Thursday, September 29, 2011

Typhoon Signal 8

Yesterday we were at a Typhoon Signal 1. We were taking silly photos in front of a sign before we all went swimming. The weather was quite warm, if a bit breezy.
Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Later in the evening, a friend of mine in Hong Kong sent me a text to say they were at a Typhoon Signal 3, so while Michael and the boys were snuggled on the couch watching a DVD before bed, I caught a bus to the market to stock up on groceries. Just as I was waiting for the bus home, the rain started to pour. The SMG weather website said Macau was expected to hit a Signal 3 in the night. Around 3 a.m. I heard the whine of the wind and the pelting of rain on the window, checked the SMG app on my phone, and sure enough, we were at a Signal 3.

My husband is deaf in one ear, so he was sleeping through the wild storm. But my kids were wide awake, huddled on the lower bunk, screaming at the frightening sounds. We've been at a Signal 3 before, so I reminded them that our building is made of concrete and steel and we will be safe. The noise of the storm kept me awake until 8:00 a.m. when it started sounding like we were in a perpetual earthquake. The ground wasn't shaking, but our windows sure were! I checked the weather again, and found we were finally experiencing a Typhoon Signal 8!

If you read my post back in July, you know that there are five levels of Typhoon Signals: 1, 3, 8, 9, and 10. After experiencing a 3 in July, I said I never wanted to go through an 8. Now that we've gone through an 8, I really hope we never experience a 9 or 10!

We're right along the edge of the sea, so we get battered a bit more than the people living inland. At it's strongest, the waves were actually cresting over the sea wall, onto the sidewalk at the bus stop below our bedroom window. Crazy!

The waves were crashing over the sea wall, onto the sidewalk at the bus stop.
Normally we don't even see the little whitecaps, it's generally smooth and glassy with small swells.
Look at all that trash that washed up out of the sea!

When they hoist the Signal 8, they close all the schools, most businesses (including Michael's theater), and the bridges that connect Taipa and the Macau Peninsula. I've never seen the bridges empty, not even at 3:00 a.m., so it's an eerie sight to be sure!
Empty bridge. It's still empty, hours later. There are no boats or ships out today either.
Ferry service to Hong Kong has been suspended, and all the sea vessels have pulled into a safe harbor.

Through two of the buildings that make up our complex, you can see the entrance to the bridge closest to us, and we caught sight of the police "barricade" stopping the traffic. I want to believe that no one would go out in this weather, but people are crazy. With gusts as high as 110 mph, I wouldn't want my car to get swept off the bridge into the sea. Yikes.

We're also having a Yellow Storm Surge warning, which means low lying areas are experiencing flooding up to half a meter deep. So glad I went to the grocery last night, and we're in a high rise building! The children are thrilled with the storm (now that it's daytime and not the scary middle-of-the-night) since it means we're all tucked up in the house and have nothing to do but spend time with each other. I guess that's not such a bad thing, right? It is very odd to see such dark skies at one o'clock in the afternoon though.

There is another storm on it's way which will hit the Philippines early Sunday morning, then make it's way west toward us by Monday afternoon. I'm guessing the grocery store shelves will be even more empty than they normally are!

The storm hitting us right now is Nesat. The next one on the way is Nalgae. Information here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Michael is working crazy/nutty/insane hours. Long hours for him are nothing new, but right now I fear he's on a quick path to burning out. I smell smoke. This week (and last week and I think the week before) he only had one day off. This week his day off was Wednesday. So what did we do?

We went to Disneyland of course!

It was a quick day trip and we managed to fit in everything there is to do at Disneyland. The school year has begun in Hong Kong and the park was empty. No waiting for Space Mountain? More please! On top of that, the weather was amazing. There is an undertone of autumn in the breeze, but I'd say it feels just like summer in our old beach community in Southern California instead of the sticky, humid, heat we've experienced since hitting the ground here in Macau.

I took photos throughout the day on one of my favorite iPhone apps, Instagram. Here's our day, Insta-style.

Waiting to board...

...with my favorite fella.

Driving for the first time in 10+ weeks.
Yes, it was the Autopia.
Yes, my eight-year-old was steering.
But I was pressing the gas pedal and that counts as driving in my book.

Festival of the Lion King. Front row.
This show is still tight after six years. Kudos, cast and crew!

Hong Kong Disneyland turned six years old on September 12, 2011.
But they still have the big five there to celebrate their fifth year.
I can't blame them for not taking it down. So pretty!

