Friday, December 21, 2007

Word of the Day: Hooptie

I discovered a "new" word the other day while reading the article "When You Finally Go It Alone" in the Oct 29, 2007, issue of Newsweek. I supposed I am one generation behind since this article was aimed at recent graduates just entering the workforce. Unfortunately 10 years on, I still feel like I'm just entering the workforce.

This new word lead me to the Urban Dictionary

Here are two of the better definitions.

1. hooptie
Any car that meets the following: a) driver must enter car through passenger side b) three different brand and size tires - 3 of them missing hubcap c) exhaust is held up by half a clothes hanger - other half replaces the antenna d) backfires every three blocks - loudest backfire being when car is turned off e) must open door at drive-threws as windows don't roll down f) you only get one AM station and the tape deck eats all tapes inserted g) can't open the glove box as the whole thing will fall out h) if you let go of steering wheel while driving you'll make a u-turn i) must manually move blinker lever up and down as it no longer blinks on it's own j) must keep one foot on brake and one on accelerator when at a complete stop k) has had the same temporary registration sticker in the window for the last 18 months l) has all the above issues but still has a $200 professional tint job

"Hey gotta have the phattest hooptie in town!"

2. hooptie
Hooptie finds it's origins dating back to the mid 1950's. The original, corrupted phrase is 'Coupe D', referring to a Cadillac Coupe deVille. Over time, Coupe D was rolled together into hooptie. Used to describe everything from "any old car" (thank Shaq for that) or more specifically a large domestic sedan. Popularized by Sir Mix-a-lot, the word moved from a mere description to a slur. Oddly enough, the word can have a variety of meanings, depending on the context, ranging from pride of ownership to an outright insult.

"Man, check out this new hooptie I picked up. $500 and the dash is still perfect!"

"Dammit! my (insert cool car here) is in the shop. Guess I'll mob the hooptie to work."

"Well, it might be a hooptie, but hey, it's got it's own class of demolition derby."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Think BIG

Since starting the Vision to Venture: Self-Employment Training course, I have been inspired to be an entrepreneur. I like envisioning new ideas. The tough part is finding a way to see them come to life.

I have a new interest in looking into Master's program at my alma mater, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It's a Master's in Public Policy through the Political Science department. I was amazed to see the Liberal Arts college now offering master's programs. I suppose a lot has changed since graduating in 1998. I envision it being useful for my return plans to Cambodia. I loved to utilize it's training to be better able to find ways to assist in the development of the country.

A cool thing happend on Thursday night. I had contacted the Social Sciences club advisor since I had been active in the club when I was a student and I wanted to see if I could share about my experiences in Cambodia. Well there was a Thursday night live the next week which one of the professors would be talking about his time in Asia. Well wouldn't you know when I showed up and actually re-introduced myself to him I found out he had spent the last year in Cambodia doing research on poverty as it relates to economic development (or lack of). We had so much to talk about. I could have talked all night with him. It was so strange to be talking like a colleague with an old professor.

Do you know what his idea was in order to help alleviate the povert in the countryside? Pigs. Yep, raising pigs for sale. I was so floored. That's why I started the Pig Project last year. I'm excited about a future partnership to explore. Maybe a grant or research fellowship?

All I can say is: THINK BIG!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yearning for some Cambodian food

I love when I take pictures of food because it reminds me of why I like it so much. I'm really missing rice at the moment.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My first visit to the South: Birmingham, Alabama

(more pictures coming soon, I promise!)

These are some of the things that I noticed in contrast to California:

  • There are lots of green trees. Everything feels like you're in the middle of the woods. The irony is that the South is in the middle of a serious drought.

  • The streets do a lot of winding around like you're continually driving through residential areas.

  • The streets mainly don't have sidewalks or curbs and the houses have open front yards without fences.

  • The shopping areas are very inconspicuous. Suddenly they appear from out of nowhere and blend in nicely.

  • Southern hospitality is hit and miss. Some folks have warm charm and others were downright unpleasant. That accent is certainly addictive.

My schedule of activities

Tuesday night: I managed to get through security without my ID. You see, I had taken out my driver's license a couple of days earlier and it was left in the pocket of the jacket I was wearing. My only inconvenience was being put through the cattle shute, being patted down and having my bags thoroughly searched. Other than that, I was surprisingly allowed to fly. Who knew? I arrived just in time for a few minutes of sitting before it was time to board the plane and depart LAX for Detroit on a red-eye flight.

