut at Down To The Roots and Organic Gardening and Homesteading Yahoo Group.... Here is what you should have in your first aid kit.

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first
aid kit should include:

Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes (Bandaide or the cut to
size ones)
2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6) (Telfa)
4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6) (Telfa)
Hypoallergenic adhesive tape (Porus Tape 1" & 1/2")
Triangular bandages (3)
2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls) (Kling)
3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls) (Kling)
Scissors (Good ones, don't skimp)
Tweezers (get good ones.. dont skimp)
Needle (I like 22 and 25 gauge syringe needles to take slivers out,
they are less painful, do a better job and are sterile)
Moistened towelettes (Snag some from KFC?)
Antiseptic (polysporin as well?)
2 Thermometers in cases (If you live where it is very cold,
sometimes digital ones don't always work)
Tube of KY or other lubricant
Assorted sizes of safety pins
Cleansing agent/soap (Hibitane)
Latex gloves (at least 2 pair) in small, medium and large (keep in a
ziplock baggie and labeled)
Sunscreen (may I recommend Nature's Gate brand?)
CPR Face mask.. contact a local EMT?
Ace bandage
Anti-diarrhea medication
Antacid (for stomach upset)
Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison
Control Center)
Antihystamine such as Benedril
A stash of any prescription medications anyone in your family uses
Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

I am going to go get mine this weekend.

Simply K

Technorati Tags:


Religion, rights, anger, hate. Bombs, death, fear. Survival, war, bigotry. I keep thinking of Elvis Costello, what ever happended to peace love and understanding?

My son, Declan, was born only weeks before 9/11. I am saddened by the world my children are inheriting.

Peace to everyone in London. My friend Steve, I owe you a long overdue note. I hope you are well.

So, here are the lyrics to one of the greatest songs....

Peace Love and Understanding by Elvis Costello

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.

I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry.
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry.
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?

Here is to more peace love and understanding.



Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A little Savings....

Here is a lesson on compound interest for those of you who need a reminder.

Lets say you invest a total of $1000 US per month for 5 years. Your total principle would be 72,000. Nice chunk of change.

Simple interest, a flat say 4% per year would give you an additional 480 per year on your principle. Plus, now here is the beauty baby.... compound interest kicks in here. You get $ on the interest you have already saved...including interest on the interest. ( I just love saying interest on interest...) It is kinda fun :-)

So, assume again... 12,000 a year in savings (a goodly amount for sure)....5 years... compound interest at 4% on 72,000 principle you have earned 10, 195 in interest... YUP. 10,000 in interest at only 4%.

Now, lets look a loans. Mom and I were talking the other day about the value of paying off debt, before making a savings plan. The key to that philosophy has to be what debt you pay off. Now, if you are paying on a mortgage at say 5%... does it make sence to pay it down before saving money... NO. I am no math wiz, but I know this to be true.

However, lets look at commercial credit for example. Lets say you have the annual American's debt load on a Visa Credit Card. According to a report on PBS, the average American has 6900 in commercial credit debt. At an interest rate of (I am being nice here) of 11%. I have actually read figures that the actual debt rate is closer to 16,000 and the interest rates are really more like 15.9%. Also, lets look at the minimum payment (say it is $100). First the BIG assumption is that you are not going to be adding ANY additional debt.

So, lets look at some numbers.

First, paying the minimum amount a month only. 100 bucks. Guess how long it will take to pay of this debt....By making minimum payments only, it will take you 33 years and 7 months to pay off your credit cards.

Based on your current combined balance of $6,900.00, you will pay a total of $9,914.93 in interest. NICE business if you are the credit card company. OK... Now, lets say you pay 500 dollars a month....If you pay $500.00 a month, it will take you 1 year and 3 months to pay off your credit cards.

Based on your current combined balance of $6,900.00, you will pay a total of $439.34 in interest.

OK, so finally, lets say you pay 1000 a month. This is what you would have put in savings. If you pay $1,000.00 a month, it will take you 8 months to pay off your credit cards.

Based on your current combined balance of $6,900.00, you will pay a total of $193.69 in interest.

So, now if you lose 8 months worth of compound interest...what does that mean for investments?

So, you take the remaining 4 months, put it into our savings at 4% a year. Then you add the 12,000 a year for 5 years. You end up with 64,000 in principle and 72,462.32 total saved after compound interest.

I argue, that while your total is decreased, the huge disservice is to pay the minimum on the high level loan. In fact, you would pay out a HUGE amount of interest to the bank. Probably the best tactic to take is to split the difference. Get half of your "investment" income and pay down the high interest debt and put the other half in savings. One last calculation to prove this fact. Lets say you paid 500 per month on your credit card debt. It takes you just over a year to pay it off. But for simplification, lets say you are able to scrape, save and cut back on expenses so that you are able to pay it off in one year and still put 500 bucks a month into savings.

Total investment the first year, 6000. Thereafter 12,000. Total period 5 years.

Prinicple and Interest...74,895.62. But the beauty is really in the next number.

Just sit on that 74K. Don't add another dime. 4% interest for 20 years. $164,106. Simply add an additional 100 a month for 20 years....200,783. Or, instead, keep the same principle, don't add, but increase your interest rate to 6%..240,200 at the end of the period.

Get that high debt paid down, get some money in savings. Good goals.



Thursday, July 14, 2005

Back from vacation..

Armed and ready for our new plan...a refreshed start on simple living, budgets and healthy lifestyles....

A quote to start the day.

"To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To listen to stars and birds and babes and sages with an open heart. To study hard, think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions. Never hurry.
In a word, to let the spiritual, the unbidden and the unconscious rise up through the common. This is my symphony."
-- William Henry Channing, 1898

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Creating a library

One of the big things we want to bring back with us to Singapore is our books. I love to read, fiction, non-fiction, books about farms, books about simple living. Love them all. And, I have a lot of them back home that I saved. I want them back.

