Monday, April 30, 2007

Martha Stewart Fruit Crumble...The Singapore Way.

See, I fell off the wagon and I have been buying magazines again. Lots of them. Seriously have fallen off the compact big time when it comes to magazines. Otherwise my purchases of "new items" has been pretty good. Once and a while I slip, but for the most part I am doing well.

First, a picture of a cabinet I got off freecycle. I did purchase a bit of wood oil to try to get some moisture back into the wood, and a bit of wood glue to try to fix some of the decorative elements (but alas some are missing so the brickabrack will be incomplete)

Now, in order to justify falling off the Compact pledge of no new purchases (ok notice that I put the freecycle grab first?) I figure I had better use the recipes in the Martha Stewart Mag I bought. Well, I am a sucker for fruit crumbles.

This one is kind of from Martha's magazine, with a few improvisations from my part. The recipe calls for fresh peaches. Um, not going to find those in Singapore. And fresh Cherries, again, not the season nor are they easily purchased in Singapore. So, substitute frozen blackberries. Martha's recipe called for separate fruit crumbles one for the peach and one for the cherry. I mixed them all up. Her topping called for corn meal. Yuk. I substituted organic rolled oats and she used white flour, again substituted whole grain wheat flour instead.

I think that it was well received by my husband. Before I could even snap a picture, I come into the kitchen to see this, a bite taken from the corner. Yikes.
Anyway, if anyone wants the recipe I will post it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Life not on a farm

So I am in love with a new blog. Don't get me wrong, I still have a whole lot of old favorites and I can never really give them up. But my new crush is Ree at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

First off, her writing is like miles beyond mine. Must be that LA University Degree she got. Not bagging on Oregon State or Willamette mind you, most of my own writing problems are simply my own. I am also pretty sure my father-in-law the English professor screams in pain every time he reads my writing....BUT Back to the new blog.

Ree is living on a ranch. Oh yeah with a totally hot stud muffin cowboy husband. And four really beautiful children. She takes pictures of life on the ranch. Pictures of pretty horses, and cattle and pasture. A life I sometimes dreamed I would live. Now, if you don't know I grew up in a small town in Oregon and my parents had a hobby farm. I fell in love with Agriculture. I started to get a degree in Ag. Education. I did smarten up a bit because my wanderlust side of my crazy brain shouted a bit louder and said "get thee abroad young woman". So, I moved into Ag. Econ. figuring that I would work in international agriculture somehow. But I still thought I would live on a farm. Show my children about life and death by way of nature.

Instead, I live in an apartment in Singapore. I work for Texas Instruments, as a lawyer. I have livedoverseas in Beijing, Taipei and now Singapore. While I won't discount this for a minute, my children play with a ethnically diverse group of people that they would have never been exposed to in McMinnville. They are learning Chinese, bits of Malay and Tagalog, in addition to the curse words that they call English from me and Jeff...but I miss the thought of a farm. I miss living a life of pastoral splendor. And yes I am a romantic fool because I know that it is anything but romantic living on a farm, my grandfather was a wheat and cattle rancher. I do know better, but part of me says it would have been cool. So now I just look at Ree's pictures and dream it was me. OK I think I will just dream of her super hot hubby and brother in law instead (wink wink) and of course no offence intended to her, her family.... or my darling husband.

Oh and for the sake of my own marriage... here's my hubby in all his finest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Catherine Bower Grimm- Family History Part One

