Thursday, December 31, 2009

14 years

4 countries
4 pets
2 kids
9 homes
too many hugs, kisses and laughs
lots of travel including, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico and Guam (hey its not so bad)

inside jokes and "you ruined my Christmas"
battles-won and lost

but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Where has the year gone?

Here we are on Christmas Eve. A year that flew by. Kids grew bigger, work was busier than expected. Business is hanging on and we are embarking on a new venture for Jeff's legal practice in Singapore. It has been a fast a furious ride filled with some super highs and some pretty rough patchs as well (mostly the fact that I have been traveling about 50% of my time). But it was a great year. A year that I wouldn't change.

Places traveled in 2009 by me


Kuala Lumpur (at least one trip/month)

Miri, Sarawak, West Malaysia

Shanghai China

Phuket Thailand

Bangkok Thailand

Taipei (Including a extra night due to a Typhoon)

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

The kids have grown from "young children" to just kids. Kiera is 6 pushing 12. Declan is 8 wishing he was a big brutish 10.

A year in review on YouTube is here

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Here is to a peaceful, prosperious and simple 2010

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ominvore's Hundred

Just for fun... I think I have dome this before over here (btw, I still have so much I want to post over at that blog, not enough hours), but maybe not on the blog... so here goes again.

Those I have tried are in Red
a few additional from my list back in 2008. Currently 84/100

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
Baba ghanoush
12. Pho
PB&J sandwich
Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (don't see this one happening...)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
30. Bagna cauda -The Chinese Hot Pot yes, this version no
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects -And a scorpion!
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips ( no longer eat them... I was told for years that it was chocolate... which it is not)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain 70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (one of my life regrets)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Back in the saddle-and a PSA

HOME. HOME. HOME. No travel for 15 days and the next trip is VACATION! Can I say again I am HOME!

Today, October 1st we are crunching numbers, taking charge of the finances, working the steps in YMOYL, looking at long range plans-career goals- and generally getting back to what we know we find important.

More coming soon, but here is a PSA... One of my favorite blogs is Eating Asia, they are featuring a few cute puppies that they are caring for in Penang. I hope they find good and suitable homes for those pups. If you are in KL or Penang and want a dog, please contact them.... BUT first and foremost, don't forget to "shop local". For my Singapore friends, there are tons of dogs and cats currently looking for a loving home, check out these organizations for pets. My pupper Lina thanks you (as to her sister cats Sedona and Christmas and dog (JD) that we rescued and have passed on) all of whom were rescue animals. Pet store pets and puppy mill pups are inbred, generally unhealthy and abused animals. Everytime you purchase one you continue the cycle. Adopt instead and please spay and neuter.
PSA over, thanks for listening!
More tomorrow on the YMOYL tracking

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


A big believer in this!

Check out the New Dream Blog... an insightful look at handwork and our current society.

We’ve come to think of the homemade and handmade as having some kind of
mystique: as if only our grandmothers or a special class of craftsy people can
mend a hem or can some jam. Our hands have an inferiority complex. In reality,
there is no exclusive society that allows in only the dextrous: those of us who
are rather clumsy can still knead dough, top-and-tail beans, and weed a

Whole post here

I believe that the basic instinct of our lives is to get in touch with those things that matter to us, some of us are connected by smells-sights-sounds- others are connected by touch. I could never let go of printed books for the tactile nature, nor could i give up my quilts.

Speaking of Handiwork, a few pictures of the Class I just did at Scrappingville in Kuala Lumpur.

Nilla sewing away!

Sam's stitchin'

Sharon's finished page

More pictures here

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weighty Issues

Been on a bit of a binge recently. Lots of travel, lots of entertaining, lots of food -and wine. All in all not a bad thing, except for the weight. I feel over full, stuffed, poached and well done. A pork roast overdone, one glass of red wine too many, and one more business dinner (tonight) to go too.

One of the things I took for granted in Oregon was the availability of fresh seasonal produce. Seasons don't exist here in SE Asia, not really, which has its pluses and minuses. I miss eating seasonally though. I miss summers filled with Corn on the cob, canning peaches and making pickled green beans. I miss so much about home (food and wine being a big part!) I do like living in the Asian tropics however for the constant availablity of yummy fruit, fresh chickens and fresh eggs, and fresh green chinese veggies. Those are all in the positive side for sure!

