Monday, March 25, 2013


For those of you on Facebook, there is a 2013 SEAYBST page for you to "like" and, beginning on Wednesday, March 26th live results (and photos) will be posted to the page. The link to the page is

This is the schedule for Christopher's team. 
 Christopher finishes school at 2 pm and then we are off to the airport!
 Have a great Tuesday!

Here We Are, Back At Monday!

It took Kevin two hours to get home from the airport Friday evening! After he sent me a text from the car and asked me to make sure there was plenty of beer in the refrigerator, I knew my plan to go out to dinner was not going to happen. I didn't even mention it. Poor guy! Bangkok traffic is always pretty bad but it seems to be the absolute worst on Fridays. It is so bad that I won't even bother to go downtown on a Friday - it is just not worth the aggravation of sitting in traffic for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 

PeePorn is giving me some competition in floral design. She put this together with flowers and leaves from our yard. I told her last week that we are moving at the end of June and we both got a little teary-eyed. She is such a great fit for our family and we are lucky that she takes such good care of us.
I spent Saturday organizing uniforms, hats, travel bags, etc. for the baseball tournament in Singapore. Bags, bags and more bags were delivered to our home and I had to sort through it all and organize  for each team. Yet again, I really wish I could learn to delegate! Thankfully, everything was delivered and it was all in the correct sizes, quantities and colors. I don't know what I would have done if something was missing or incorrect as there really is not much the supplier could fix or make in 2 days.

As always, my shadow was nearby...
Sonder seems to have forgiven me for the allergy-testing drama (he is back to sleeping on his bed on the floor next to me) but he hasn't yet seen me packing my suitcase for Singapore - I am sure I will get some attitude from him after we return. He is worse than a cat sometimes! He and I seem to take one step forward and then two steps back! 
Saturday night, Kevin and I went to the "Emerald Ball". I knew it would be fun when I saw this quote on the ticket, "Many people die of thirst but the Irish are born with one." When we lived in Australia, we attended many formal events because of Kevin's job. Fortunately, I was able to wear a dress to this Ball that I already had in my closet. It is very popular to have gowns and formal wear tailor-made here but 1) I have about 15 formal gowns/dresses in my closet so it would be hard to justify (well, really only to Kevin - my friends would understand) why I needed something new and b) I procrastinated for so long and missed my window of opportunity. Thank goodness everything still fit.
The Ball was held at the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel which is a bit off of the beaten path but the Hotel was very nice. I was surprised I didn't lose Kevin to the NCAA March Madness games that were being replayed in the hotel bar. There were two tables of ten people each in our group and, at our table, I only knew 1 1/2 of the couples. Poor Kevin only knew our hosts - but he is better at making small talk than I am.

I must say that the food (at least what we selected) was not good. The appetizer was an Oakwood smoked salmon mille feuille with salmon rillette, pesto oil drizzle and lavosh crisp. It was just okay. We were then served a traditional green valley farm broth topped with grilled focaccia croutons. Boring! A green apple sorbet to cleanse the palate was served and then it was time for the entree. 

Kevin and I each ordered the braised lamb shank marinated in Guinness Stout with Colcannon mashed potatoes, stewed carrots, peas and onions.  
After a few bites of the lamb, I had to push it aside because there was more fat than meat. Yuck! Fortunately, there was a nice bread basket and the potatoes and the veggies were good so we didn't starve. I think the wait staff knew how bad the food was because they kept refilling the bread baskets (and our wineglasses!). 

Dessert was an Irish tiramisu (?!?) flavored with Bailey's cream and nutella lady fingers. Again, it sounded like it might be good but it wasn't - I had an Irish Coffee instead.  There were two live bands and the second one (I think they were called "The Unicorns") was the better of the two - we even went and danced for a few songs. Oo La La! After seeing the food that was served for the dinner, there was no incentive for us to stick around for the midnight breakfast so we left just before midnight and made it back to Nichada by 12:45 am.

I am off to pack for the week. We leave tomorrow at 4:30 pm and our first game is at 8:00 am Wednesday morning against the team from Jakarta. I will try and post updates as best as I can.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, March 22, 2013

And An "Oops"!

Well, I *thought* I did the math right but I didn't... the car that we are selling has been driven 75,000 kilometers / 45,000 miles (not the 12,000 miles that I had posted!). Maybe you caught my error and were too nice to say anything but my dear husband sure wasn't! Sorry about that - my brain has an inability to do even the simplest math. We have had several inquiries about it and my fingers are crossed that we can sell it soon.  One less thing for me to worry about.