Wednesday morning: spend 3 or so hours in Detroit airport before the 2-hour flight to Birmingham. Picked up by Nick (with very long hair by now) on my arrival. Relax with the family.

Wednesday evening: dinner at Chick-Fil-A (a real one!) with MeiMei, where she reportedly eats at least once a week. I got the 8-piece chicken nugget meal with coleslaw and a 1/2 & 1/2 of sweet tea and unsweet tea. Then it was off to the Church of the Highlands for the mid-week service. Wow! Very awesome pastor.

Thursday morning: I spent the morning in MeiMei's 4th grade class at Hall-Kent Elementary in the Homewood district. I talked for 1 hour about Cambodia showing them some pictures and answering lots of really insightful questions.

Thursday evening: Dinner was at Jim 'n Nicks BBQ. The waitress didn't know how to respond to my question, "How are the collard greens prepared?" Hear the rest of the story on my other blog, Kitchen Surprises, to see how she answers. After dinner, CanCan and I enjoyed an evening of spa treatments and chocolate courtesy of the women's group at Valleydale Baptist. We enjoyed hand treatments, manicures and making our own bath salts and sugar body scrub. The chocolate mocha "punch" was so yummy. Too bad I ate so much at dinner.

Friday morning: Today was our tourist attraction day. First was the Vulcan. And, no, it's not a park dedicated to Star Trek. Think Roman god, ore mines, and steel processing. JoJo, CanCan's boy did really well despite everything being over his head. Our lunch was at Surrin West, a Thai restaurant in downtown Birmingham. Very good Thai food for being outside of Thailand.

Friday afternoon: After lunch we headed over to the Black Business District to visit the Civil Rights Institute. This was an incredible museum dedicated to the Civil Rights movement. There were some very powerful displays. Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech always brings tears to my eyes. When JoJo was showing signs of exhaustion, it was time to go. However, I wandered into the park across the street to take some pictures of the sculptures. Upon viewing one in particular, one of the park dwellers walked past with his bike and casually threw over his shoulder, "You know why that one's upside down?" Of course, I bit, and I was immersed in a personal tour of the park and enlightened on other happenings of the Civil Rights movement from an insider's perspective. I should have known it would have ended with a request for a donation. I offered a hot meal or purchase of his prescription but was declined. Cash was preferred. Sorry, but I don't give cash. We parted with a blessing and a handshake. Thanks Juan for your life and stories!

Friday evening: Meeting back up with MeiMei, we all went out to dinner at Dale's, a supposed traditional Southern restaurant. It was hard wrangling JoJo and getting him to be quiet tonight. I ordered the fried catfish, fried okra and squash casserole. Later we wandered into a bread company called Panera's to look for some breakfast options for the next morning. This followed with checking out a local independent bookstore. Finally, we walked over to the Publix supermarket so's I could buy some Southern food items to take home as souvenirs. I came out with pickled okra and Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning (It goes on everything!) Then it was bye-bye to the Brooms and overnight at MeiMei's soon-to-be old apartment.

Saturday morning: I enjoyed my mochaccino bagel from Panera's and a cup of tea while hanging out until it was time to go to the airport. My flight left at 11:20. We left the house at 9:30. The first flight was to Memphis where I had a 2-hour layover before the 4-hour flight to LAX.

Saturday evening: A long 5-hour way lay ahead of me at LAX before the Coast Flyer bus would pick me up at 9:45pm. I read and read and read some more. Finally I broke down and got a soy Chai latte at the Starbucks in the international arrivals area where I was sitting. When the bus did come, I was the only passenger for the entire ride back to Pismo Beach. Lucky me. Unfortunately the only TV channel was a canned CNN-like news broadcast. Boring! I dosed off and on 'til my 1:00am arrival.

The Rav4 was waiting for me and I drove myself home. Upon arrival, mom was still up. She could have picked me up after all. I was bushed and after a short overview of the week's activities, went up to bed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Married and a boyfriend: A story seen on Oprah

A Muslim couple on Petaling Walking Street, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

OK, for some this might be very disturbing. But it is a story that really got me to thinking a lot about how the world and individuals define love and relationships. I saw an episode on Oprah in which she was talking about sex among other things. She had a fairly young (and normal-looking) couple from California near the end to talk about a unique style of relationship that they have.