Well, back to the weighty issue, I have been eating too much, drinking too much and generally not taking care of my health as good as I should. In order to get back on track I intend to go back to eating locally when possible, eating whole foods (almost exclusively-save my soy milk in my chai) and cutting out the joy of my life pure processed sugar... WHAT.... NO SUGAR???

Now now, let's not be too rash young lady.... sugar is GOOD, and in minimal amounts (like in dark chocolate) can be good for you, so I am going to cut out HFCS first (that's high fructose corn syrup). Which should I stick to my guns about whole foods should not be too hard. Hard part comes in the soda/cokes I drink and those sweet sweet goodies known as candy bars, but i need to; i worked hard to lose the extra weight I gained after I had the kids, I am generally happy with where I ended up, but always felt to be at the peak of where I should be I have about 10 more pounds to go.

So, starting tomorrow after my last dinner I go whole foods. I am taking baby steps, the next step is to get this old butt back into the pool for some real swimming, but baby steps my friends... baby steps....besides, sugar is far easier to give up than my glass of Wine!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recharge- mental and physical

The last two months, my normally crazed life has been on full heat. My work is going overboard with billable hours in the 230+ for two months running. My business has also been busy, preparing and teaching scrapbooking classes in Malaysia. We have also had birthdays, start of school and lots of mommy travel. it is all good, but stressful and hard on the family.

D has started to struggle with writing, well let me rephrase, the struggle has always been there but now it is really manifesting in tantrums and inability to complete his work. Some of this may be a self esteem issue, some may be linked to his language problems ( I am assuming here) but it is frustrating for him and heartbreaking for me when I can 't be there to help. K on the other hand is dealing with the normal 6 year old strife of having ghost stories being shared among friends and sleepless nights thereafter. again, the travel I have been doing leaves me away during these times and it kills me to know that Jeff is having to be a super dad and do this without me.

I am near the point of crashing though, I can feel it. A big key is my lack of focus. I am scattered all over, I am stiff and sore physically, I am tired and run down, I cry over the silliest things (like not having a pair of shorts to wear last Sunday). I have three more weeks before we run away for a short vacation. I am trying my best to make it to the trip well and healthy, happy and content. I do not want to spend my whole vacation crabby and out of sorts.

What I am doing is trying to re-connect with those things i find important. I am slowing down where i can, taking time for myself, working and reading things that make me feel better. I am designing a plan for my life that includes healthy choices from diet and exercise to spiritual and emotional health as well. I am still working on the details, but I am going to start to swim again and meditate every morning.

Baby steps, yes for sure, but as the often quoted Gandhi stated ....
"Be the change you want to see in the world"

Until I can be the change, I am still looking forward to this

Friday, September 04, 2009

Classes, Taking and Teaching-Falling into a routine

School is in. The kids are getting settled into the first and second grade. Both have terrific teachers and as always we are very impressed with the Singapore American School. Class has also started for me. I am taking two fun online scrapbooking classes, one with Big Picture-taught by Cathy Zielske (me the abridged version) and the second from Shimelle (learn something new every day)

Both are very different classes, one is more about me. Creating my history in an A-Z format. This has started by carrying around a little notebook and alphabeting random bits of information about myself. So far, I am seeing alot of notes about songs that stick in my head and the memories associated with each of those songs. I love the idea of getting down all of the nitty gritty details about my life, the things I desire, the things I have done, the things I still want to do. A very cool class in deed.

So on to the teaching. I have been creating three very cool classes for the next two months in Malaysia. All of them are scrapbooking classes and you can find out more about the first two over here on this blog. I have one more thing to do before I can tell you about the third class, but it will be fun!

Finally, I am in the throughs of reorganization. Who needs spring cleaning when it is all about fall for me. Get rid of tons of stuff, recycling a bunch of papers (still on an dream of a paperless office!) Organizing all of my craft supplies. The key is to get them all organized and put them all away when I am done! Baby steps. Baby Steps.

So, this is what the office looked like then.

This is what it looks like now. I know it doesn't seem LOTS better, but look at this other side!