What this means is we will need a alone for the cookbooks, but I feel like I will be surrounded by the things I love again.

We will also stop at the bookstore when we are in the states. Here is what is on my wish list...

Lorna Sass, the Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
Square Food Gardening
Encyclopedia of Country Living
Mother Earth News back issue CDs

I also want to create a virtual library with snippets, posts and articles gleaned from the great resource the internet. Dreams of a self-sufficient life on 10 acres...

Step One. Formulate your dream and research.



Monday, June 20, 2005

Of Poop and Pottys

we hit a break through.

Viewer discression notice... the following post discusses, poop, potties and the training of children....

Kiera, the most amazing 2 year old, you know the one who was potty trained at 20 months (with a few set backs but....hey) is always proud of her ability to tell us, Mommy, "Kiera wants to pooopo". Declan, on the other hand, has been potty trained for pee for almost a year, but the poop thing has been a struggle. He has been able to tell us for about 6 months that he wants a "poopoo diaper", but breaking through to poop on the potty has been like pulling teeth. No, I take that back, pulling teeth (again an experience Declan knows all too well) maybe easier.

So, for the last week, we made the great stride of sitting for extended periods of time on the potty. Reading books. But when the urge to poop came. Declan held it in, refused to go.... Really uncomfortable. I go out on a walk with the dog, come back to find Declan has convinced his father to put on the diaper.... ARGH, I can't leave for 15 minutes......but, I digress.

Last night, HUGE progress. I sat with Declan for about 40 minutes. Nadda. Lots of holding it. Put him in the tub for his bath, Nancy comes to finish up, and she puts him back on the potty for another 30 minutes... while I put Kiera to bed. All of the sudden Declan comes running in the room, waiving his flashlight, acting all proud of himself. Nancy reports a very small, but still nonetheless, an actual poop hit the potty... and it came out of Declan's butt!

Nancy, still sleeps in the same room as the kids. I think it is in part cause she prefers the room with the aircon, I don't blame her. Anyway... around 1:30 or 2... Declan wakes up, goes over to Nancy and says "Nancy wake up, wake up, Declan pee pee now!" So they get up and successfully go to the potty together. Yippee...

This morning, Delcan however, woke up with cramps, had a small accident in bed with pee (I am sure it was the cramps....) But screaming, yelling and crying aside, we went back to the potty for the biggest POOP I have ever seen from an almost 4 year old. It must have been a really tough couple of days, but I would not let him have a diaper. So, he got a special breakfast of pancakes and M&Ms. We will see if the trend continues. But today we are walking around singing and high fives are slappin'

It is a good kid day!



Wednesday, June 15, 2005

You can take the girl off the farm

But you can't take the farm out of the girl. Just thought I would share a fun little book I bought here in Singapore of all places. There is a funky little antique and book store that finds what they believe to be funky books. Well sure enough they had a book on rare breeds of livestock in England.

The book published by Shire Publications (here is the link ) covered rare breeds of cattle, and included the TRADITIONAL Hereford, the non-milking Shorthorn, Suffolk horses, a bunch of rare sheep, but also the traditional Southdown. All breeds that are native to England and the islands, but have been threatened due to crossbreeding, changes in the type of animal style and exctiction.

I read the little book cover to cover in about 30 minutes and loved every minute. All along saying, oh we should get this kind of sheep when we get back, think of all the great wool I could spin... or look at this cow, we could use her for milk and beef..... or look at this pig... look at that snout, great for digging grubs I am sure.

I think my husband, who shares a dream of returning to Oregon and getting our property, still thought I had lost my freakin' mind! Best read in a long time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Consumerisim runs rampid in this home

We are coming home in 2 weeks. We can't wait. What I love about going home is just being with friends and family. What I also love are trips to Nature's the organic grocery store (nka Wild Oat's), the mecca of all bookstores POWELL'S, a trip to the outlet mall for undies for Jeff and I, as well as some stuff for the kids. We will also hit Nordstrom for shoes and work clothes for Jeff and I. Finally a trip to Rich's cigar in downtown for a fix of magazines.

I love this about going home. Buying things from our favorite stores. Visiting our favorite bookstore.

I also HATE THIS about going home. It always feels like the whole purpose is shopping. That is not the case, but it does feel that way. I guess the fact that we only buy clothes for Jeff and I once a year back in the states does help, and the fact that we stock up on enough stuff that generally we feel like we bring a touch of home back to Asia. But, shopping, spending money, lost wages on trinkets and the like. Baubles, gewgaws and beads for trade.

Consumerism runs wild in this house, once a year.



Thursday, June 09, 2005

Finances and Dollar Strecher

I forget what a great resource the The Dollar Stretcher is. I always find an article or two of interest.

This weeks Story is excellent and bears repeating...

If you want to live within your means and live with little or no debt... here are some good tips (as adapted by me for my personal goals)

1. Credit Cards: Jeff and I have two. One in the US, to maintain US credit ratings and for use when in the US. Paid off every month. One American Express issued in Singapore, for use for Travel only. EVERYTHING else is cash only.

2. Pay off debts before incurring new ones. Good goal, have not gotten there yet. With our student loan debt, this is not realistic (SHORT TERM) but as a long term goal it is very good.

3. Mortgage payment can be covered by one salary. We only have the mortgage on our rental property, so our goal is to make sure rent pays for mortgage and taxes.

4. Living Expenses. We do really well here in Singapore, our food budget, for the most part, even though the kids are older and eat more and we have an additional adult to feed (Nancy) we do alright. I am trying to buy more in bulk and store it. May buy a big freezer to assit with this and cut down on grocery costs even more buying in bulk and freezing.