I am a major (major!) fan of Alice in Wonderland.
Guests who have been to my house and seen my extensive collection of Alice stuff can attest to this.
There is no Alice ride at Hong Kong Disneyland.
But there is a Tea Cup ride.
I'm cool with that.

Taking the MTR train back to the China Ferry Terminal.
Someone spent all his allowance on an oversized Stitch.
Someone else spent all his allowance on a smallish Mickey Mouse.
But he wouldn't be caught dead giving it a snuggle it on the train. No way.
Mickey rides in the backpack.

Once again we caught the very last ferry from Hong Kong home to Macau.
Due to high winds on the sea, the one hour ferry trip was an hour and a half.
Kids in bed at midnight.
Kids were cranky today.
But not yesterday.
No one is allowed to be cranky at Disneyland.
And everyone followed that rule perfectly.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Today marks the birthday of Jennifer, Michael's amazing assistant. Since it falls on a Monday and she's off on Sundays, the boys and I conspired to go into work with Michael on Sunday afternoon and decorate her desk while Michael ran from meeting to meeting.

And when I say decorate, I mean make it look like a party supply store exploded on her work station.

To say she was surprised when she came into work this morning would be a huge understatement. She told Michael she never thought anyone would surprise her like this, not as long as she lived. She sent me an email this afternoon saying that no one has ever done anything like this for her in her entire life and can't believe we would celebrate her in this manner. 

I say there is no way I cannot celebrate her in this manner. After all, she took the boys and I to the hospital with one kid barfing along the way, found us the store where we could get a new Wii power supply after Michael blew ours up, printed out directions to a Mexican restaurant (can't live without Mexican food!), always answers the phone when I call seeking translation for the angry words spewing out of the washing machine repairman's mouth, and keeps my boys' artwork up on her bulletin board all the time. And that's just what she does for me. I could go on and on about what she does for Michael, but the honest truth is that Michael couldn't do what he does without her there keeping all the loose ends tied up and everything and everyone on schedule. She is an asset to not only the technical department, but to the entire company.

So buying every decoration I could find in Macau over the past month and spending a few hours hanging streamers, blowing up balloons, and drawing birthday greetings was the absolute least that Nathan, Benjamin, and I could do. I just wish I could have figured out how to get a permit to have a parade in her honor going down the Cotai Strip. There's always next year!

Happy Birthday Jennifer!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I used to be a really heavy Coca-Cola drinker. It was my beverage of choice morning, noon, and night. And then two years ago I found out I had an ulcer. Coke does terrible things to your gut, and my doctor told me to cut it out completely while taking ulcer meds. After 90 days of water only, I decided to go a full year sans soft drinks. When the 12 month mark came and went, I shrugged and decided to just live without it. I didn't miss the taste of Coke, but I certainly missed the carbonation. I'm a girl who likes a little fizz in her life.

Coke is plentiful all over the world, and always a safe choice when you need to be careful with the local tap water. If you don't go the cola route, you can always order a liter bottle of chilled water with your meal. But with all the water I'm drinking just to combat the heat and humidity, I gotta say it's the last thing I want to drink by choice! So what's a girl to do when she's absolutely sick and tired of drinking plain still water with every meal?

Drink sparkling instead! On the right is a German brand, but I'm mainly pounding back the Perrier when I go out. I'm also drinking Soda Water like it's going out of style, which is available at just about every restaurant and certainly every bar. Price-wise, both soda water and all sparkling water (Perrier included) are far less expensive than what you'd pay in the United States, and far less expensive than what you'd pay for a Coke here. Win-win.

If I'm craving something sweet, then I grab one of these. They also come in a Feijoa flavor (also called pineapple guava or guavasteen) which is more tart than sweet but perfect on a hot and humid day.

The markets here are filled with all sorts of interesting beverages. I try to pick up a few each week so we can all try something new together. Of course, Fanta isn't new at all, but my boys have never had soda other than the root beer in root beer floats, so they were begging me to try it. They hated it! (Good!) The bottles of Sumol that flank the Fanta are from Portugal. And oh my goodness, I think I drank the entire bottle of pineapple in one sitting! They have actual juice (with pulp) in them and then sweetened carbonated water. A friend from the UK came over for dinner and tasted the orange flavor and proclaimed it to be very similar to Orangina, one of her favorite beverages from back home. I thought it tasted like church reception punch from back in the States - just add sherbet! Once again, it's incredibly cheap when you compare it to the price of Coke here. But my husband won't drink it at all... read on to find out why!

