workin’ for the mâe bâan

it all started with pony bead geckos.


a12 and s10 were making them this summer and our mâe bâan (househelp) thought they were the best thing ever. after having a few months to figure out a way to make some money off of them she came to us with a proposition.  a proposition that we discussed in thai and only thai.

what i understood this proposition to be – meaning what i agreed to – was that a12 would make 100 geckos.  over a time of a month or two.  and maybe if she could come up with another design then she could make those, too.  but no hurry.  because i understood that our mâe bâan and her husband were going to sell them at their weekend stall.  you know, a few at a time.  maybe 20 or so on a good weekend.  and the deal was a12 would get 3 ฿ each.  and they would turn around and sell them for 5 ฿ each.  no get rich quick scheme, but when 200 ฿ a day is minimum wage, every little bit counts.

what our mâe bâan thought i understood – and what apparently i actually agreed to do – was this –

a thousand

if you’re thinking that looks like more than a hundred that’s because it is more than a hundred.  however, it is a multiple of a hundred.  so at least i got the 100 part right.  see, she thought i understood that they wanted 100 each of 10 designs.   by oct. 1.  we – i say we, but i mean michael – got this communication error straightened out on sept. 20.  and turns out a12 had no interest whatsoever in making any pony bead anything.  so, michael and i set to work.  making 100 of each of these.

dragonfly IMG_1104 IMG_1101 IMG_1100 IMG_1102

IMG_1103 IMG_1094 IMG_1096 IMG_1097 IMG_1099

go ahead, try to guess what each of them are.  100 points to whomever gets all 10 right.

we made them everywhere.  if we went to breakfast, we took all the beading stuff.  when michael went to the phillipines, he took all the beading stuff.  and when i went on a women’s retreat…  you guessed it, i took all the beading stuff.

and you’ll never guess what’s gonna happen to these babies.  they’re gonna be exported.  that’s right.  exported to foreign countries.  like indonesia, the phillipines, and the good ol’ u s of a.  that’s what they said.  some of these are headed to the states.  now who’s buying these?  i’ve got no idea.  but, at 3 ฿ each we managed to lose some money.  so we’ve closed up shop.  which i think makes them limited edition.  and hand crafted in thailand.  surely that makes them worth their weight in gold, right?

she only thinks she knows me

actual conversation that happened on the way home from school

a12:  “i don’t think this bite plate is doing anything other than annoying me.”

me:  “well, the orthodontist said you have to wear it, so you have to wear it.”

a12:  “if the orthodontist told you that you had to go naked through the neighborhood to fix your jaw you would.”

me:  “i wouldn’t be so sure about that one.”

a12:  “oh, you might struggle with it, but you’d still do it.”

you know, for the ladies

yesterday michael and i were at a boots pharmacy picking up his blood pressure medication. while waiting another gentleman guy walks in and sort of butts in line in front of us to ask the cashier a question.

wanna know what’s so important that you have to cut in front of someone already in the process of making a purchase?  turns out this guy had been to hospital recently and they had the coolest thing there and he was hoping that the pharmacy might carry it.  it’s a blood test strip.  it tests for h.i.v.  he thought it might come in handy for on the spot testing of the ladies.  very convenient he said.  a few drops of blood and you’re good to go he said.  no really, he said that.  the cashier – who was looking quite uncomfortable and unsure – didn’t know if they had them and told the guy the pharmacist would be in at 1 (about 2 hours later).  the guy said he’d be back to talk the pharmacist because it would be just too convenient to have those strips.  you know, for the ladies.

i wish i’d had my camera with me.  i would have loved to have gotten his picture to post on my blog.  you know, for the ladies.