5. Eating out... well we gotta work on that. Don't spend much otherwise on entertainment, maybe one movie a month...

6. Buy as much as possible used (Books etc). In Asia this is more difficult, but we try to get as many books as possible from used bookstores and we are big dumpster divers(ok... curbside shoppers is more appropriate.

The rest of the article is more personal to the author, but still gives valid points. I recomend checking out the website for more great ideas on living frugally.



Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Porch Garden and Dumpster Diving

As a few of you will recall, I planted (ok the kids planted) a few seeds on Earth Day. We planted catnip (which all sprouted and then was promptly eaten by said cat); lettuce (a total washout); and Eggplant which has grown like crazy. even with trimming and selecting the best and brightest, I still have 6 healthy plants... so I need more pots!

Also, I love living in Asia, please people don't ever get into the habit of donations of used goods, continue to throw perfectly good items away so that I can take them home and make them my own.

Jeff and I found two perfectly good wooden drawer/file cabinets with marble tops. The bottom drawers had been taken apart, but all the wood was still there. If I get a digital camera I can show you all how excellent the condition is and how this was a steal!



Thursday, June 02, 2005


This picture will be used in an advertisment for our preschool and will run in the local Singapore paper.

How handsome is he?

Moved my blog

Oh, I will send this out in an email, to those of you... I have moved the blog to host off my own website.

the blog can now be read at



Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Waldorf Education in Singapore

We are on the waiting list to put Declan in the Waldorf School in January 2006. Once I pay the deposit, I think we are locked in for his spot. I am really excited about this as I believe in the method of education, and I think it would be good for Declan. Downside... the money.

Why is it that good quality education costs lots of money? I am happy to support the local Waldorf school as 90% of the school is still run on the blood sweat and tears of its volunteers. The teachers do get paid, but the dollar figure, really is quite small. The classes are small, about 6-10 kids, so if one kid drops out for the year, you are either obiligated to pay the whole year, or find a child to fill the spot. Now, see, I can get behind that. We really are supporting the school.

But, it just kills me. How can we justify paying additional money when the school on our Condo is about half the cost? I want it all I guess, I want a FREE school, public education, that is based on child centered learning, that takes into account the individual child's needs, that is balanced in arts and sceince, that does not forget to bring beauty and creativity into the classroom, that has a small size and teaches the kids respect for themselves, nature and each other.

I guess I am a dreamer.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Oh I love my "home town"

Ok, Portland Oregon is NOT really my home town, but it is pretty darn close. Anyway, while surfing about trying to live sustainable in a tropical environ, I stumbled upon the the following website... Low Impact

Well, while on the site I found this great book, all about natural cleaners and toxic items in our home. It is published by the Oregon DEQ and Portland Metro.

Hazardless Home

how cool is Portland... way cool :-)



Friday, May 20, 2005

Missing my kids

I am in Taiwan, day 3 of a 10 day trip. I miss my kids. Want to be home. I miss my grumpy gus husband, want to be home.

Glad to be in Taipei, glad to see my pals.

Still missing my kids.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Not exactly simple

Traveling the world is not really the best use of the worlds resources, but hey it is fun...

Where have you been?

create your own visited country map

Ok, not like I have visited ALL of Russia, ALl of the US or Mexico, but you get the idea :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Simple Spring

Well, we don't have "Spring" in Singapore, but we just transplanted the catnip and the bringal (aka eggplant) into bigger pots. The eggplant, if it survives, will need to be thinned again as the plants get bigger and we see which are the healthy ones. I guess they will be about ready when we get ready to head back to the states for a break.

Here are some thoughts from a list serve on healing I am on. Nice ideas to spread.

Inspired by Keeping Life Simple, by Karen Levine (Storey Books, 2004).

These wise tips hold great potential for changing our lives. Just like the seeds many of us are planting now, these tips can grow into ways of being that are gentler, simpler, and filled with more honest joy in living.

Check out the ten tips for a simpler spring--and a simpler, happier life--right here:

1. Relax your standards. A messy garden takes less work than an ultra-tidy one, but it still bears beautiful flowers and fruit.

2. Take time to figure out what you find most satisfying. Some of us like to spend the spring days washing our car, foraging for wild edibles, or lazing in a hammock. Make sure you know what your pleasure-priorities are.

3. Create time for the things you care about, whether it is a daily walk in the spring sun, or 30 minutes with a good book.

4. Enjoy what’s in front of you. Spring abounds with beauty, no matter where you live. Take time to appreciate it all.

5. There is value in having a long-range perspective on life, but there is also a value in being able to live in the moment. We don’t want to miss the beauty of the buds because we’re impatiently longing for the ripe fruit.

6. Learn to be flexible; rigidity is the hobgoblin of an unsatisfying life. We can take a lesson from the trees, which sway in the spring winds and rains and are not uprooted.

7. CHANGE. . . every once in awhile you need to shake things up and surprise everyone, including yourself. On a sunny day, grab your kids and head outside for an unexpected picnic. If your child gets grass-stains on their knees, so what? The joy of acting spontaneously is one of the greatest gifts life has to offer.

8. What activities and things are you able to live without? If you really think about this, your list will grow and grow. . . Maybe you don’t really need the latest garden gadget you were drooling over in the catalog, or that new lawn chair. . . Maybe you’d rather not make those sandwiches for that meeting because someone else could do that just as well, but only YOU can do some of the things YOU do . . .

9. Remember, you always have the capacity to make CHOICES. This year, maybe you’d rather plant strawberries than roses. Or you’d rather save for a getaway rather than buy a new stereo. It’s up to you.

10. Remember that there are no bonus points in life for suffering through what other people say you should enjoy. Only you know what really pleases you.