My husband simply cannot have breakfast without his orange juice. And he suffers from a terrible  affliction that all Chases seem to have, they cannot abide even the tiniest bit of pulp in their OJ or lemonade (or Sumol!). This sad sickness has been passed on to my children, but doesn't affect me. I married into the family and don't have the same genes!

Fortunately for my husband, you can actually get his precious pulp-free juice here, so he doesn't have to resort to straining it. However, you do pay a premium for the pulp removal. See those other containers of juice? I pick these and others up from the Portuguese market. You can get five or six of them for the price of one pulp-free OJ from the U.S. of A. I may resort to straining the Portuguese OJ to save cash. Maybe.

And then there is milk. I'm pretty much dairy free (yes, you can get rice milk, almond milk, and soy milk here for a reasonable price) but my oldest son loves milk like a bear loves honey, and goes through a ridiculous amount very quickly. I have to cut him off and make him drink water. My youngest son doesn't care for it (he'll eat his cereal dry or make oatmeal) and Michael will have it on his cereal. You can get fresh milk here, but you cannot get it in a gallon. And since we're a fifteen minute walk from the grocery, which doesn't always carry fresh milk, or fresh milk that isn't going to expire within 24 hours, we've taken to buying boxed milk which stores on the shelf and can be popped in the fridge when you want to open it. I obviously haven't tasted it but Michael and Nathan seem to like it.

There are plenty of choices in the still (non-carbonated) water department. The number of brands is astounding. But there are two types of bottled water: distilled and mineral.

Distilled water is made by boiling water and then collecting the steam build up. When I was growing up, we bought distilled water to use in the iron, not to drink. But it is plentiful and popular in parts of the world that doesn't have a good, clean water supply or in places like Macau that don't have saltwater treatment plants. I remember drinking a lot of distilled water in Hong Kong and reading a newspaper article that said distilled water is better for you because mineral water causes kidney stones and other health problems. A week later followed an article saying distilled water will suck all the minerals out of your body and put you at risk for osteoporosis and should be avoided! The water delivered to us which we drink and cook with is distilled water. When we go out, we get mineral water. My personal, unprofessional opinion is that drinking any type of water is better for your body than drinking Coca Cola!

Mineral water is either water collected from the source that contains trace calcium and magnesium (think Evian), or purified water that has had those things added. You can see the green bottle on the left is "Mineralized Water" which means it starts as the water in the bottle on the right, but they add calcium, magnesium, electrolytes, and bicarbonates to mimic the content of the natural mineral water. After drinking so much distilled water, I can very clearly taste the difference in the two types of water.

If you are reading this in either Southern California or the San Francisco Bay area (or anywhere with a lot of Asian markets), you are surely familiar with the Japanese mini bottles of Yakult. It's a dairy-based probiotic beverage that I think has a slightly citrusy taste. It contains beneficial bacteria to help with digestion. I take probiotics with active cultures via a daily pill, but the men in my life get plenty of yogurt with active cultures and Yakult for the kids. It has a higher sugar content than I would like them to consume, but they don't drink juice or soda, so I still think they come out ahead, nutrition-wise.

My husband also used to be a big Coke drinker ten years ago. He gave it up on a business trip to Japan, switched to ice tea, and promptly dropped over 15 pounds (when I gave up Coke the only thing I lost was my gallbladder!). While we were living in Japan, he became very fond of Oolong Cha (tea). Whenever I found Oolong bags in the market in Los Angeles, I'd make him iced tea. Here you can buy it already made in a bottle.

You can also get iced lemon tea in a can, seen on the left. There's an iced peach tea in a can that I'll drink every now and then. It's nothing like the syrupy sweet lemon or peach tea in the U.S. On the right, there's a can of iced milk tea. Michael accidentally bought it thinking it was his other favorite beverage in a can, iced coffee. He will never make that mistake again! I pointed out to him that coffee is made with beans, tea with leaves. Even if you can't read the writing on the can, you can tell what it contains by the picture! Needless to say, he thought it was disgusting, though it's a popular beverage here.

