Showing posts from September, 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.

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.…


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.


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 …


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 pla…


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.

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 br…

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.

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 sp…


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.



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.

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 h…