Before I write about my fourth and last  (sniff, sniff) floral design class, here are two of my latest acquisitions.
On the left is a collection of antique writing brushes from China. I already have some displayed on a stand (as does almost everyone in Nichada) and was looking to do something unique with this grouping as they were very detailed and colorful. 
I found the objects in the photo below at a "new to me" antique store here in Bangkok. They are called "norigae" and they are traditional Korean accessories that hang from a women's dress or skirt. A norigae is a good luck charm as well as a fashion accessory. These norgaes are quite old and are made of carved jade. Newer norigae are made of embroidered silk and fabric.
The framer delivered them to me last week and, after unwrapping to look at and take a few photos, they went into my "to be shipped" pile.

On to the floral design class...

Our first task was to attach these vine balls to a long thin stick.
While we were working with those, Tipwan fitted a floral foam into our bowls.
As usual, Tipwan sketched the design for our class and talked about the different techniques we would learn. Our focus today was "grouping".
 For the first step, we used three stems of calla lilies and three  large  green leaves.
 Then we added a short stem of white lilies to be our focal point. 
To balance and add interest to the arrangement, we added three of these dark green leaves.
We used some tall variegated grass to give the right side of the design a little height. We added a lot of ferns below all of the other flowers to 1) hide our technique & the foam and 2) add some texture and pattern. 
The vine balls were added next. It was hard for me to decide where to place them but I think I finally got it right. 
I added four of these sparkly & curly gold pieces.  

The three arrangements. 
After we finished and placed the arrangements side by side, I noticed how tall my calla lilies were compared to those in the other two arrangements. The gold stems helped to fill up the top of the arrangement but it still looked "off" to me. I know that no one else will notice or care but it bugs me every time I pass by the arrangement at home. 
Of the four designs we learned, I think this one was my favorite. I really liked the combination of the green leaves and white flowers - it was a simple but sophisticated look and the vine balls added texture and interest. 

Another lily bloomed this morning...
Kevin returns from Japan late this afternoon. Since the kids have plans, I think we will go out for a quiet dinner and catch up on the week. There is a restaurant that we like (Le Bouchon) right outside Nichada and, if we get there early enough, we can usually avoid the Nichada crowd. 

Tomorrow night we are going downtown with a group of friends to attend the "Emerald Ball", organized by the St. Patrick's Society of Thailand (who would have thought?!?). We are such an "early to bed, early to rise" couple that this will be a big night out for us - the promise of a fun night with friends, Guinness on tap, Irish Whiskey and an Irish band won out over the ho-hum thought of a good night's sleep. However, if we make it to the "midnight breakfast", I will be very surprised. I will certainly raise a glass or two to celebrate my Cassidy heritage as well as the Keating/Kiley clan. 

A funny for the weekend (and maybe a sign that God is female?). 
Have a great Friday! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

And So It Begins


Toyota Harrier (Lexus RX 300) 1999. Ivory with tan interior. VERY low mileage - 75,000 kilometers/12,100 miles (I think I did the math right on that!). We had bumper to bumper maintenance completed on the car in March 2012 and it runs great and is in good condition. This is the perfect car for Bangkok - big enough to hold its own on the expressway yet small enough to drive with confidence on the narrow streets and alleys in the city. Right hand drive. We are leaving post at the end of June but the car is available any time before then if needed. Diplomatic sale only - car can be sold duty free & on the economy in three years. Please email me at if you are interested.  


We love this car and, were it not for the right hand drive, we would take it back to Virginia with us. 

Have a great Wednesday!

A Missed Opportunity

Last Saturday, Christopher's baseball team played another double header against Minebae (the Japanese baseball academy team). For the first time, our team traveled to play at Minebae - usually Minebae likes to travel and play at ISB. 

We were told in advance that the Minebae facilities were very primitive - very little shade, no spectator seating, no concessions, etc. It didn't sound like the best place for me to spend 8 hours on a Saturday but I thought I could just grin and bear it. With a little preparation, we could bring enough food, drinks, umbrellas and camp chairs to make it comfortable. However, after we were told to bring our own toilet paper, I asked the one question that I never ever would have thought (or had reason) to ask before living in Thailand, "What kind of toilets are available?". Once I had my answer, it was a very easy decision for me to opt to stay home.