And finally, Michael's favorite: iced coffee in a can. He first started drinking this in Japan where you can get it in the train stations hot in winter and cold in summer. I'm not a coffee drinker, so sometimes if he makes a whole pot it goes to waste before he finishes it. This is a good alternative to grab on the run, and nice to drink icy cold in the heat! It comes in several flavors. Yes, you can get those little glass bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino, but you can get six of these cans for the price of one Starbucks bottle.

And now that I've finally finished this incredibly long post, I'm gonna go grab a drink!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea. 
~Isak Dinesen

I have always lived within an hour of some large body of water, be it ocean, sea, or lake. Most of the time it has been within 10 minutes or just a quick look out the window.  In times of stress, I'm drawn to the water, which calms and soothes me like nothing else.

Since moving to Macau I've found myself mainly calm and relaxed, despite being presented with a dozen very stressful situations on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure the fact that we live on a tiny island with the view above has everything to do with that.

The weather is cooling. The humidity is dropping. My clothes aren't soaked in sweat after every outing. Maybe just every other outing. A new season approaches.

Friday, September 16, 2011

You know you're in China when...

...this is the view from your dining room window:

If you've ever visited the blog There I Fixed It featuring "redneck repairs," then you've seen this kind of thing. But it's generally a guy hanging from his second story over-the-garage add-on, not twelve stories above a concrete courtyard. This crazy fellow has a rope tied tied to his belt which is attached to the window frame support arm. If he fell, he'd just take the window down with him.

The boys were the ones who saw him first, when he was simply standing on the metal bracket that holds the A/C unit to the wall, without the A/C unit there. I called the boys away really fast because the last thing I want their innocent eyes to witness is a man plunging to his death! Later I checked back and saw he'd somehow lowered the A/C unit onto the metal bracket and was now standing on it, hammering a hole through the exterior of the building so he could pull a hose through and connect it to the A/C unit on the bracket. And still later, I checked the concrete below and could see no crater or splat mark, so evidently he lived to see another day.

I posted this on my Facebook page and watched the comments roll in. The most common one was "I guess there's no OSHA in Macau." No my friends, there is not. And the crazy thing is, this is a common sight. I've seen things that would make Mike Rowe shudder. Some lunatic is always hanging from some precarious perch, doing something dangerous here. This was just the first time I stopped to take a photo.

Perhaps in lieu of a series of funny sign photos, I'll give you an acts of death defiance photo series.

Here's something the boys and I just saw walking home from the market:

Sure, it isn't nearly as death defying as a man on an A/C twelve stories above ground, but even my eight year old recognized that a back hoe straddling a ditch at an angle is an accident waiting to happen.

Oh Macau, I love you. You're crazy. Just don't kill anyone, please.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

House of Dancing Water 水舞間

On our third night in Macau, Michael took us to see his show, House of Dancing Water. The boys and I were overwhelmed by everything being thrown at us in our first week here, and the show was one more bright and colorful experience that left me open-mouthed and filled with wonder in a week of many things that gave me the same response. Here we are, in all our jet-lagged glory, sitting in the VIP section where we were given beverages of our choice, trays of elegant chocolates, and signature bottles of water.
Sweet seats!

Michael has waited patiently for a post about the show, asking every few days if I planned to write about it. Considering the show is the reason we are here, I knew it had to be a good post, not just something I threw together. I started one, but discovered holes in my memory. Michael would come home from work and mention a particular aspect of the show, and I would have no recollection of it whatsoever.

I asked if we might see it once again, to refresh my memory and give me some specifics to write about rather than just general impressions. Michael obliged, and the boys and I were treated to a second viewing of the show last week.

First, a little background. The creative genius behind the production is Franco Dragone. Franco was born in Italy and raised in Belgium. He was one of the creators of Cirque du Soleil and from 1985 through 1999 directed almost every single one Cirque's shows and was highly influential in building up the brand and making it what it is today. Cirque shows are a highly unique blend of live theater and circus performance, but without animals. They involve crazy acrobatics, distinctive costumes and make up, amazing music, and incredible technical features. They have a few touring productions and several shows with permanent houses such as seven in Las Vegas (I've seen 4 out of the 7, including one of them twice), La Nouba in Orlando, Florida (saw it several years ago), and even one here in Macau, Zaia (which I'll see soon).

In the year 2000, Franco left Cirque to form his own company, Dragone. He created Celine Dion's show, A New Day at Caesar's Palace, and Le Rêve at the Wynn Resort, both in Las Vegas. The "stage" at Le Rêve is actually a pool that uses over a million gallons of water and all the performers are scuba certified. I wanted to hop on a quick flight to Vegas before we moved here so I could see it, but ran out of time. Which is fine, because I got to see House of Dancing Water which is even more of a spectacle!

