Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Served with a Side of Christmas Gone Wild

The holidays are coming.  It is in the air.

This year I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 23 people.  I started cooking on Monday and I ate on Friday.  It was wonderful to celebrate with our new friends who have become our Malaysian family. They came from New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands and all were tickled pink to try out this fated meal they have watched in movies and read about.

And what is not to like about Thanksgiving? Food, friends, and fun.
I finally got to sit at the grown up table.

There were seconds and thirds and fourths.


The special Stella and Tiger table complete with Tiger's Thanksgiving meal: sandwiches, of course.

 The next day we decided Christmas can begin so we went to the mall, which is like Christmas on crack.  Who says there is a war on Christmas?  I am in a not Christian country and Christmas is alive and well.  Dare I say, they go to 11 on Christmas here.  We decided to put up our Blue Spruce again but this year went rainbow.  I love that my husband allows these kinds of shenanigans with no protest at all.  He is the best.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey Fat Face

The other day I had the best worst compliment ever.

Neighbor: Oh, wow, you look really good.  I can tell you have been running because your face is not as fat.

I was floored.  It was so offensive it was hilarious.

But then I remembered my latest DMV photo and it pretty much backed up my neighbor.
To my credit, the man taking this was getting in my face and made me lean my head back creating the largest possible double chin in the history of my fat face.

I don't think I have ever had a picture as bad as this one, the one I will have for the next 15 years and be used as my mug shot if I ever get kidnapped, sent to jail, or awarded a Nobel Prize.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Marine Ball 2014

We are back folks.  Seth and I once again attended the Marine Ball.  It felt good to get all prettied up.  I was too cheap to go get my hair professionally done and spent three hours trying different hair styles out until I finally ended up with a bun, the same bun I did the first five minutes.

I got my trusty old Oliver Tolentino dress out.  I have worn this dress a few times, while I am always on the lookout for new ones I can't beat this one on quality, comfort, and style, so I keep wearing it.  Also, I can no longer afford Oliver because he is super famous and stuff.

Seth and I had a fantastic night and then we danced to songs I had not heard since junior high.  By midnight we left because someone broke a glass on the dance floor and my feet were screaming naughty words at my shoes and it is midnight, we have two human alarm clocks.

Love our Marines, thank you for all you do.  Thank you also for throwing an amazing party.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Not Lean Halloween

My condo building is populated with expats from all over the world.  The ones that speak my language are generally with oil and gas companies.  A few are self-made entrepreneurs.  My point, my neighbors do not work with Seth, and usually are in the private sector instead of government.  This is actually a huge boon for us.  It forces us to become friends with people who are not exactly like us or even from the same country. Dare I say, it forces us outside of our bubble just a tad.

I have been so lucky to become friends with some fantastic people and inspiring women.

My daughter has become best friends with a darling Aussie-Dutch girl who looks like her twin.  Stella now pronounces the word idea: I-DEER, I blame Australia and secretly smirk at the weird international accent she is picking up.  It is so nice to have happy kids, happy kids make happy moms.  Happy kids also introduce you to new moms.

Stella's BFF's mom is a businesswoman who knows how to run and organize things.  She also wanted a Halloween party, not just any Halloween party but a Halloween party with a "wow factor" (said in a classy Aussie accent, think Nicole Kidman when she is giving interviews).  Have me chair the church or school charity, give me a $100 to make a prom, I am your lady.  Ask me to make a party that blows the pants off the Pope? This is a new and exciting challenge.

Luckily I had support.  Another lady in my building, who is also amazing and successful, wanted to throw an awesome party.

So, let's recap here: two amazing organized powerful women want a party but have full time jobs and then Sunny.

So...I somehow became the Halloween party planner person and remember not just any Halloween but "Wow Factor" Halloween.

So we started planning with two weeks ticking.  DJ Booked, Magician, face painter, Massive 15' Printouts, and my contribution: old UAB boxes that would become a terrifying haunted house.  They were very spooky.