The story goes that they've been married for about 10 years and have children. One day on a long drive they started talking about redifining their relationship and the possibility of adding more people into the marriage. As it is, this marriage was the first partner the woman had and she was feeling like she wanted to have additional "experiences".

The result was that she now has a boyfriend whom she regularly sees, in addition to maintaining her relationship with her husband and children. The boyfriend is a friend of the both she and her husband and comes over to the house. When they want to "play around", they use the guest bedroom. Currently, the husband does not have an additional girlfriend.

When describing why she chose to have a boyfriend in addition to a husband, she makes the claim that she wanted to experience additional sexual partners in a "safe" environment. Not only that, but she felt that she has a love for this boyfriend that is different than for her husband but not more or less. It was obvious that all of their friends seemed to get along and accept the relationship.

This is a mind blower. I didn't quite know what to think when I saw it, and still don't. I have been wanting to write this blog about it for a long time. There doesn't seem to be any lack of love in her marriage. And obviously she is still involved in her family and with her children. It is just wild to think that spouses would discuss openly and actively pursue additional boyfriends and girlfriends.

Part of me thinks that if your marriage is secure, you have talked it over and the new partner is a friend, then go for it. Why not try to spice up your love life if you feel that you have more than enough love to share with others? I can understand wanting to have two guys who are very different but each have different traits that are desirable and ways of fulfilling a person in which one alone cannot.

The other part of me (that Christian conservative background) wants to scream and stomp and say STOP. What about the children? How do you explain to your kids that mommy and daddy have special friends that sleep over in another bedroom with either mommy or daddy? What about the emotional ties that will eventually have to be severed? It's just complicated.

So, if anyone reads this blog, I'd love to have an open conversation about this topic. Share your thoughts on this style of relationship. Do you agree with it? Could you see yourself having this same type of arrangement?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Garage Sale Day

After weeks of pulling out things from my mother's closets and piling it in the living room and many postponed days for the sale, it finally happened.

There was so much stuff and it was tiring to pull it all out and set it up. The bad news is that we only made $176 dollars. It would have been nice to earn more. We arranged for a thrift shop to come an pick up the stuff we didn't want to keep around. That was great!

Next month we'll sell again but include Christmas items, Tupperware and even some homemade gift baskets.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

As if time never passed

An old Mazda RX-7 in too good of condition
I called up a long-time friend last night. I had been intending to do since I got back to the states in August. I figured since I was staying at his parents' house taking care of their animals, it was a good enough excuse to finally call.

All I had to do was say, "Hi, it's Nikki..." and the rest was as if time had never passed. It's amazing how really good friends can pick up where they left off without skipping a beat. Of course, a good portion of the start of the conversation was the quick up-to-speed refresher of what he, the wife and kids are doing now.

Then it was on to cars and work stuff. I can never get enough of the mechanic-speak. It's a habit of being explained things by my father as if I would have understood.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Things I don't miss

Boat Races at Siem Reap Water Festival originally uploaded by Nikki

These are some of the things I don't miss about Cambodia:

-tissues instead of napkins at restaurants
-disorganized and chaotic traffic
-noisy neighbors
-being called after "Hey lady! Wanna buy pos'card?"
-being seen as a dollar sign ($)
-trash heaps in the street and along the side of the roads
-unpaved, pothole-filled roads

Party at Prey Daek originally uploaded by Nikki

However, here are some of the things I do miss, and think fondly of:

-seeing my sweetheart and hearing his voice everyday
-Saturday morning breakfasts with Carol
-cheap food
-Cambodian food (particulary the samlor m'joo greun and trey broma)
-the pork chops, coconut rice with fried fish, pita with hummus dip and BLT at What Bo Cafe
-riding my bicycle at breakneck speeds
-buying my food really fresh at the Old Market
-my students who adore me
-the heat

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A little paint goes a long way

Since I've been watching so much of HGTV lately, I was inspired to throw some color onto my bedroom wall. I didn't want to go crazy since my mother would have to approve. After all I am temporarily staying with her, and my bedroom is really hers, except it's full of all my stuff!