So this lovely lady is my great great great grandmother. Her granddaughter was my great grandmother Myrtle Bridgeford. Anyway, while I was working on the Asian Scrapbooking Book, I started to think back to a project I have long wanted to work on. A true family history book. A book that combines the stories of my family. (Frankly there will have to be two books for my children one for the Harris family and one for the Watkins family). A book that will combine scrapbook layouts, photos and genealogy data. But more important will tell the stories of our family.
So, here is one of the first stories. Not a long one because I really have lots to do today, but a story about Catherine Bower Grimm. This story came from a newsletter produced by Darlene in the 80s tracking down a bunch of data on the Grim family. Thanks to Darlene for her hard work!
Catherine Bower was the daughter of John Bower and Catherine Swineheart. She married Henry Grimm in 1845 when she was 17 years old. They moved from her "family" town of Bowerston Ohio and homesteaded in Nebraska. Catherine was the mother to 15 children, her youngest Carrie Edith was born 31 years after she married Henry when she was 48 years old. Carrie Edith was born when Catherine's oldest grandchild was 8 years old. During her life she lost 3 children to premature births or miscarriage, 4 of her children did not survive past the age of 5, including her last child Carrie.
Taking all of this into consideration, I think what an amazingly strong woman she must have been. To bear 15 children (out of 18 pregnancies). To do this while living and I am sure working on a farm. To live to be 92 years old. She was able to meet all of her 69 grandchildren. Wow...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How to wash in a shower (if you are under 5)

So, while we wait for the bathtub to be repaired, the kids are taking showers. Well, if you have a boy who doesn't like his eyes in water, you come up with creative solutions for keeping peace in the house.

This is how the kids take showers- Hey you know it actually looks like fun!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Its been almost a year

Since we put our beloved dog JD to sleep. I look at her picture from time to time and I feel this huge gap in my life. Sometimes I look on the floor by my bed where she used to lay, and I miss her.

I totally expected I would have a new dog by now
I totally expected to be over you and that I would stop hurting when ever I saw your picture
I totally expected that my life would not be the same without you.

Only one of these expectations has actually been realized.

I don't think of her every day now, but almost.

Miss you pupper do. Hope you are having a great time in doggie heaven.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Never as simple as it seems

A week ago or so, we were told by our landlord that they would need to repair a leak under our bathtub that was causing the downstairs neighbor some "issues". I can remember living downstairs from an overflowed (or is it overflown?) shitty toilet and I will tell you it was not a pleasant memory. So, I am not without understanding for the plight of the downstairs man as he will forever be known. But downstairs man is also a grump. He complains to us about the leak, he complains to the owners, he complains to the management committee. Now, our owners aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. Downstairs man has repeatedly said "it is the toilet", but owners have insisted it is the tub.

Cut to this week, we are now the proud renters of a partly remodeled bathroom still disassembled bathroom. The bathroom is stuck half finished as the tub has been pulled out, the floors ripped up and the waterproof seal placed on top of the brick, but concrete tub enclosure either 1) still leaks or 2) was never the problem in the first place.

Now we wait. They come back today to determine if the problem is actually the toilet, other pipes or what? Singapore is the land of all that is concrete. Said concrete is shipped here in raw sand and granite form at less than fair market rates from Indonesia, resulting in super cheap building materials being used to excess and then resold for ridiculously high costs, but I digress. Because everything here is made with concrete walls, floors, ceilings, windows... you get the point.... everything must be hacked out and rebuilt from scratch. I am no fan of deforestation, but there has got to be some middle ground between all concrete and all timber eh????

Needless to say it has been a loud and dusty week, our planned bathroom outage has just reached it's 4 day estimate. I can live without the second bathroom in our house, inconvenient sure, but we are now unsure how much longer it will take to repair. The workers are a bit creepy, my house is dusty, we have to lock up the cats so they don't run away. OK, not hell on earth, but it is not as simple as it seemed.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Computer + Ground = Bad

Trying to repair some damage...short story... computer hit the ground, ground won. hard drive crashed. repair estimate pending. most personal stuff was backed up. work was not. rough day here at the ranch.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


So, I am a visitor in the country of Singapore and I often do not comment on the government here. But this post is different. Now, I could lose my permanent residence permit for this post as I am sure it will be considered treason. I could spend time in jail for speaking out against the current prime minister and his policy decisions. I guess I should say that I think Lee Kuan Yew has finally succumbed to old age and has lost all touch with reality.