Almost all of the upscale hotels, restaurants shopping malls and office buildings in Bangkok provide Western-style toilets. If you never venture outside of downtown Bangkok, you would probably never see (or be forced to use) a squat toilet. However, outside of Bangkok and away from other tourist attractions elsewhere in Thailand, the squat toilet is often the only option available. In fact, almost 99% of the toilet facilities in Thailand (outside of Bangkok) are of the squat type.

Obviously, as evidenced by the 277,000 results to my google query "how to use a thai squat toilet", there is a technique to using a "squatter". (FYI - this website gives the best instructions). I won't go into too much detail about the entire process but usually the first step in using a squat toilet is to remove all of the clothing from the lower 1/2 of your body. It is hard to believe that it only goes downhill from there - the stench, the filthy floor (think about it!), nowhere to hang your clothes, no toilet paper, no running water (no flushing, no hand-washing), etc. It is just not a pleasant experience at all. 

When we would camp or go out bush in Australia, "long drop" toilets were always available and, although I didn't think so at the time, those long drops now seem very luxurious! In China, squat toilets were the norm but there was usually toilet paper and running water available so using them didn't seem like such an awful hardship. The worst part about using the squat toilet in China was, because it was an incredibly cold winter, we were all dressed in three layers of clothing plus we were wearing gloves, mittens, scarves and hats. Try to manage all of that while squatting! I am not ashamed to admit that if there was a Western toilet nearby, we would always wait until it was available! 

Presenting the Thailand Squat Toilet.
As much as I hated to miss Christopher's games, there was no way I could deal with being at a baseball field for at least 8 hours in the hot sun (and drinking a lot of fluids to hydrate) and have the squat toilet as the only option for a bathroom. Call me a princess but it wasn't going to happen!

If you want to experience using a squatter, quickly plan your trip to Thailand. Just last summer, the Thai Government announced an initiative to replace the squat toilets in all public facilities with Western-style toilets. It seems that this program is necessary as the country's population is aging and will be unable to use the squatters. I don't even want to think about what the elderly or handicapped do if a Western-style toilet is not available. 

The one benefit of a squatter? From, "Killer legs. Nothing works out the thighs and butt quite like a two-minute struggle to keep your bottom from touching the edges of these beasts while you do what you have to do."
Christopher's team lost both of the games and, even worse, one of our better pitchers suffered what might be a season ending injury. I think the final diagnosis was that he broke his eye socket and can't play for three weeks. Since the tournament in Singapore is now just about a week away, it doesn't look very promising. 

Kevin left this morning for Japan and he will return Friday evening. I know he wasn't happy about having to leave us again so soon after he returned from the U.S. but duty called. Next week we will be traveling to Singapore but at least that is a family trip so it won't be too bad. 

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Floral Design Class No. 3

I had my third floral design class on Thursday.  When the instructor sketched out the design for us, all I could think of was "weebles wobble but they don't fall down". 
We began by fitting a block of florist foam into our bowls. I had to carefully carve off some of the block so it would fit in the bowl - it was very important that it be tightly fitted in the bowl.Then we arranged three sturdy sticks and poked into the foam. 
We added another block of florist foam (for the "second story") on top of the sticks. We shaped the edges so the block looked (somewhat) like a ball. 
Like last week, we used shiny gardenia leaves and a "crinkly" leafed green (it looked like parsley) to cover the florist foam and add some interest & texture on the bottom.
We added the gardenia leaves on the top as well but didn't cluster them as tightly. Three seed pods from water lotus flowers were placed and served as the focal point of the arrangement.
For color and shape, we added these bright yellow flowers. Mums? Daisies?
A close up.
Pale green orchids provided filler between the seed pods and the yellow flowers.
I I don't know what these dangly red "flowers" are called but they added a nice finishing touch to the arrangement. They were very soft, almost velvety, and hung like bunches of grapes from a very strong vine. 
My arrangement displayed at home...
I will be honest...I was a little disappointed when I first saw the selection of flowers Tipwan bought for us to work with and then again when she sketched out the design for our lesson.  I don't know what kind of design I hoped we would learn to make but the combination of the flowers and the "weebles" sketch really didn't inspire me to create a masterpiece. However, as we moved through the lesson, I could see it all coming together and ended up really liking the arrangement I brought home. It is certainly a different kind of design and much easier to make than it looks. I forgot to water it over the weekend and the flowers on the second story are now dead. I am going to recycle the rest of the arrangement with whatever flowers & greenery I can find at the florist near Nichada and in our yard. I was in a very nice hotel downtown this morning and took a few photos of the floral arrangements in the lobby for inspiration. 

Have a great Monday!