Somehow the waters parted, or maybe things just happen when three women who know how to move and shake get together.  Everything came together and the party was amazing.

Unfortunately, I made two mistakes: 1) I got a flu shot the week of this party 2) I pushed myself when my gut said to call it a night.

The day of the party I had been up til 1 am decorating.  I got up the next morning to finish and finished about 5:00 pm, an hour and a half before the party.

I quickly did my makeup, wrapped Tiger in mummy bandages, made Stella a goth witch and realized I was freezing.  I was freezing and I live on the equator and the AC is off.  Bad.  Bad. Very Bad.  I had chills.

I took some ibuprofen.  Got the family games going at the party, escorted trick or treaters, directed food traffic and had a good time.

Around 9 I took my kids up to bed.

The chills came back when I tucked my babes into bed.  This time they didn't leave.  I tried to fake it but at some point when you are shaking and not able to control your body temperature you have to call BS on your body, so I did.

I assume everyone thought I left because they were getting drunk and I am a teetotaler but let me assure you, I would have reveled in watching them all fall over themselves but my body would have none of it.  So, I went to bed at 10 and the party, that I planned, went on until 2 while I had fever dreams.

Everyone had a blast and it was the coolest Halloween party I have ever seen.  Sadly, I spent the weekend convinced I had dengue (I didn't) and sweating through my pajamas.

Luckily, I bounced back and here I am typing and not having an excuse to skip the gym.  Until next year.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Happy Deepavali

I think one of the best parts about my nomadic life is that I get to have new and extra holidays.  Never to turn away a good celebration, whether I subscribe to the belief or not, new holidays must and should be celebrated and I will be the first to raise my glass to that. 
My kids look amazing.  Especially Tiger with his extra deep V neck shirt.

Our newest holiday that we celebrated: Deepavali.

Deepavali is a Hindu festival held every fall that celebrates the ultimate victory of light over darkness.  There are lights, there are candles, there is beautiful clothing.  Think Hanukkah with songs in a much better key, Indian food, and peacocks for some reason I have yet to discover.

The kids celebrated this by wearing their latest and greatest Indian clothing, purchased by mother dearest, to school.

Our helper, who is Indian Malay, wanted nothing more than to have us come to her Deepavali party.  I know enough about employing household help to know that there is a line and you don't want to cross that line.  We luckily were out of town for Deepavali so I thought I could avoid that awkwardness, so she changed the date of her party.  And then she bought a couch she couldn't afford at a 40% interest rate and I got a sick feeling, hoping she didn't buy the couch at the thought of us attending.  The more we declined the more she pushed, so we finally said we would come.

Happy Deepavali
It was so nice.  The food was fab and Stella and her BFF, C, were in awe of her beautiful pink walls and plastic heart curtain holders.  It was like their decorating dreams had come true.  It was so nice and good to see the real local life.  A lot of her neighbors had never met an American and were so excited to see us.  It was a little weird to be gawked at but the kids were behaved and I was well fed, which is a recipe for success.  

So to all my Indian friends out there: Happy belated Deepavali, and please invite me to your next party.  I can't get enough.  


Stella and Tiger's school has a week long fall break, which is fantastic because it is low travel season (and rainy season).  Our family was able to go to Phuket, Thailand, chill for a week at an amazing hotel on the cheap.  It was so nice.
 There was lots to do in Phuket but after the move and with Seth's schedule none of us wanted to go jungle trekking.  We spent our days at the beach, followed by lunch, and then at the pool.  It was so relaxing and so nice.

I did divert and got a massage on the beach.  I felt very smug because I got a $10 massage instead of the $50 hotel massage.  However, when the old lady who was rubbing me down was gossiping in Thai and chattering her teeth loudly in my ear the entire time, I realized I got exactly what I paid for and ate my smugness, I think it was laced with kaffir lime.