House of Dancing Water is located on the Cotai Strip, south of Taipa. It's part of City of Dreams, a mega-sized property that includes three hotels (Hard Rock Hotel, Crown Towers Hotel, and the Grand Hyatt Macau), 200 luxury shops, 20 restaurants and bars, and of course 420,000 square feet of gaming space right in the center.

The Dancing Water Theater was specially designed by Pei Partnership Architects, sons of I.M. Pei who designed the Macao Science Center. It's a beautiful space that seats 2,000 audience members in a 270 degree theater-in-the-round. Once again, the stage is water - a pool filled with a staggering 3.7 million gallons of water! That's the equivalent of 5 Olympic-sized pools. There is an actual perforated stage floor that allows for a solid surface for several parts of the show, which quickly submerges to allow for the breath-taking high dive acts. The show took five years to develop, at a cost of over $250 million USD.

As for the show itself: Wow! I confess I was really worried the night I saw it the first time. After all, we've disrupted our happy little California life to move the family halfway around the world for this show. What if I saw it and thought it was horrible? What if the kids were bored and hated it? My fears were unfounded. The word that best describes it is spectacle. During creation, the creative team worked to infuse the show with as many Chinese themes as possible. The show starts off in a modern day Chinese city, which looks like it could be Hong Kong or Shanghai with a little Macau in there as well, and quickly takes us back to the ancient past.

You get a great indication of how huge the pool is right from the very beginning when an enormous ship rises out of the water. Performers jump from the yardarms into the water, and everyone in the first few rows is at risk for getting soaked!

Quickly following is an act that takes place high overhead, with aerialists hanging from a huge chandelier, dancing about and dangling with grace and without fear, as if they were doing this on the ground and not 40+ feet in the air without safety harnesses.

A real crowdpleaser is the group of African acrobats who are incredibly lithe and light on their feet despite their incredibly bulky muscles. They appear throughout the show, and every time I see them I wonder if they've somehow beat gravity. They seem to leap and stay in the air longer than humanly possible.

At the heart of the House of Dancing Water is a love story between a man from the West who discovers a beautiful Chinese princess, imprisoned in a cage by what one can guess is an evil stepmother queen, who commands a bevy of beautiful yet evil women who like to capture men and force them into doing crazy things, like hanging from straps while they fly high above the audience and show off their incredible abs, pecs, and biceps.

Of course it's up to the guy from the West with his flowing blond hair to rescue the poor princess. Part of this rescue inexplicably involves flipping through the air on motorcycles! This part of the show I watched peeking out from behind my hands, ever fearful that a member of the moto act was going to meet his demise, followed by all the rest crashing into him. My one and only thought during this part of the show was where are their mothers and why are they not here to stop these crazy boys from trying to kill themselves!

When all seems lost and we fear the two love birds will never be together, we find out that the beautiful Chinese princess actually has power over the water, and can make it dance at her will (thus the title House of Dancing Water), and put the evil stepmother in her place in a rather comedic way. Someone told me the show is very loosely based on the history of Macau, and if so, we can assume that the princess is based on the story of A-Ma, goddess of the sea who legend says has the power to stop (or start) storms. In the end, love prevails, and our hero and the beautiful princess live happily ever after, riding a motorcycle into the sky with a troop of acrobats, high divers, and a contortionist.

House of Dancing Water is a lavish spectacle that assaults your eyes and ears, leaving you short of breath and with your heart pounding. Originally I thought it would be more like a Cirque show, heavy on circus-type acts with lots of fantasy. It certainly has the amazing death-defying and awe-inspiring  acts, but it was less obscure and more solid than I was expecting. It reminded me of a very extreme ballet, where the story is told through movement and expression, with a sprinkling of the bright colors and drama of a Cantonese opera (but less painful on the ears!). The storyline is quite thin, but the show never bores. There are a few parts that made wonder what they were thinking (the curtain call for instance - it is a completely different tone and style than the entire rest of the show!), but for the most part, I loved it.