The other side of the office. Rather than a "loft/bed desk" we now have two desks.

this is what still has to be sorted and purged...

A box of stuff.

these are the stacks left on the bed in the guest room.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Reading update

Been on lots of flights recently. Catching up on some reading

The Turning: Stories The Turning: Stories by Tim Winton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great collection of stories about Western Australia At first, it took a while to get into the first one or two stories, but the interconnected nature of the book took over and the stories became almost like chapters. While each story was independent, they do read as a whole, each connected by a small town in WA. One of the major reoccuring themes is the pain and heartbreak of growing up in a small town, connected to people simply because of connection to that place. Growing up past the dissapointment in your parents (deserved or not), growing past that first painful crush, watching young love fade as adulthood and responsibilities take over.

A great read.

Chasing Darkness (Elvis Cole, #11) Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Painted Veil

A Spectacle of Corruption

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder (Inspector Singh Investigates 1)

Friday, August 14, 2009


(Kids playing at a friends house)

After two long weeks of travel (with one 24 hour period back at home) I am heading home for a
whole 9 days YIPPEE she says tongue firmly planted in my cheek. But while it is only 9 days until my next trip I can't wait to lay back in my own bed -eat food from my own kitchen-sit on my patio or by the pool and catch up with friends and family. The more crazy my life gets with work and stress the more I want to be home in my little space hanging out with my kids and simply being.

at build-a-bear in Singapore

Fruit at Far Eastern Hotel Taipei

On Dihwa Street Taipei

Hello Kitty Departure Gate at Chang Kai Shek International Airport Taipei

Still doing my 365. Missed one day this week though. It was 11pm and I was too tired to get up out of bed, so I said forget it. I will put a bunch up this weekend when I am home, but here are a few from the last few weeks. I have started puting them into an album and it is facinating to see how some pictures re-appear time and time again. How certain shots either seem to take hold and catch my attention, or if really my life is that routine. In any event I love the daily shots of the kids, just doing what kids do and growing much faster that I think they should.

Travellers Palm, back streets of KL

Just a cup of joe, office in TI Malaysia

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Girls who use power tools

I have been thinking a lot about girls, being the mother to a daughter who is a girly girl, but wants to have boy toys too. I loved being a tom-boy, growing up racing bikes down the street with my neighbors (all boys). Building forts, climbing trees and going to bed at night in a pink room. Later growing up on a small farm, seeing animals being born, and crying when they died. Being active in 4-H and FFA. Learning to weld, both Arc and oxy-acetylene in shop class, how to do tool and today not being able to change my own oil (but then I don't have a car anymore so I am ok with that!). Being able to ride a horse, buck a bale of hay and get dirt under my fingernails. Building a dog house (even if it did list a bit to the left) and being able to tell what a phillips screwdriver is.

I wish I could have and did have a better understanding of math and science. I wish I was able to fix things with better results, rather than a bit hap-hazard. But I love the fact that my Dad never limited us because of our gender. Girls can do everything boys can do, no doubt about it.

Anyway, I saw this post at Vintage Chica about her dad. Thought it was worth remembering.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

May-June recap

I am busy uploading my 365 pictures, which made me think of what a wild ride May and June were. So, here is what I did

May: Went to KL, three or four kids parties, traveled to BKK, held multiple high level negotations.

In June, traveled to KL twice, went to Thailand, had company from the US by way of a sister and family, sightseed in Singapore, held multiple meetings and phone calls, attended the last day of school with the kids, saw off multiple friends as they returned to their repective homes for the summer.

July looks to be equally packed with a trip to Brunei and KL planned, and August will see school start, trips to KL and Taipei and multiple little life lessons along the way.

So while I upload the rest of the 365 pictures today, here is one from May and one from our Thailand trip with the family (click on the link to Kathy's facebook pictures)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sundays at the "farm"

Over the last few months a neat little tradition has started here on the "farm" as I now call our Condo Estate. It is either the farm or "club med"... anyway...

Every Sunday, around 9:30 or 10 a bunch of moms and some dads end up down at the pool with our kids. We swim and chit chat, the kids play together and we have coffee and snacks by the pool. It has become a tradition, a ritual and it is wonderful. It is a pleasure to spend our Sundays, relaxing with friends and enjoying the fact that we have a great community.