From the Healing Den.

Hope you are having a great spring back at home.



Friday, May 13, 2005

For Jennifer-Essential Oil recipes for kids

To put on Parent Pages...
I found these online today... Things in italics are my own 2Cents

Essential Oil Recipes for Babies and Children

Natural Baby Oil
Empty container for oil
1/2 cup of olive oil
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Mandarin Essential Oil

The blend of Lavender and Mandarin is not only beneficial to the skin, but is relaxing and can calm a baby along with the massage given as you apply the oil. Mix ingredients in the chosen container. Shake well to blend oils.

Nothing better for mom and baby than to sit back and relax with a small baby massage.

Teething Gel for Little Ones
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or glycerin (sweeter flavor)
1 drop Clove Essential Oil

In a small bottle, mix the Clove Essential Oil with the vegetable oil or glycerin and shake till well-blended.


Homemade Baby Wipes
1 cup distilled water
1/2 cup Aloe Vera Gel
20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
2 teaspoons vinegar

Pour all of the ingredients into a glass jar with a tight lid. Cover jar and shake to blend ingredients well. Lavender Essential Oil is healing to the skin. Vinegar and Tea Tree will help to prevent diaper rash and keep the wipes from becoming moldy. If the baby already has diaper rash, be sure the vinegar doesn't irritate it.

Place your wipes (see below) in the container you will be using and pour enough of the solution over them to moisten them. You can add more later if it seems to dry. Store leftover liquid in the refrigerator.

Wipes: Choose a sturdy paper towel. Remove the center cardboard. Cut roll in half. Begin use with towel from the center of the hole. You can generally find a purchased wipes container that will fit the roll.

I advise against using paper towels. WHY not use soft cotton flannel rags, you wash these with your CLOTH diapers. So much better for the environment. Paper towels are often craft wood, highly processed, bleached and very hard on babies bottom!


This is it, this is the dream. This is what we want. Anyone want to spare 175K for us to buy this now?

7 acres, in Amity, Amity Heights subdivision.



Still focusing on risk. Why is it that I have become risk adverse? I used to be the first person to say, what jump out of an airplane? You Bet.

Move to Asia, YOU BET,

Quit your chinese at the age of thirty... Why not!

Things seem different now, maybe it is the kids, maybe it is pushing 40. I don't know, risks just seem so much scarier now. Things just seem different now. Things just seem more involved.

But again, could be hatching chickens before they count.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Be Very Careful what you ask for...

More on the whole art journal class, I am taking it all in, and it seems to be very appropriate. The prompt this week is RISK. Wow, the timing could not have been better. Jeff is looking for a new job. One option would involve a move. Not a move I am too excited about, but it would be a great opportunity for him. I also don't want to hatch my chickens before they coop, or something like that, so risk is a very appropriate theme now.

I also think about my desires and wants. What is it that I want?

1. Do I want to be an international attorney and live the life a a vagabond, living out of suitcases, on the road more weeks than home? I used to think so.

2. Do I want to stay home with the kids all the time? Give them my full and undividved attention 24-7? Would I have the emotional strength? Would I go nuts?

3. Do I want to become a rich socialite expat wife, lunching, meetings for "the better good of the poor and downtrodden" in what ever town I live?

4. Do I want to have a small farm, back at home in Oregon, but as a result be tied to the land and never feel the opportunity to leave?

Risk, what do I want? What is best for my family and me? What do Jeff and I really need?

I guess part of living simply, is living mindfully. I think I need to "drill down" and find what is the very core of me and satify those inner calls. It is too easy to pick part of the solution, and feel part satisfied, only to later feel incomplete.

Be careful what you ask for. I wanted an overseas life, with travel being first and foremost, I got it... but is that all I want? I just don't know.

ramblings from the road. Week one of 3 weeks of travel.



Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Surreal life in China

How does life get any more strange? Take a trip to China and find out.

I am staying at the Shenzen Crowne Plaza, arguably the best hotel in all of Shenzhen. The best part is that is is fashioned after a Venitian Theme, all of the bellboys wearing little italian hats. Yup, I kid you not. Here is the only downloadable image I could find on the web. For more you will need to hit the webpage. Really go take a virtual tour. It is a trip

But, guess what I look out on? The Eiffel tower. I shit you not. What? DOn't believe me? Here, look here is proof.

Life, just doesn't get any better than this!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Ok, I have a cyst, and it hurts, it happens to be in one of those places that clothes rub and makes it even worse.

Along those lines here is some fun reading from one of the internets' greatest bloggers... Dooce. I remeber reading about Lance Armstrong (the cyst...not the cyclist) and Lance Armstrong the Conclusionreader alert graphic written images are in the above links (in otherwords...eew gross.

So, I am about to run off on a short overnight trip to Shenzhen China and when I come back I am going to ask the Doc if there is anything he can do to "cyst my lance".

In the meantime, lots of internet sites basically state there is nothing you can do, other than wait, have it removed, and take antibiotics. YUK. It is funny, I had the same type of a bump on my hip, it appeared when I was preggers with Declan and it was there for about 2 years, it never bothered me, but it is still sort of there in sort of a scar tissue sort of a way. The only other thing that I can see is that I should take more EFA (cause I guess that helps prevent them) and to use a warm compress. In the meantime, it is bandaid city for me.

More information than you ever wanted to know huh?

Monday, May 09, 2005

A meme-renewal

I am working on an art journal challenge over at Written Down The first theme was starting, beginning, renewal. This weeks theme is Risk. Interesting, as I read on a bunch of scrapbooking blogs like Ali or Donna where these women are also starting fresh, changing. Ali is on a personal challenge to simplify her life and I really appriciate that. Donna is trying to renew her scrap area. But... for me... it is so much more.

