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.

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