The color is turned leaf. I chose it to accent a color from the birdhouse border my mother put up over my beautiful hand stenciled daisies border. The room had white walls which with all the sun made the room really cheery. Now, the warmth from the paint color makes it so much more mellow.

It looked so goood I decided to go for two more walls. So far, 2 down and 1 to go. It really hasn't been that bad, except for moving all the furniture to the middle of the room. But it's helped me to purge my room of unecessary things.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lovely Envelopes

Cultural Gems Envelope-outside
Cultural Gems Envelope originally uploaded by Nikkster

I had so much fun creating this, and the two others, that I had a difficult time parting with them for swap-bot. I hope they are appreciated for as much as I liked making them.

Thanks to Camille for getting me hooked on this great site.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Travelogue: Bangkok, Thailand July 07

Day 1: arrival.
I decided to take the "cheap" way out of the airport. That is, free shuttle from the airport to the public bus terminal, find the right public bus to take me closest to where I need to go, wait for bus, get on and ride the longest bus ride into the heart of Bangkok.

I think that was the longest trip into the city at 1.5 to 2 hours. And I still had to get to my guest house. It dropped me at Independance Monument and rather than looking for another public bus to the area I needed, I dragged my things to the Skytrain where I knew exactly where to go.

An easy Skytrain ride to Saphan Kwai since I still had a pass from the last Bangkok trip, and then out onto the streets to the Big C where I knew I could find a tuk tuk or taxi for a short ride to . It was 30 Baht since I knew it was close.

Aahh. Such relief to be in familiar surroundings. I opted to shower, have dinner, wash some clothes and relax in front of the TV. This turned into a delightful chat session with a couple from Wales. They were at the end of their journey. It was fun to share about Cambodia with them, especially since they haven't been there before.

Day 2: Shopping day!
I was off to Big C for some items to pick up and send off home. The Thai postal system is so delightful. You can pay very low prices for them to pack it up and then go on down to another counter for the international mailint. So efficient, easy and friendly.

After Big C was the biggest outdoor market and bazaar: The Weekend Market, or Chatechak (sp?) Market. I found all sorts of goodies there. Handmade photo postcards, seed bead necklaces and bracelets, 2 bags, handmade soap, hand carved wooden wind chimes, woven palm leaf mini zipper purses and silk boxes. I filled my backpack full. But this wasn't the last stop.

On to the Skytrain for a long ride to the end of the line for some shopping at the superstore: Tesco Lotus. Just a few more items here, such as snacks, and I had myself a lunch in their cafeteria. You pay for a kind of debit card then go order food from a window that has food choices that you like, they swipe the card then you go eat. I got myself a Thai iced tea, but of course that's not what they call it. It's just iced milk tea there. I didn't use the whole amount I put on the card, so I took it back to the window for my refund.

Back on the Skytrain for another long ride back to my station and a walk to the guesthouse. One more stop at Big C for some water. I didn't pick up much street food this time around, though Bangkok has possibly the best street food in the world for variety and quality.

Day 3: A quiet relaxing day.
I had breakfast late, checked internet, and read in my room for awhilea bout Vietnam. I'll be leaving for Vietnam later in the evening.

Thrifty Shopping Spree

Can shopping get any better than finding 19 items of clothes for $22? Is that great or what? That's better than the $200 for about 8-10 items at either Ross or Marshalls.

All it requires is patience and the ability to weed through a lot of not so great items. I am always finding stuff simply because I don't mind looking through every article of clothing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Queuing Etiquette Gone Awry

I walked into a Ross store to return some items and found several lines to choose from. The one I went to had a young woman waiting for two different lines. As I had just been in the store a couple days prior I knew that they wanted customers to pick a line to stand in. So, feeling bold, I asked the woman waiting which register she was waiting for. She replied whichever one was fastest. Then I said something to the point that there were two lines and she needed to make a choice for one register or the other. When she just stood there I went ahead and went to the left since that was also the one at the customer service counter. I don’t think she really liked that because her line went faster and as soon as she was finished she turned to me with a look like, “You’re such a bitch.” I simply smiled and she continued walking out.