First, I got an unexpected raise. A nice one too. About 25%. While I am still underpaid, this goes a long way. The hard part is that we need to save some money, in the event Jeff loses his job, but it is very difficult not to want to get a few things. Things that I don't really NEED, but that would make my life much more full. A car. American Club Membership. But first, we are going to put the extra 25% in savings until September, and then, we will discuss other expenses.

Onto renewal, I really want to live more sustainably here in Singapore. I dream of a deck side garden, I really dream of a small home with a garden, but that may not be possible. I want to cut back on my overall food purchases, I want to live more in tune with nature.

Problems that need to be overcome. My deck is really quite small, but in order to stay in a less expensive apartment, in a place with a great pool, a great day school for Declan, we need to stay here. Is it possible to use the bedroom deck as a Garden? What will this require and can we scrounge up supplies rather than purchase them? If so, do we need to build shelfs or other items to maximize space and light?

I need to learn about tropical gardening? Where to find books on this? I guess I will start with the library and online sources?

I want to find out more about storage of foods in tropical enviroments. We could I guess, find a big freezer, which everyone seems to say is the way to keep things dry and the humidity out... but freezers use LOTS of energy, are big areas and are not really cost efficent for a small apartment, I guess one of the only solutions is to vacuum pack, so where do I find a vacuum packing machine?

Well, those are my memes on renewal....



Thursday, May 05, 2005

Going Home For Vacation?

So, we have committed, we are going back to the States for 2 weeks this summer. One of the big plans is to go through our storage shed, get rid of stuff that has been sitting there for 6 years now, and determine what to keep, toss and what to ship back to Singapore.

Some things I want to bring back are some of my books on Simple Living, Money and Earth Stewardship. I also want to bring back my plates, my china and my silver.

We also have a rug, that is currently on the floor at my mom's house, that needs to find its way to our living room and to cushion our toes.

I also want our pots and pans, that way we can start cooking on good stuff, rather than on plastic coated teflon pans.

Well, we also can take some time and throw out lots of stuff as well. An adventure for sure!

Not Feeling Simple

Worked a 14 hour day yesterday. Not the kind of simple life I envision. Work, for the sake of work is ok and all, if you are making valuable contributions to society.

Well, arguing over the liability cap for third party infringement... not what I deem to be contributing to society's betterment.

Ok, so my little plants that the kids planted on Earth day are sprouting away. The lettuce seems to be a no-show, but the cat nip and egg plant are going gang busters. Time to do some pruning... selective kill I guess -and who said that vegetarians are no-harm! :-)

More soon from the land of oz.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

doubts and fears

A personal post today. A bit confused, full of stress, our life seems to change in directions we are not always prepared for. I am starting an online class for art journaling. Written Down. I have always journalled through out various times in my life, and I have not done it recently, although these blogs are the online version of journaling. Anyway, many of the fellow classmates are bigtime full on published artists and scrapbookers. This is pretty intimidating to a art newby. (see my post on those issues over on the Far Flung blog).

I guess my insecurities above are sort of being fed by a whole host of issues. Jeff's job transition. My impending travel schedule of 3 weeks next month. Plans to go home in June to see family and friends.

A day filled with doubts and fears about my future, my dreams, my life.

We will return to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Midnight Shopping Spree

Yup, I have been known, in the past, to find things on the side of the road, or in the recycle bins that still have tons of use. when we lived in Taiwan, some student friends of ours introduced us to their apartment filled to the brim with very cool cast offs. The practice in Taiwan is to throw out your un-wanted items before Chinese New Year so that we can welcome in new things and new wealth over the lunar new year. So, the week before Chinese New Year in Taiwan is great for Midnight Shopping or Midnight Decorating. They got a whole living room full of barely used Tatami mats that made their apartment ROCK.

Well, being a cheapo, I always tend to keep my eyes out when ever I pass the garbage bin here at the Condo. OK, so LIKE I DON'T TAKE GARBAGE... DUH... but I saw a great leather briefcase once, I almost grabbed it, but one of the rules of simplifying is don't take what you won't use! So, yesterday, I saw this AWESOME little batik fabric covered box. I have no idea what came in it originally, but I thought it is really neat and would make a neat "altered" art box for Jeff for his birthday. I could decorate the inside of the box and make a sort of picture box of it. He could put it on his desk and when he wanted to see pictures of the kids... he could open it.

ALas,plans change however, Declan has claimed said box as his own for his coloring supplies. will we ever get it back?



Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I find that I am so adept, or perhaps not so, at multi-tasking, I find it hard to give my full attention to any single matter. This is a big deal and a big confession. I find I sit on conference calls, not paying attention. I play with my website, I look at blogs, I am not fully present when I work. Now, for many people, that is not a problem, but if you are an attorney by trade, that could put you into the soup for sure.

I guess I was reading the Simple Living Guide, by Janet Luhrs, and this topic hit home. She talks about time, but the attention part grabbed me and shook me up.

I work 60 hour weeks on my 9-5 job. I work from home. I ReALLY want to build a business... I LOVE my children and want to spend REAL time with them, not time focused on other things or resentful that they are fussy. I want to live a life filled with love and hope for better things with my spouse of 10 years.

THIS WEEK... I will make the first step. DO ONE THING AT A TIME. I will not surf while on the phone. I will not type emails while reviewing a contract. Each thing I do will be the ONLY thing I do at a time.

I am not sure how well this is going to work, but lets see...



Monday, April 25, 2005

Hungry for Pictures?

Wanna see more pictures of the kidlets?

I just posted a couple over on the Far Flung Blog You can see those cutie patooties in Penang.