The "elected" officials of government in Singapore are getting a tidy raise. These largely ceremonial positions, wherein the ministers attend parliament, get up and state very Pro government positions and never give an opinion that is contrary to that of the "stated" policy will now earn over 1million Sing dollars a year. Yes boys and girls One MILLION dollars. The ministers do not ever make policy decisions, they do not (generally) run in contested races, they are all most entirely members of Lee Kuan Yew's PAP party. So, just so you fully get it. You dress up in your finest attire (unless you are the prime minister and then you wear an open front shirt with a gold jacket, because HIS salary of more than 2 million Sing (1.3 mill US) just isn't enough to buy a tie), sit on your ass in parliament, drive around and cut ribbons at the opening of the newest shopping malls. You are not required to make a hard decision, you are not required to justify any small decision you may make, and you are not allowed to do anything that might reek of discordance with the rest of the government. BUT, you do get paid for this job. Yep, to the tune of over a million dollars Sing. (About 600 K US).

Now, the funny thing is these ministers are underpaid. Lee Kuan Yew says that these Ministers deserve more money. They need it because the job they do is so thankless.

AH, but here my friends is the rub. Singapore does not believe in social welfare. If you are old, you get “workfare”. If you are truly old or infirm and can no longer work you lazy ass 80 year old that has had a stroke… we are going to give you a monthly stipend. We are generous, we care about your needs. Go live on 290 Sing a month. Pay 100 a month to share a one room (not one bedroom) one ROOM apartment with a stranger, take 30 dollars and pay for your utilities and spend that other 160 Sing on those silly little items like… OH HELL YEAH THAT’S Right-FOOD!

So, you poor aren’t worth more than 10 Sing a day, but we rich MPs are with
$2777.00 per day. See we need more money to live in our big houses and drive our Mercedes and dine on thousand dollar Beluga. You poor, you had better work hard because we can’t afford to feed you, you need to earn it yourself.

See. Most of the time I like my adopted home. But this pisses me off. A disparity of 2767 dollars a day. Something is not right.

For another person’s take

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Plans for today

So, my co-workers daughter is on the road to recovery, she should be flown back to Singapore in the next day or so. I am just very glad she is ok. Part of me (the lawyer part) wants to see him take action against the manufacturer of the pool drain and the hotel itself. Why, not so they can be rich (chances of large money recovery in court in Asia are nil) but to make these drains safe. Edwards did it in the States. It needs to be done here in Asia. I want to know if I let my kids play in a pool they will not be sucked to the bottom by an over powerful pump with no safety device.

But, the important thing is Elizabeth is ok, she is coming home, she does not seem to remember the drowning. She will probably be ok. But as a mother I have an extra worry now...

So, what is on my to-do list.

Things around here have been super busy, I have been working overtime for TI, working lots on the book, and trying to design some new products for the business. Good news is I now have a partner to help with the business and that will make a big difference. I have good friends in the industry that are helping me with my "photoshop" skills and Jeff is a great guy and while he is not working for a while, he has picked up some slack around the house.

The bad news is my continuing quest for simplification have been sidelined. So, today it is back on track. It is time to take a look at the clothes in my closet and do another round of pruning. Jeff said he wanted new "soup" spoons. So rather than run to the store, it is time to get back to the compact pledge and look for them at a second hand store. We don't need soup spoons, he wants them, so I want him to buy them used.

I want to clean my office today (which has gone from being my office) to a place where Jeff spends all his time too.... so I need to kick him out for the day in order to get some stuff done.

I need to take a look at all of the craft stuff I have and make some decisions. I think I may work with Faye to try to off load some of the yarn on Singapore e-bay or Yahoo Auctions. We don't need all this yarn and it would be nice to have the space available when we start printing paper.

Finally, I think I will sit down and start to plan out my weeks meals again. When I did this I always had a lunch ready, I didn't struggle over what to eat, I saved money by staying home, I ate better healthier meals and I think we did better in terms of planning for our food purchases and needs when at the store.

Busy doesn't mean I have to give up my goals of living lighter on the earth and more profoundly. It just means I have to think harder about it.
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