Is it inappropriate to ask someone to choose a line? That’s like driving down the middle of the highway to make sure one lane was faster.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Travelogue: Kuala Lumpur July 07

Day 1: arrival
The bus ride was relatively quick. A meal was served though it was shrimp something or other so I wasn't eating. We had individual TV screens that played films. Some were OK, but not interesting enough. I slept.

Arrival in KL was fine except for trying to figure out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go. The taxis waiting were wanting to overcharge. I knew I was close to the neighborhood I wanted to be, just not exactly sure of our position.

We started walking. It was hot. I found a taxi that took us to the hostel. It was 9 Ringit, but probably too much cause we were much closer than I thought. We checked in, but since I didn't have any Malaysian Ringit we had to go out to change some money to pay for the hostel.

The guy let us in to the room, but it was not ready. It looked as if someone had just left with the dirty sheets and towels still strewn about. So, back down the stairs and out until the room was readied.

We walked out to find the money changer. Not far up the road and the first one I went into. It was a bit like walking into the men's bathroom. It was full of smelly Indian men staring. I even heard the stray "beautiful" said in an skin-crawling, dirty old man way. I got my money and we got out of the there. The exchange rate was fair, so that was a good thing.

Both of us were hungry so we went back to a Thai cafe for some fuel. It was OK, nothing fantastic, but well-received nonetheless. Da decided he needed to find new sandals since his were making his feet hurt and that made it very difficult for him to walk. We went to the big shopping centers nearby, but struck out. It was either not what he wanted or too expensive.

By the time we were ready to go back to the hostel it had started raining. So we went back into the shopping center and to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that I like so much and ordered Chai lattes. I ended up drinking both since he didn't like the smell. It must have been the foam on the top. Frothy milk can be a bit unpleasant to smell.

Day 2: business in Chinatown
Today would be our only day for visiting tour agents, but we had to figure out where they were. Thankfully during our breakfast of toast and tea (not excited about that) we got some help from the gal who was working that day. She was extra friendly, even going so far as to calling the office to get directions for us.

We would take the public bus to Chinatown and wander around for awhile before finding the office location. Da went in first, then I followed shortly after to sit and wait for him. It was a long meeting made longer by the freezing air conditioning I had to suffer. I was tired and bored and should have brought a book to read. One nice thing is that a woman from the office appeared with a box of soy milk for me. How sweet!

After the successful meeting we decided to walk over to check out Petaling street to see what it had to offer. That's where we ended up finding the deal on sandals. There were nicely made and only 62 Ringit. I bought some of the sugared coconut that I like and then later some BBQ pork. We also had lunch at a little stall that was OK, but I was hungry later.

By then we were both ready to go back, so we wandered back to find the bus to go back. It took some walking back and forth but I found one that would take us to Times Square, the location of the next agencies. Along the way, however, he changed his mind and by the time we got off we had a huge walk back to the hostel.

We rested before heading back out for dinner. We settled on Outback Steakhouse. I knew it would be a splurge, but a delicious one for sure. We even got a free appetizer and soup cause the appetizer was late. I got chicken fried chicken. He got lamb chops (4 of them!). We were so stuffed after that. I barely felt like walking, but we did to check out some hi-tech shops.

Day 3: departure separation
This was an even earlier morning as we had to be on the road by 7:00am. There was no breakfast at that time. We took the monorail to KL Sentral where we could then get the airport bus to the airport. The guy at the hostel gave us incorrect directions and we ended up having to walk across the street and up the wrong side of the monorail. He was a real dud of a guy who barely spoke anything unless you clubbed it out of him.

We made it to the airport and got Da checked-in for his 10:00 flight. I, however, had six hours to wait. NO fun. I staked out a table in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for a couple of hours while I had a Chai latte and a muffin, the caught up in my journal. Later I got a piece of carrot cake that was too dry. I should have gone for the cheesecake.

I decided to move to another area just to have different scenery and found a cluster of chairs as a waiting area. For such a busy airport, it has a lack of decent seating areas. I read, slept, then got up to pick up something to eat from McD's (desperation). I ate it and read some more until I could check in for my flight.

The guy at check-in was a bit of a jerk when it came to my extra booking. He told me I could have canceled it 48 hours ahead of time. Duh! I tried online, but no such luck. Ahh, it can't be done online, but you can do it 48 hours ahead of time. Yes, I would have if I could have, but that was not an option, dude.