We came back refreshed and missing it already.

For those who are looking for great digs the Marriott Mai Khao Beach Club was perfect for families.  Sleeps up to 8.  Air Asia will fly you cheap and quickly from Malaysia. At the Marriott there are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, pull out couch, kitchen, and laundry.  And unlike other Marriott Vacation Club, the maids come every day.  If you work it you might be able to stay there free if you sit through the 90 minute presentation.  We can't put a price on how annoying that is, but you might be able to.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Something Not Right

Word of Caution Readers: This post does not follow polite conventions and talks about things some readers find gross and rude, things like bodily fluids, so if you are not a fan of potty talk, STOP.  

What?  Still reading?  I told you.  You have been warned.  

So yesterday I was finishing up the final touches of hanging everything up and finally getting settled in.  At some point, being human, I needed to relieve myself in the bathroom.

When I did what came out looked like rosé.

I was disturbed by this discovery.  Immediately I assumed I had the worst UTI known to man and immediately called the clinic.  

They got me in right away and not surprisingly, asked me to give a sample of my urine, which... looked like this but in a slightly less fancy container.  
The clinic was concerned at the sample and immediately assumed I had a urinary tract infection.   Luckily they are smart and because I had no other symptoms and they have fancy equipment they like to use, they tested my pee to see what it had.  

Results: nothing.  No leukocytes (I suppose this is required to have a UTI), no white blood cells, no blood, no protein...NOTHING just straight up good, old fashion, healthy, rosé-colored pee. 

So they mystery deepens.  The PA asks me, "Have you been eating beets."  

Hmmm.  And then I remember.  I haven't been eating beets but I have been eating dragon fruit, and a lot of it. 

Our helper cut up dragon fruit for four people yesterday and no one but me likes to eat in this family, so I ate all four servings.  Dragon fruit has a mild taste and looks like this at the market:
And it looks like this when it is cut:
And it looks like this when you pee it out the next day: 

Cheers to all my rosé loving friends!  

Thursday, September 18, 2014


We had a holiday on Tuesday (Happy Malaysia Day) so we decided to take off Monday and go to Penang for a four day weekend.  We drove four hours, it was a breezy easy drive.  The traffic was fine and the highway was gorgeous.  It was really cool to see the countryside.

We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel on Penang in the area of Batu Fenenghi.  It was a really good family hotel.  Pool: check.  Waterslides: check.  beach: check.  We were set.

The food was amazing, even at the hotel.  I had nasi lemak for breakfast every day.  I am giving up Western breakfast for now on and just going for rice, curries, and noodles.  Malaysian food is too good to not eat at every meal.

We spent a day in Georgetown and found ourselves in the middle of a race and some kind of festival.  Then we meandered up to the area of town where the street art is located.

 It is a very historical, slightly dilapidated old UNESCO heritage site of the old British colonial Penang.  They commissioned street art to raise awareness of animal cruelty and it was great to go check it out.
PLEASE MOM!  I don't want to go on a bike!!!
I wanted to rent bikes to see the street art but both kids went into a panic attack at that idea.  Stella, because she has never ridden without a helmet, yay for me and boo for me and Tiger because he was tired and cranky.

We persevered and forced them to ride, helmetless, through the streets and they actually had a great time.

For some unexplainable reason everyone thought Seth was a celebrity and got their picture with Seth on a tiny bike with Tiger in the back.

The next day we went to Escape Adventure park which is like a jungle outdoor amusement park but instead of rides you have ropes and carabiners.  We all had a lot of fun and sweated buckets

 My only complaint about Hard Rock was that they tried really hard to rock hard (and never gave us enough towels despite my please).   There were parties until 1 am our last night there complete with fireworks and fire breathing dancers.  It was nothing less than amazing, although not the right time or frankly the right decade of my life.

The next day we went home.  Stopped at a few of the R&Rs which have little local wet markets and squatter toilets.  It was good to be home.