The show celebrates its first anniversary this weekend, and almost every single show sells out. Ticket prices range from 1380MOP ($173 USD) for the VIP seats, down to 480MOP ($60 USD) for the least expensive seats in the "wet zone." The second time we saw it, my two boys sat in the wet zone in the front row. They got totally soaked, while I stayed further up and completely dry. They loved seeing it from that perspective, and are very sad that they can't see the show every single night. I'm a pretty proud parent that we raised two children who are excellent audience members that can be trusted to sit in the front row and behave perfectly without parental supervision! Some kids in other families get to play sports and grow up watching football. Our kids get to see a lot of shows and spend hours backstage learning about automation and sound systems. And what a show to learn about! Lucky kids!

Here's the slightly cheesy, one minute promotional video for the show. Even this might take your breath away!

(Email subscribers, please click through to the site to watch the video)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today I spent the morning with a group of people from all over the world. I wasn't the only American there, but I was definitely the minority. I was grateful that everyone acknowledged 9/11 and recognized that though the attacks happened on U.S. soil, the ripples were felt around the world and are still being felt today.

I've written elsewhere about my personal 9/11 experience, but on this day, the 10th anniversary of that horrible morning, I wanted to reflect on one specific thing.

I am, by nature, a worrier. Worry is defined as giving way to anxiety or unease; allowing one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. I think when you become a parent, particularly a mother, worry becomes like an appendage. It's always there. As your child grows, you find brand new things to worry about.  I am blessed with a wild and vivid imagination. This tends to make the worrying worse, because I can invent in my head never-before-worried-about things that need my anxious attention.

However, thanks to 9/11, I can say I am not a fearful person. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. The events of 9/11 were perfectly poised to fill people with fear. And many withdrew and changed their lives in reaction to that fearfulness. There were threats, both real and imagined, popping up all over the place. The terror was never ending. Safety seemed out of reach. And worrier that I am, I could have easily become a very fearful person, letting that be the guide for how to live my life. But I have a stubborn streak in me, and I don't like anyone telling me what to do. Not even terrorists. So I made a very firm, conscious, defiant decision to put my foot down and not allow fear to make any decisions for me.

There is a great quote attributed to Mark Twain that I scribbled on page one of the first Moleskine notebook I ever bought: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

I don't think I can take that wonderful advice to heart if I live in fear, clinging to an illusion of safety that can dissipate in an instant with a fiery crash on a Tuesday morning. I know it's only been ten years, but I can proudly say I've suffered no disappointment in my choices, wondering what might have been. I took the path less travelled, even though it frequently looked dark and scary. I have no regrets, though I do live a life that gives pause to several of my friends and family members.

As I sit writing this, my gaze is constantly pulled to my view across the border into the People's Republic of China. Today's headlines in the US tell us that the rise of power in China is something to be wary of, if not downright feared. And sure, that reaction does worry me a little.

But my stance is stronger than ever on this 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001: I will not make space in my life for fear.

I sincerely hope that you feel the same.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Our old home by Nathan, age 10:

Our new home by Benjamin, age 8:

One of the things I made sure we shipped to our new home was an old second-hand globe. I picked it up at a party where people brought stuff they no longer wanted, to trade for other stuff people no longer wanted. I was there to hang out with friends, not to bring stuff home. I didn't want anything until I saw the globe, and I just knew I had to give it a good home. I love the muted colors and the textured surface.

It has to be nearly 40 years old based on some of the countries that have since changed names or borders (Zimbabwe is still Rhodesia, Thailand also has Siam in parenthesis). This is perhaps less than useful, but I'm hanging onto it because there is the teeniest-tiniest dot labelled Macau in the appropriate spot. It's good to be able to find yourself in this big wide world.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Live to Write

There's a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin that goes, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Right now I'm smack in the middle of the doing part. And as such, I'm very short on the writing part. So much to tell you if I could just get a free moment to get it all down. Soon my friends, very soon.

In the meantime, I leave you with this image I took on my iPhone to commemorate the end of summer vacation:

I didn't bring our electric pencil sharpener as it would be useless with the 220 volt electricity here. And though I've looked for an electric pencil sharpener here in Macau, I've not found one yet. But these beautiful Carl Angel-5 pencil sharpeners are everywhere. I picked one up quite cheaply, maybe a couple U.S. bucks at the most. The design hasn't really changed at all since 1960. I was curious about where they are made and when researching, I found in the United States they run about $30 US Dollars, with some having a price tag in the $80 range! I love mine. There is something so relaxing about sharpening a box of pencils by hand... Something that must be done frequently with all the little writers and artists around here! Happy September!

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