More waiting. The flight was slightly late. More problems with Air Asia personnel. You see I figured since I booked two tickets I could expect to take two seats. Ah, but I wasn't anticipating a huge Arab family boarding the plane at the last minute trying to find seats together. I got pushed in and stuck with a couple of the kids. Later the child turned into a teenage girl who was overly excited about her first trip to Bangkok. She painted her nails, showed off her sculpture of her hand in someone else's, and drank coffee. Wow! So grown up.

Travelogue: Singapore July 07

Old shop house from the back
Old shop house from the back originally uploaded by .Nikkster

Day 1: arrival and free shopping day
With only 3 days in this modern Asian city, there was little time for a lot of sightseeing. However, as I have already been here a couple of times, there wasn't much left for me to do.

We arrived in the morning, and got free transport to the hotel by a family member of my school director who happened to be on the same flight with her family. What a bonus! Since check-in wasn't until 2:00pm we had time to kill which meant walking around looking for a money changer.

That was tiring and after changing money we made our way back to the hotel. It was a nice enough room, though the door entry was at an angle so entering was awkward cause you had to swing it completely open to walk in clearly.

We decided to hit Orchard Road for some shopping. I was looking for my favorite store. Alas, I never found it. Later I discovered it had been turned into something else.

Day 2: business plans
Today was the first day of doing business which meant visiting tour agencies. But since the "yahoo" forgot to bring his business cards, we spent the first few hours getting quickie ones made in an hour.

Lunch was at Burger King. I try to avoid the M-place, but am fond of BK. Once cards in hand and lunch down the hatch it was off to the first destination. There was lots of walking and MRT riding, even a taxi thrown in.

The main stop was to the partner's office. It was a quick stop relatively, then we were ready to head back to the hotel. I was tired.

Later in the evening was a meeting with the partner rep, and to my surprise and pleasure a night out with him and his wife and the hotel's GM. We had "hot pot", or porridge as it's called in Singapore. This is more or less a soup pot in the middle of the table where you boil the things you order such as meats and vegies. There was plenty ordered and we were stuffed by the end. Conversation was lively. We even had a dish which was called fried porridge. It was the rice porridge but darker and thicker with some unknowns in it. Delicious!

Day 3: nothingness
I spent today waiting and waiting. I had no idea my partner would be out until 1:00am and I had received no messages of his whereabouts. In fact the hotel reception neglected to give me the two messages he left for me. I was so worried that I nearly felt like calling the police since I had no idea what had happened to him. In the end, he appeared with no explanation. But I wasn't in the mood for an explanation, just happy he was alive.

Day 4: bus to KL
It was an early morning with departure from the bus station at 8:30 for KL. We had to be at the station by 8:00. There were some hot drinks available in an instant beverage machine where you push a button of your choice of drink: Teh Tehrik, Milo, Nescafe with milk, Nescafe without milk, and so on

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SWM Seeks Loving Home

AGE: 2-3 months
EYES: bright blue
HAIR: white with grey around eyes and tail

I’m adorable and well-mannered, clever and a quick learner. I love adventures and exploring new places. A slight limp doesn’t keep me from running or climbing. I’d love a small family or other friends to stay with permanently.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

5-minute poetry: autumn

Fall originally uploaded by Robin Thom

Cycle of Leaves

Pumpkin Treats 3 December 2006
Pumpkins originally uploaded by Only in Cambodia

Pumpkins all around
Stacked in piles
on th eground
Cut-out faces
Smiles and frowns
Upon my doorstep graces
Tall and slim
Big and round
Neatly cut along the rim
Glowing in the darkest night
May the children
Not take fright
Welcomming warmly to my home
Later for pie, cakes or scones
Baked up in goodies
Oh so tasty
Don't leave now
Why so hasty?
Back to the farm
Gourds to mush
Fields lay fallow
For the post-autumn hush.

Boston Terrier Spice Rack originally uploaded by All-Mighty

Spice of Fall
Ground up
And mixed up
One bottle
One price
Add to some pumkin
For a traditional pie
Put in some oats
For porridge with a sigh
Warm and tasty
Definitely homemade
For these special treats
A baker can't be paid

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Easy Chocolate Truffles

This recipe was first passed on to me by my Camp Fire Girls leader in high school. It is probably the easiest dessert recipe for such a rich result.

