one is silver and the other gold

as a general rule, i don’t do friendship well. like any rule, there are exceptions, but they are few and far between. i am great at acquaintances. keeping things surface is my forté. see, i sort of keep people at arm’s length and i can be a bit prickly – which really gets in the way of getting below the surface.

part of my struggle is that i’m pretty sure i lack the friendship forming gene. i honestly don’t get how people become fast friends – and by fast i mean, like, taking less than 4 years – and where i find myself now is a difficult place. and i do mean that literally. because it’s a very transient community. people are constantly coming and going. and it’s a diverse community. people from all over the world, with different customs, expectations and not to mention languages and accents. it makes it all a bit more difficult. but, i also mean that i’m in a difficult place figuratively. because i’ve reached the point that i have become fully aware that the root of the problem is me. i’ve been resistant to putting myself out there – to being vulnerable. and i want to be different. i want to have people (heck, i’d be happy with just a person) that i can be completely me with. that i can laugh with and cry with. that i can share the ups and downs with. i’m tired of being lonely. and i’m tired of wishing and wanting.

and what’s really frustrating is that those people. those people who can be friends – really good friends – are right in front of me. and i’ve made excuses, pushed them away and sabotaged relationships. but it’s time for a change. it’s time to take control. it’s time to mend fences and take risks. i’m not so confident of what the results will be, but i’m willing to give it a go.

good pai

i’ve just returned from a lovely no-kids-nor-husbands invited few days away. our escape getaway started in the cutest toy plane ever

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and we sat closer to the pilot and copilot than i thought was possible.

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the flight was only 25 minutes.  and, for those of you who might be wondering (dad) yes, we could have taken a bus.  and, yes, it would have cost less baht.  but it’s a 4 hour drive on a road that has 700 or so curves and would have guaranteed that at least one – and most likely both – of us would have needed a barf bag.  or 20.  which we hear the are kind enough to hand out by the handfull as you board.   and had we ridden the bus we would have missed this runway.

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and a very cute toy airport that exists solely for the toy plane we flew on.

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once we arrived in pai we quickly settled into our own personal paradise.

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which came with some lovely views and two of the most adorable neighbors.

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we wandered into town for a late lunch,  enjoyed a cup of perfect – at least that’s what the slogan at the coffee shop claimed – and then returned to our bungalow for a little peace and quiet.

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a relaxing time was had by all.  at least the two of us who were away.

making a list, checking it twice…

i’m getting serious about the whirlwhind north american tour thing. c15 and i have our travel booked for india and now we’re just waiting for finalization of travel dates for america.  i’m constantly making lists of people we need to see, places to go, where might we stay, etc… and until now, i’ve never bothered to put a number to it all.  and by number i mean money.  us dollars, not thai baht.  it’s kind of put a damper on things.

it looks like the biggest expense is going to be car rental and there’s sort of no getting around without a car.  plus, we’d intended to fly between texas and colorado, but we only have enough points for 4 tickets and it’s cheaper to rent a car and drive it than buy one ticket.  but, if we drive it frees up some airline miles for visiting other people (and that means a side trip for me, alone, possibly to a beach.  i can’t really complain about that.)  we’ve also got stocking up to do.  undergarments are in high demand as are shoes, especially for me (thanks dad for the big feet).  and, of course, there are foods we won’t have had in 18 months that we just can’t live without.  but before we even get out of thailand the expenses are piling up.  there’s rent to be paid, our house help will need to be paid ahead of time for the entire time we’re gone, the dog will need to be put up somewhere – unless we can find someone to housesit.  and souveniers to bring back with us.  and i know there’s plenty more that i’m not thinking of, but it will come to me, i know it will.

the money isn’t a huge issue – we’ll most likely have 3 years to recover.  (that’s how long it’s likely to be before our next visit back to the states.)  and it’s possible we’ll find cars to borrow and, thankfully, it looks like we have plenty of offers of places to stay – so no hotel bills.

and besides that, as the mastercard commercial goes…

visiting family and friends…  priceless.

the letter meme

i found this meme at hay’s and have just copied and pasted the instructions.

the rules for the letter meme are as follows :

you leave a comment on this post, and I’ll assign you a letter. you write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. when people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on.

( I know ya’ll are like, *well I ain’t commenting and getting a meme*, so as always it IS optional, let me know if you want to play.)

my assigned letter from hay?