It is so easy to rush through the weekend stressing about the fact that we have so much to do (case in point I am on a plane on Monday for an emergency meeting) It is so much more important to slow down and recognize that these days are special. The connections we share with our children are what matters and work and the to do lists can wait, once and a while anyway~

What do you do special on weekends? Is it part of your family rituals?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Staying Centered and Recharging

When my life gets crazy, the first thing to go is my creative muse. The thought of writing anything more than what is needed for work is impossible (like on this blog). I get cranky, I get frustrated, I yell at the kids and find that my patience levels are well on the I have no patience at all spectrum. I look at my kids and I realize that they really do a much better job of shutting it off if they need to. Yesterday, Declan came downstairs from a sleep over and said he felt sick. He curled up on the couch and promptly went back to sleep for 2 more hours. He just shut it off, recharged and came back stronger. He woke up, was ready to roll and then at 7:30 pm promptly announced he was tired and he needed to go to bed early. This morning, he woke up right as rain and ready for school. I have always believed that if I listened to my body, to what I need I would be better for it. But, alas I don't always. Either I can't due to scheduling pressures or I just think I can't.

I feel it now, I need a few days off, a break is what I need, some time away and I have not really had much of a chance to do that yet. I have my lovely sister coming in a month and I have so much to do before she comes lists beyond lists. Not in order to prepare for her. She loves me and accepts me as I am, but to be able to enjoy some time with her. Lots to do, much of it needed and much of it is mearly wanted. I don't need to rehang the picture, I don't need to finish my paperless office plan (I want to however keep making progress on that goal.)

But today, I have a plan, a list. I need to be better at staying on task and finishing what I start. Getting things done is always my challenge as I get busy and I find that I push myself to start really good projects at the worst time possible. It is a "I don't want to do X" method of coping I am sure. For me, it works for a while, but it results in a half finished major project and a whole lot of hurried work to finish what I should have been doing in the first place.

So, today I will not be uploading anymore of my 365 pictures (although there are a few up here) and I have been taking pictures regularly. I think today is day 145 and I have only missed 5 days so far. I wil not work on my scanning project, I will not work on my home reorganization projects. I will not spend 5 hours on Tumblr (not that I really do, but you get the point). Today, I will finish a bunch of work projects, I will get the last FFC invoices out and the cards charged and I will do something with Jeff that needs to be done (health insurance sign up for the family).

If all goes well I will post my update tomorrow... Oh and I do have a mini break scheduled for tomorrow when I take a class at Laines'. can't wait!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

365-94 Candlelight

365-94 Candlelight
Originally uploaded by Farflungcraft
Just a favorite shot, I am uploading more of the 365 days of pictures onto my flickr. I missed Sunday this week, so I think that makes 106 days of pictures out of 111 possible. Doing pretty good so far I think.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Summer Time Plans

Summer is rapidly approaching and the best news is my sister and her family are coming to visit. While here we plan on doing all of the touristy things Singapore has to offer. We can hit the zoo, the night safari. Maybe the bird park, and of course a trip or two to Sentosa.

We plan on either jumping off the island and going to Malaysia or Thailand for a few days, but otherwise it is a summer stay-cation. Last year we enrolled Declan in Summer School and Kiera was still at the pre-school, but this year we are a bit more cash strapped and plan on doing sort of a summerschool at home. Jeff will be working from home/freelancing so I figured I could work up a bunch of day trips that were fun and educational for the kids. And free or low cost is a key goal.

So, these are the top ideas I have had so far.

1. Singapore Art Museum

2. Asian Civilizations Museum

3. ACM-Peranakan Museum

4. Science/Discovery Center

5. Zoo (with a view towards picking a geographical location) and visiting that section more thoroughly.

6. Forest Adventure Park for some treetop walks

7. Sungei Buloh Nature Park for some nature walks.

8. Changi Village and Palau Ubin for some bike rides/fishing?

9. Toy (MINT) Museum

10. The National Library

11. Ford Factory Museum/Changi Chapel and Museum to learn about the war

12. Bukit Timah Hill

13. Visit Little India

14. Visit China Town

15. Visit the Malay Village at Geylang Serai.

I am sure there are hundreds of more ideas and there will be plenty of pool time, beach time and just ice cream eating summer days, but I want the kids to try to get a bit of local flavor and a few educational opportunities this summer. Let's see how it turns out!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