Empty House, Empty Office

Right before my mom came to Singapore, I spent 3 days organizing the office/scrap/craft room. As you know I guess I live 75% of the day in the 10X10 space that doubles as a guest room. Anyway, here is what it looked like before we had company, and what it will look like again, after an afternoon of spiffing up again.

I know it looks clean, but it is really kind of empty now.

Miss you already Mom.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Earth Day

So, today is earth day. I plan to do something with the kids to help them explore a connection with nature. I am going to go to a small nursery at lunch and try to find some potting soil, a few small pots and maybe some lettuce seeds. See if we can't start a small garden on the porch.

What are you all doing for earth day?



Thursday, April 21, 2005

Slowing Down?

Hi all, I am back from a vacation... only to have my son diagnosed with Hand/Foot Mouth disease (coxsackie virus). Anyway, he is home from school for the next four days.

As I think I mentioned, it has been NUTTY busy at the 9-5 job, so much so that Far Flung has been a bit left behind. I have tonnes of work I want to do on the site-stock I want to feature, mails and promo's to get out... but it is pretty darn hard when you work 210 hours the previous 30 days in your 9-5 job.

I did get the chance to read a bit while on vacation, a very good refresher book on Simplicity (which I will post some from later). But bad news is Mom lost her camera with all of her pictures :-(

So, anyway, back to work today... then on to the website this weekend.



Saturday, April 16, 2005

See you in 4 days

70+ hours a week for Jeff and Kristy, out of town guests and stress out the wazoo...makes one say

Its time for vacation.....

See you on Wednesday

Thursday, April 14, 2005

From a great list I belong to...Food Hints

This is a list prepared by Tenzicut from her website Down to the Roots.

I found these tips inspring for living more organically.

• Eat organically grown foods whenever possible,
preferably locally grown, and don’t expect perfection in
appearance, but don’t sacrifice quality either, OG Grown
produce should be as good or better, but they will not
all look like they were stamped out of a

• Where you can’t find Organic, try to keep your imported
food to a minimum; offshore pesticide controls and
inspections may be less rigid.

• Concentrate on in-season food grown locally; out of season produce is
shipped a long way for along time and it is often treated
with chemicals to keep it from spoiling

• Plan your meals. Utilize leftovers.

• With non-Organic foods, follow good pre-cleaning and cooking

• Keep yourself informed about the pesticides used on
foods and the additives used in them and ask your
grocer to stock foods without them.

• Read labels of all processed foods, on which the ingredients
must be listed in the order of quantity; buy products
with the fewest ingredients. Try to buy processed
foods with the least amount of packaging or re-usable packaging.

• If you are concerned about possible chemical residues or
want to complain about the additives in a packaged
food, write to the manufacturer listed on the label (or
do a web search for them); usually on the box, only
the company name, the city and postal code are
listed, but that is generally enough to get the letter to
reach “The President” of the company.

• Consider sending a photocopy to the president of your grocery
store chain, the store manager can give you the name
and address.

• Take a few minutes and write a thank you letter or email when you find and are pleased about finding an additive-free, certified organic, or
otherwise environment-friendly product in a store. It will
encourage producers, store managers and growers to
continue, besides, sometimes they give you free or 50% off
the product coupons.

We try to do our best at buying food from our local biodynamic/organic farm Green Circle Eco Farm. While our food is not always pretty, it is wonderful and usually very flavorful!

Mom in Singapore

Just a picture to show off my Mom in front of the Raffles Hotel

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

How much?

Keri Smith is a great artist and has a wonderful blog. I actually need to go down and get her book.... but today her post was very on point for this blog

What does it take to make a home? How much do you need?

I need to sit down and really mull this question over again as I look at my house beginning to accumulate stuff. The goal for me in terms of simplicity is not necessarily how little I need, but to find that perfect balance between needs and wants, filling the house (and my life) with beautiful things, but not to such an extreme that I can't set foot in the door.

finding the balance for me is going to be different than it is for someone else, that is for sure. Some will find they need less, they can live in a cabin by the river with a few books to keep them company. Others may find a few books is too spartan, to austere, to simple.

I know for sure... I want to get my China and Silver from my storage in the states. If I have beautiful things, they do not serve any purpose in storage. I want to have a nice carpet on my cold floor. I want to hang some pictures (scrapbooking on the wall perhaps) of my children.

I don't need a hairdryer (I just put it up anyway). I don't need much if any makeup. I don't need a microwave. I don't need a juicer. I would like a multipurpose blender/food processor... but I don't need it.

What don't you need? What do you want? Where do you find balance?

Monday, April 11, 2005


The tax man commeth. For the tax year 2004, we had to file 4 separate returns. One in Taiwan before we moved to Singapore. Ok, so we can check that one off the list... now, April 15th looms...and we need to file our Singapore taxes. Jeff has a "real" job where he makes a salary and they report his income to IRAS (the IRS of Singapore). I on the other hand, have to figure out my business income and report it. Ok, plus there is the small business on the side that I need to totally do something about... Far Flung.

Then, come June, we need to turn around and file our Oregon and US returns. Even though we don't have taxable US income (only the house rental, which does not really generate profit, but pays for itself).

YUK. 4 returns. Now, all of you back at home that only had to file your local and federal taxes... picture your self lucky.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Food on the cheap

Some of the great things about living overseas is the ability to eat really awesome food for really really cheap. We went a bit hog wild last night and went to a Hawker center near our home. Dinner included a huge plate of fried rice, BBQ chicken wings, BBQ spare ribs, chicken rice (x2) plus a big plate of baby bok choy in Garlic. Topped off with 2 beers, the total price for this splurge- about 15 dollars US. We had enough to take home dinner for Nancy, and lunch today for the whole family.

Shopping your way to Anti-consumerism

I was reading the great website Path To Freedom which has great references, thoughts and articles on voluntary simplicity, permaculture and living off the grid. Anyway, this article caught my eye and away I went.