Hmm, it has to be a *T* for Thailand!

you wanna play? just leave a comment and let me know you want a letter.  don’t let that scare you off  from commenting.  if you want to comment, but don’t want a letter – then do. comment that is.

my Ten Things That start with The letter T

1.)  Tortillas and almost any of the foods that come wrapped in one, especially of the Tex-mex variety.  or just plain with butter – that makes me happy, too.

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2.)  Thursday is my absolute favoritest day of the week.  why Thursday?  well, the whole weekend is stretched out before you on Thursday.  untouched.  perfect.  waiting.

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3a.)  Travel.  as in people traveling to see us.  like my mom and dad.  who will be here this coming weekend.

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3b.)  Travel. as in us traveling to see people.  which we’ll be doing this summer.

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4.)  Transparency. don’t go playing games with me.  say what you mean.  do what you mean. be who you are.

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5.) Texas. you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl.  or something like that.

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6.)  Thongs. at least that’s what we called them in the olden days.  now I think flip-flop is the p.c. term

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7.) Talking. what can I say?  (alot)  I’ve got the gift of gab.  I don’t think everyone thinks it’s a gift.

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8.)  The Princess Bride. (yes, the T in The totally counts as starting with T since it is part of the official title and all .) “you rush a miracle man you get rotten miracles.”

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9.)  Titmouse. mainly because the name makes my children giggle.  and it is a very cute bird.

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10.)  Thailand. which is a good thing, since we live here and all.

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big chewy ginger cookies

It’s a food post.  With pictures.

I got myself invited to a cookie exchange.  And then I panicked.  I needed a good recipe. Something interesting. Just off the beaten path enough to not be the same cookie everyone else was bringing and at the same time it needed to be just the right amount of unimpressive to make it not look like i was trying too hard.

I ruled out anything with icing right off the bat.  I know my limitations and baking 96 cookies in a toaster oven is enough of a challenge without having to worry about icing them perfectly.  And, because this is Thailand, there were many recipes that could be crossed off the list because the ingredients are unavailable or way, way too expensive.  I ended up going with Big Soft Ginger Cookies.   It helped that someone had just given me a few cups of tar molasses.

And, since I know you have no desire to click on over to the recipe, I’m going to go ahead and post it.  With pictures.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In your very best dry ingredient mixing bowl

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Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.   No need to worry if you live in a country where you’ve been unable to find a sifter thing.  They come out great without the sifting.

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Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the egg,

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then stir in the water and molasses.  I know, it looks a whole heck of a lot like tar.  But it smelled a whole heck of a lot like molasses.  Yuck.  I hate the smell of molasses.

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Gradually, stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.  The recipe says to stir, but I’m pretty sure it meant to blend or mix or whatever the proper instruction is when using a mixer.  I also made that same assumption in the above step with the smelly molasses.

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DO NOT CONTINUE.  If you follow the directions you will have a huge mess and miss out on the secret they don’t tell you.  Trust me – this secret is a secret worth knowing.

Cover the bowl and stick in the refrigerator for about an hour.  It helps immensely.  While the dough is chilling you should chill, too.  Shhhh…. that’s the secret.  It is the only thing that will get you through baking 12 batches of cookies in your toaster oven.

Pour yourself two one of these.

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That would be vodka and cranberry juice.  Start with mixing it 1/2 and 1/2.  Adjust to meet your fancy.

After an hour has passed take the dough out of the fridge and…

Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet,

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and flatten slightly.

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Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes

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before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Depending on how much of the secret ingredient you used you might need to arrange for some cookie guards.

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Mine are raw silk Santas.  Working hard to protect me from the cookies.  They did a fantastic job and will be moving on to serve as teacher gifts.  They are very talented.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this post I’m sure you’ll be tickled pink to know that I had the only Big Soft Ginger C0okies at the exchange.

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.

can you get too multi-cultural?

last night we had friends for dinner. i mean we had friends join us for dinner – not that we ate them. our friends are from mongolia and are taking a sabbatical here in chiang mai. so i had to figure out what we’d have for dinner. i certainly couldn’t cook any mongolian type things – that’s way too much pressure. and it couldn’t be anything american – that’s too easy. and certainly nothing thai – nothing special there. so i settled on something hungarian. hungarian paprika chicken.  it was awesome.  made even awesomer by the four culture convergence it caused.  (1)an american family and (2)a mongolian family enjoy a (3)hungarian dinner in (4)thailand.