I think I’ll be ready

our home leave is coming up.  only 5 months away. and while 5 months isn’t quite the same as tomorrow it will still be here before we know it.  and – until today – every time I’ve thought about returning to the states I’ve had a near panic attack.  the memory of our trip here hasn’t become funny, yet.  I sort of thought it would have by now, but nope, still quite scarring.  and because of that I’ve really had no desire to board a plane to fly for hours and hours and hours.  and I was sort of thinking I might never, ever fly across the ocean again.  but this afternoon, while talking to a friend about our impending trip, I realized I’m excited about it.  and it’s not just seeing friends and family that I’m looking forward to.  I’ve started a little list, that I will continue to add to, of things I miss.

here’s the list…  (people not included)

  • knowing, without a doubt, that public restrooms are not squatty potties
  • being fairly confident that there will be toilet paper available in at least one stall in a public restroom
  • being able to flush toilet paper
  • channel surfing
  • drinking tap water
  • hot water in the kitchen
  • Panera
  • bagels
  • tacos from Jack in the Box (what?)
  • diet cherry limeades from Sonic
  • drive thru windows
  • Chipotle
  • Target

maybe I’ll move this to my sidebar.  wonder how long it can get.

pressure – it’s on

lately I’ve had this question sort of niggling in my brain and last night, one of my lovely children, actually asked it out loud.  “what are you going to cook for Christmas?” and then he went on to present an entire thesis on Christmas food and how important it is.  not just important necessary.  because without it Christmas will just suck.

I’ve managed to procure a tree, decorate it, place wrapped presents under it, hang stockings and locate the stocking stuffers.  I’ve spent absolutely no time thinking about what we will be eating come Christmas day.  and now that I know appetizers are expected?  the pressure is on.

outing myself and attempting to change my ways

Some of you might be thinking I don’t use capital letters in my posts and comments because it seems to be “the thing” to do.  Others might think it’s my literary voice coming through.  Neither of those are the correct assumption.  The truth, the shameful truth, is I have purposefully not used capital letters in the hopes that you would not notice my complete and total grammar suckage.  Or if you did notice you might be tricked into thinking it was just part of the whole no caps, literary voice thing.  It’s also the reason for my love of the dash.  I am consistently confused about comma usage – and colon or semicolon usage.

I know there are rules for those sorts of things, and I should learn them.  But I don’t want to.  I want my lack of good grammar to be seen as quirky and cute.  However, I’ve now been called on the carpet for it.  I know you’re wondering who would have the gall?  The answer to that question is my dad.  I haven’t asked his permission to post the following quote from what is a very lovely email, but I’m doing it anyway.  And the only change I’ve made is adjusting C14’s name.  (I’m more than certain the last sentence I typed is incorrect.  I could be wrong about that.)

By the way, we love you and yours and pray for you and them daily. (NOTICE THE PROPER PUNCTUATION.) I know C14 aspires to be an author. Help him out with proper grammatical construction before you free him for poetic license.

If he were the only one questioning my grammatical abilities that would be one thing.  But just the other day, a Thai friend told me that she had been instructed to never ask for grammatical help from an American.  They are awful at grammar.  I know that’s a generalization.  I know some amazingly grammatically correct Americans (I even married one), but the thought that I could possibly be reinforcing this generalization has made me rethink my no caps and willy nilly grammar approach to blog posting.  I feel the need to at least attempt to change my lazy ways.

So, from here on out, I pledge to use many, many more capital letters and to do my best to get a handle on proper grammar.

I should probably carry a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves with me everywhere I go. And maybe start working on a few Shurley Grammar jingles.

For those of you out there with superiour grammar abilites, I welcome feedback. (Think constructive criticism.)  But I don’t like being called stupid.

are there language lessons for that?

recently, it’s been brought to my attention that animals speak in different tongues. and i had no idea that one country’s animal onomatopoeia isn’t the same as another.  for example, an american pig goes “oink, oink” while a japanese pig goes, “boo boo”.

this discovery was made when a thai friend was talking to me about a rooster and it’s incessant “ake-e-ake-ake”-ing.  rooster in thai is gài dtua pôo.  and i didn’t know that.  so when she was telling me the gài dtua pôo woke her up going “ake-e-ake-ake” i assumed she was talking about a charlie horse in her leg aching and waking her up.  and what a good laugh she we had once we figured out how silly i am.  i immediately came home to google this and see what was up.  sure enough, roosters around the globe speak many languages.

and because i would hate to think i could have stopped you from the same embarrassing situation, i’m sharing my new found knowledge.  one day, you’ll thank me.

plus, i found this way cool website where you can hear different animal sounds.  but i’m not 100% sure of the accuracy.  i don’t agree with all the sounds they say the animals that are american make.