The Rebel Sell Why is it that we hate consumerism, but we continue to shop?

One of the most important quotes in the article is the following
In fact, the critique of mass society has been one of the most powerful forces driving consumerism for more than 40 years.

So, why is it that magazines like Adbusters, movies like the Fight Club, social critiques, enforce consumerism? The article posits the theory, from the 60's about what consumerism requires to succeed.

1. Capitalism requires conformity in the workers. Capitalism is one big machine; the workers are just parts. These parts need to be as simple, predictable, and interchangeable as possible. One need only look at an assembly line to see why. Like bees or ants, capitalist workers need to be organized into a limited number of homogeneous castes.

2. Capitalism requires conformity of education. Training these corporate drones begins in the schools, where their independence and creativity is beaten out of them—literally and figuratively. Call this the Pink Floyd theory of education.

3. Capitalism requires sexual repression. In its drive to stamp out individuality, capitalism denies the full range of human expression, which includes sexual freedom. Because sexuality is erratic and unpredictable, it is a threat to the established order. This is why some people thought the sexual revolution would undermine capitalism.

4. Capitalism requires conformity of consumption. The overriding goal of capitalism is to achieve ever-increasing profits through economies of scale. These are best achieved by having everyone consume the same limited range of standardized goods. Enter advertising, which tries to inculcate false or inauthentic desires. Consumerism is what emerges when we are duped into having desires that we would not normally have.

Later the article goes on to show how in the movie "American Beauty" the anti-hero Lester does when he rebels against modern consumerism, is still purchase goods... the car he buys makes him a man. Again, from the article
American Beauty illustrates, with extraordinary clarity, is that rebelling against mass society is not the same thing as rebelling against consumer society.

So, how does this relate to Singapore? What you mean the country whose national hobby is "shopping"? When you can't get a good enough deal here in Singapore on Soap, Toilet Paper and Toothpaste you get in the car, drive over the border to Johor Bahru Malaysia, the whole citywide equivalent of Costco? What JB too passé? Well, jump on a plane to BKK (Bangkok) on a 99 Sing dollar return so you can do your shopping there.

Living in the heart of a city of 4 million people, in an 1800 square foot apartment, with a balcony of only 3 foot square, does not allow us to be self sufficient. We must shop for certain things or we can not survive. How does one draw the line between needs and wants in a consumer society? A some what rhetorical question perhaps, but one I should do a better job of exploring.



Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Red Hot Peppers!

Sometimes I just love rocking out. I am supposed to be working, but Kiera came in my office and started to play with the CD player. The only CD close by was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, By the Way.

We started to dance and laugh and I taught her the phrase "rockin' out". So I now have a little rocker girl.

By the way, a great quote from the album.

"Show love with no remorse
Climb onto your Seahorse
This ride is right on course
This is the way I wanted it to be with you
This is the way I knew it would be with you."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Easter 2005

Easter this year was a bit quiet. We did eggs the night before and then had the kids find them the next morning. One item to note, living in Sinagpore causes a bit of a problem, logistics wise, from the easter bunny's point of view. Eggs, which are boiled and colored the night before and then placed in the refrigerator tend to sweat substanially after removal and hiding which causes a bit of problems when the eggs are found. Colored hands and colored spots where the eggs were hidden....

Here is little missy Kiera doin' up some eggs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Names spelled with Flickr

OK, this is going around, but I just love it so

dRed E againTee?LLno pArkingN


kTrain Logo CircleEPink Rtile a

here is the place to do this yourselfCool site

Lost posts

Well, hum, I lost the last post. I guess it wasn't really important. Technology does have a way of reminding us that life is pretty imperfect! Oh well, more later I guess

Thursday, March 24, 2005

My Baby is 2

Kiera is 2. At 3:46 in the afternoon on March 24, 2003... Kiera Anne Watkins was born. Now, at 2. Kiera is an inquisitive, talkative, smarty pants that I love more each day.

Happy birthday pumpkin. We love you.

Half way through

I am over half way, and I am impressed, the room is looking good... if I do say so. Maybe organization has some merits after all! Only 12 hours until Mama-san hits the ground.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

New Bike

Declan got a new bike. Now he is a big boy. Almost 4. Grown up so fast.

The Great Purge Begins...

OH, ONLY 36 HOURS... See, my mom flys in on Thursday night. Which is awesome. Can't wait to see her... can't wait to have someone to talk to (Still a bit lonely, but I digress) I CAN wait... I AM NOT READY...

I work from home now, after our move to Singapore, which is not optimal when you consider I have lots of telephone calls and lots of paper... I am a lawyer after all, but one copes. BUT, the biggest problem, logistics wise is the office doubles as my craft room/ Far Flung Crafts storage center and logistics hub/ and the GUEST ROOM. All of this is a 10x10 room.

So, about a week ago, I started to sort and stack stuff that needed sorting and stacking, then I started to purge a few magazines, and wouldn't you know it I threw away the 2003 Am Cham directory from Taipei, and Jeff needed it. Anyway, I have about a weeks worth of organzing and cleaning, plus a huge back load of work. Not to mention that I need to get Bonnie's heritage album done before Mom goes BACK to America.

Ok, so step one, recognize I have an addiction to clutter. Step two, just DO IT. (Who would have thought I would quote Nike?)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rosie's Blog

B, thanks for turning me onto this great blog . Rosie has amazing things to say (who wouda thunk it) and frankly she has some amazing art as well. Think I am going to link her to the Far Flung Craft blog

You should see the art work... check it out here Rosie

Thanks B, you rock.



Kiera's Birthday

And now for some good news...

My angel baby, my snookums, my sweet pea is turning 2 in 2 days...

