Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thom Kha GOONG

While in Phuket, which by the way is pronounced poo-ket (for those of you who want to pronounce it using English phonetics - - don’t say it out loud you will come up with a pronunciation that shouldn’t be used in public) we found this wonderful restaurant called Subai Subai. The English translation is Happy Happy. In my opinion, it was the best Thai food on the entire trip.

It was a little hole in the wall place in an alley. The cute little waitress was a pistol. In my pathetic Thai I asked for Thom Kha Goong, which is a delectable soup made with coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, mushrooms, and prawns.

The waitress kept repeating that the soup was pronounced Tom Kah GOOOONG... I neglected to ask for the soup “mai phet” which means “not so spicy”. Note all the little flecks of red in the picture of the soup...

The result was this:

Note to self: To avoid the oh so unattractive look of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, remember to say “mai phet” when ordering your Thom Kha GOOOONG.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Elephants of Maesa Elephant Camp

As we were driving up to the elephant camp, I searched back through my memory banks of what my preconceived notions were about elephants. Some of those emanated from a lack of knowledge, and others can just be attributed to stereotyping. Being around them completely changed all of that for me.

These are some of the most interesting, intelligent and sweetest creatures God put on this earth. This is a picture of Duanpen. She was a matriarchal elephant in the group. Look at her sweet eyes, cheerful demeanor, and happy little smile!

Elephants rank high in the world’s most intelligent species. They have behaviors that are not typical in animals such as grief, mimicry, sense of humor, art, memory, and language skills. The skill I saw demonstrated at the camp was art. Yes, elephants do paint! This is a picture of Wanpen painting. He was right in front of us, and had I not seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Elephants are a highly social animal. They love playing together and being part of a community. The mahouts (elephant caretakers) ride the elephants down to the river and they bathe them. The elephants seemed to really enjoy being scrubbed and would lay right down in the river. It was amazing being so close to these massive animals and to see how they live.

They are closest to human in terms of learning. Humans are born with 28% of the adult weight of their brain. This means that the other 72% will grow with them over time. Elephants are born with 35%, the closest percentage to humans across all the of the known species on the planet. Most animals are born with 90% of the adult weight of their brain. This means that those animals born with 90% of their brain mass are born with instinct and little ability to learn. This indicates that elephants have the highest amount of learning to undergo next to humans and behavior is not mere instinct but must be taught throughout life.

These certainly were amazing animals!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

All Things Tinkerbell

Last night/this morning has been All Things Tinkerbell here at the humble hacienda. Yes, folks, that's right... Maycie Jean... Here we have Maycie in her new Tinkerbell jammies:

And then our Tinkerbell slippers, complete with dingy balls...

And of course our very own Tinkerbell pose....

We spent the evening playing with Maycie's new Tinkerbell doll, flying her all over the living room, kitchen, bathroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom.

We collapsed in a forest of pixie dust and woke this morning before the sun rose ready to start our Tinkerbell day all over again.

How perfect of a day for this Grandma and her little Tinkerbell...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holy Hill Tribe!

I will be posting over the next several weeks some of my experiences while over in Thailand. When people asked about my vacation, I answered that it really wasn’t a vacation ~ it was an adventure. And that it was.

Part of the purpose of the trip was to buy Hill Tribe silver ~ direct. Some who follow my blog are jewelry designers as well, and we all know about Hill Tribe silver. It is 99.9% pure silver, where sterling silver is 92.5% silver with other alloys added for strength. This is a picture of some various Hill Tribe Beads.

Hill Tribe silver is produced by the Karen Hill Tribes just out of Chiang Mai, Thailand. We had the amazing opportunity of meeting with Niki Passenier, who graciously invited us to her home, fed us a lovely lunch, and we shopped through her silver stock. She deals directly with the people of the Karen Hill Tribes. Her silver is so beautiful and unique.

We also went to several retail shops in Chiang Mai and purchased some beautiful silver. This is Marika and I at one of the shops. All of those clear plastic boxes in the background are boxes of Hill Tribe silver beads. Cue the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire song …. “Heaven, I’m in heaven. And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak….”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thirty Years Later

Well, I hate to admit it ~ but yes, it was 30 years ago that I was a Verdugo Hills Don. What is a Don? Even in high school I wondered what a "Don" was. I still don't have an answer to that question 30 years later. I wonder if anyone knows what a Don is... anyway...

My reunion was a great experience! I saw so many people that I haven't seen in years! I found the perfect little black dress ~ however I think I was showing more cleavage than I wanted, and it was a constant adjustment...but oh well. It was nice to spend time with old friends! This is a picture of my friends Roger Wallace and Danny Gaylord. They were some of my best buddies in school.
This is me and Linda Strandquist. We have been friends since elementary school. We both went to Sunland Neighborhood Church together. Linda recently reminded me of an incident at church when I punched her in the mouth because she was being mean to me. I guess that is what you do when you are in 5th grade and are frustrated. Ummmm I am so glad that I grew up!