1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 2 cups)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

chopped nuts
cocoa powder
shredded coconut
chocolate jimmies
or anything else you can imagine

Melt chocolate in a saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler. When thoroughly melted, remove from heat and add milk and vanilla. Stir well then chill in the fridge.

When you remove from the fridge it will be a bit hard, so you'll need to work it in your hands for awhile until it's pliable. Roll into 1-inch balls, then roll in desired coating.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Horse head violin

Mongolian band "Ensemble Khan Bogd"

I head some music today that reminded me of my absolute most favorite instrument in the world: the horse head violin. This instrument is so moving. It takes you on a journey at full gallop across the expansive grasslands of Mongolia, or into the warmth of a family's yurt at dusk. From excitment to deep sorrow, all ranges of emotions can be touched upon.

I fondly remember my summer of 2002 spent in Inner Mongolia, the autonomous region in northern China. I felt I could have been a Mongolian in another life. I wish I could be more musicially talented to be able to play a horse head violin. Despite the lack of skill I will always remember the melodies I heard from the live musicians in that wondeful Mongolian night club in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Color Quiz Me

Free personality analysis of Nikki.
Generated on Tue Apr 24 03:42:48 2007.

Nikki's Existing Situation
Imaginative and sensitive; seeking an outlet for these qualities--especially in the company of someone equally sensitive. Interest and enthusiasm are readily aroused by the unusual or the adventurous.

Nikki's Stress Sources
Wishes to be independent, unhampered, and free from any limitation or restriction, other than those which she imposes of herself or by her own choice and decision.

Nikki's Restrained Characteristics
Feels she is receiving less than her share, but that she will have to conform and make the best of her situation.
Has high emotional demands and is willing to involve herself in a close relationship, but not with any great depth of feeling.

Nikki's Desired Objective
Shelves her ambitions and forgoes her desire for prestige as she prefers to take things easily and indulge her longing for comfort and security.

Nikki's Actual Problem
Fights against restriction or limitation, and insists on developing freely as a result of her own efforts.

Take the ColorQuiz yourself right now!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Recipe: Fried Beetles

How to make fried beetles:
Boat races at the Siem Reap Water Festival Nov 4-5 2006
Boat Races at the Siem Reap Water Festival

1. Collect fresh squirming diving beetles either from your recently harvested rice paddy, or from a neighbor who senttheir children to go frolicking in the field for a fresh catch.

2. Bring your bag of wriggling beetles back home to be rinsed.

3. Place in a large wok (legs and all) with water over a high burning wood fire. Stir continuously while the beetles are attempting to crawl out so that they are evening scalded and stop moving.

4. Continue stirring until the water is evaporated, then add oil to fry them up nice and crispy. Keep frying until the fire dies out. Season as desired with MSG, salt or fried garlic.

Serve with rice.

Eating instructions
Pull off the legs and tear off the outer shell of fused wings. Pop into your mouth and crunch down with delight! Yummy!

Great as a side dish or afternoon snack!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Out of beta into the blog beyond

Siem Reap Old Market Tour

I finally did it! It wasn't so hard. Sometimes I think that updating will take longer and be more complicated than as promoted.

I had a really neat idea to write about, but alas it escaped me. I was without my handy dandy notebook (a la Blue's Clues), so if it doesn't get scribbled down, it doesn't get remembered at the right time.

For now I'll play with the font choices and colors.

Locks of love: 10 inches shed instantly

Well, I can't wait to post a photo cause I'm sure it'll shock a few people. Though I've had nothing but gratuitous comments from my Cambodian students. Being adored is always fulfilling.

"Oh, teacher. You are beauty!"

"Teacher you look very pretty!"

On and on they effuse.

In case you're still wondering what's all the fuss. I got my hair cut. Whoop-di-doo-dah, you say? Well I spent more than 4 years growing my mane, and I had lots of golden locks to spare. Originally I was thinking of just a trim, but somehow I was inspired by k.d. lang's very short cut and the trimming started.

I'm always taken aback by hairdresser's going gaga over my hair. They love it! I guess cause it's so natural: meaning I use absolutely no products on my hair to hold it or artificially change it's color to be more "natural". Plus, it is thick and has it's own natural wavy curl. Sorry guys, I'm taken :()