We thought about what to get this kid, and all she likes to do now is read books and paint. So, painting it is.

Monday, March 21, 2005

First Day of Spring

Renewal, rebirth. For those living in the northern hemisphere, and those places that have seasons (unlike Singapore), today is the first day of spring. This day has a few bitter sweet memories for me. I got married this day, back in 1987. Seems like a life time ago, in fact it was, it was a path that I started down and realized I needed to turn back. The marriage did not last, and I started down a new path 3 years later, one that lead to law school, to Jeff, to Asia and to the two most beautiful children in the world.

This day, every year, I sort of find myself reflecting on the life that I have been leading. Has it been one I want? Has it been filled to the brim with joyfulness? Have I been following my inner callings, or have I been walking down a path I think I should take.

Many people start a new year off with resolutions, with goals for the coming year. You know, I think that the right time is to do it now. Three months into the "new year" on the date that spring starts, the date that the Christian church chose as a celebration of Christ and truly the most holy of the holidays (as many of you know Spring Solstice and Easter are linked). Rebirth, renewal....

I woke up today and thought, I am following my path.

The one I want to take. Even if it is different than the one others walk.

I am going to be happy, in my life, with my life, with my choices. This path is the correct path, I am just facing some up hill climbs now, but as any mountain biker will tell you, the uphill is necessary to have a gnarly ride back down!

Renewal, rebirth, rejoice. Spring is here, Easter is around the corner. Life is good, you just remember to see it that way.



Friday, March 18, 2005

Love this quote

"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony." [ William Henry Channing ]

I just read this on Ali Edwards blog (by the way if you are into scrapbooking her stuff rocks!)

Anyway, it was great to read her stuff. I did not realize her son Simon is autistic. We struggle with Declan so much and wonder where he is on the Autism spectrum... he is making great strides by the way and I think we are going to put him back into therapy, but his teachers all comment on what great improvments he has made lately.

Back to being content. I am not content now. I want a new job, I want my husband to be happy. I want my children to be well and healthy. This is really a big struggle of mine. I think the quote is going straight to the printer and up on the wall.



Friday, March 11, 2005

Triangle of Life Earthquake Safety

While lunching with the gals, one of the discussions was the triangle of life. Apparently an email has been going around about the triangle of life. After a quick google search, the first site to come up was the Snopes urban legend site.

First, I guess the argument is that in the event of an earthquake you should find a space where you will be protected by a "triangle". Well, rather than try to rephrase here is the quote..

"Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the "triangle of life". The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the "triangles" you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building. They are everywhere. I trained the Fire Department of Trujillo (population 750,000) in how to survive, take care of their families, and to rescue others in earthquakes"

The quote is attributed to Mr. Douglas Copp.

Mr. Copp apparently is not all that he seems, he is currently under investigation by the US department of justice for Fraud and the American Red Cross challanges his tips, citing amoung other things that buildings around the world vary and what may work in the US will NOT be safe in other parts of the world. Like the SNOPEs site says the ideas may not all be bad, but it is probably better to follow the Red Cross and FEMA guidelines for Earthquake Disasters.

Here are those links for my friends.

FEMA: Drop and Cover and Hold On

Red Cross Earthquake Page

HOWEVER, In order to make things even less clear, the American Red Cross has stated that the Drop Cover and Hold On may not be appropriate for other countries besides the US. So, it is with a grain of salt...

I think that I will pretty much remain where I am, drop to the ground if standing, and try to get close to an item of cover. Who Knows eh?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Clarification on Guns

I should note, my family are meat eaters. I do understand that there are many out there who are not, and therefore, if my family did not eat meat, I would still state we would use guns. If we eventually have our goal of a small family farm, our goal would be to be as close to self sufficent as possible. If we require milk, we will either have a cow or goats. My argument on being able to put them down in a quick and humaine manner still stands.


Guns and Survival

It is interesting; I had a great lunch on Monday with a bunch of my girlfriends back in Taipei. The topic of simplicity, survival and self sufficiency came up. Marcia (Hi Marcia!) talked about how she wants every member in her family to be able to learn to shoot a gun.

After long and hard thoughts about this (not at the table mind you, but before) I think I agree. Let me explain. First, I want never to have a hand gun in my house. Why, in my opinion, hand guns are for the sole purpose of killing another human. You can justify it by saying they are for defense, but again, it is defense against another person. I am a pacifist; I hate any thought of killing another human. I would rather teach my family defenses not using handguns, but that is not the purpose of this post.

When I think about using Guns, to me, the purpose should be for hunting or for use on a farm. I would like very much to learn to shoot a rifle. God forbid I hope to never use it, but should Jeff and I succeed in our goal to get a farm some day, if a sheep ever breaks a leg, or a horse gets itself into a position were it has to be put down, I want the ability to do it. I don't want to see the animal suffer until I can call on a neighbor or friend, or vet, to do it.

Plus, I want my family to be able to hunt. I don't know that they will ever NEED to hunt for food. But, these skills are important and are being lost in today's modern computer based society. I don't want to think of a situation so bad that my family has to hunt, but what happens if we are subject to a terrorist attack and the attack caused all food supply to be compromised. Likely? Perhaps not, but who could have ever imagined a plane flying into the World Trade Center?

However, all of this being said, I am strongly in favor of gun safety. If a gun is in my house, it will be in a gun safe. The gun safe combination will only be known to me and my spouse. We do not use "play guns" in the house. If the kids make believe with sticks, there is little I can do, other than to remind them that guns are not toys. We will teach our children about proper gun care. We will teach the children that guns are tools-not toys.

All of this is rather moot now, as it is illegal to have any guns in Singapore. But we will revisit the issue when we move back to Oregon on our "family farm" (right next door to B&P's house!)
Who links to me?