i just saw shocking images tragic and sad pictures on TV from the return of a fallen soldier to Dover Airforce base in 18 years. Showing a coffin draped with a flag, images of a man who died in a war. For over 18 years we have been sheltered from these images, but we have seen pictures of maimed children, dead "terrorists" and broken people. But we could not be allowed to grieve? I saw these images and I cried. I cried for his wife, I cried for his parents and I cried for a world where Wars are still part of our vocabulary.

I was glad however to see these images to see that we need to remind ourselves that war results in people dying and coming home in a pine box. We need to be reminded of the lives that are wasted. We need to see that the only answer is Peace. And I need to be more personally active in promoting peace in all respects. A very good reminder indeed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

More daily pictures

Some shots of the 365 project

Swimming at night. Declan 365-86

Palau Ubin 365-87

Sleep over 365-88
Dinner 365-89

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A houseful of kids

Last night after Earth hour we had a massive sleep over, pulled mattresses to the floor and the neighbors all slept over. 5 kids all over the room, 4 of which are up eating pancakes and watching Star Wars. Only the girl is still sleeping. Dairy Farm has a great group of people and after a year and a half here, this is the best group of friends we have lived around in a very long time. A true neighborhood. Don't get me wrong, we loved our friends in Taipei, but we all lived criss-cross the city making impromptu get togethers impossible. Living in a neighborhood alows us to pop upstairs for some milk, have friends drop in for a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine. This is what makes life great.

BBQed Smore's

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Switching Off

Tonight, in 4 hours, we will turn off our lights and have smores over the BBQ. What are you doing to do?

Friday, March 13, 2009

More shots from our life

Crabwalk- 365-68
Laundry 365-70
Sunny/rain 365-71

The whole set to date can be found here on my Flickr

Monday, March 09, 2009

Declan's first game

  So proud of this little boy, getting out there, playing the game. Way to go slugger!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 06, 2009

Some shots

Here are a few of the daily photos from the month of February.

365-50 Cooking. Suzi's Corner, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers, view from room 318, Kuala Lumpur

365-45 Choo-Choo
American School Carnival, Singapore

Finding Rythm

I really should be better about listening. Listening to my body, listening to the seasons, listening to others. I really was very down and out after going 110 miles and hour the last few months. After CHA (and all of the huge amounts of preparation that takes) I flew back home, jumped into a large amount of work, plus filling orders, plus getting ready for a big huge training spree I am on for the next few weeks. So, when the house of cards came down, I went with it.

I had the signals, the signs I was tired, but I ignored them and pushed. I am generally the type that feels I am getting sick, can take a half a day off, sleep a bit extra and knock it out before it hits. I failed to listen and I paid the price.

I realize I should listen more to the other things. Listen more to my family, why is my daughter being such a little poop recently. Why is D taking this opportunity to poke at her. What is the dynamic here and why is this taking place. I need to sit down and listen, find the problem and solve it.

One of the more interesting things I have been doing is continuing with my picture a day. I haven't posted them yet and many of them are boring to "the outsider" but I am seeing a lot of those day to day things that make up my life. Now, I need to find my picture for today. Just not in my office ;-)

Friday, February 27, 2009


So, we went to KL last week, I worked all week teaching legal seminars to TI folks at the plant. I lost my voice, which after having 24 hours of classes and training 1200 people is probably understandable.

We then spent Saturday with our friends Mark, Ingela and their lovely kids Casper and Adam. But talk about a study in extremes. Jeff and I were a bit too warm in the guest room, the aircon had a tricky secret that we didn't discover so our room was a bit too hot. All things considered it was probably 24 degrees (which is 75 F). Oh what big old babies we are.

This is the living conditions of the workers that are doing construction near M&I house. They have no aircon, of that I am sure. They are forced to "shower" outside in a big communal area by pouring buckets of water over their heads and they are sleeping in dormitory type conditions in shipping containers that have been converted by adding a few windows and doors.

Really it was a matter of extremes. I need to be much better at accepting the gifts I have been given.
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