what day is it again?

I had to check the calendar to discover today was the second day of the new year already. My mind does a double calculation every day where I try to be simultaneously aware of what day it is in Thailand and what day it is in the U.S. The effect feels a bit like I’m living in two different worlds. It makes me wonder if I should just let go more and live not only in the present but in this space more thoroughly.

I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts doing a recap of 2010, favorite posts and favorite photos. I’m a little late to jump on the wagon, but I’ll do it anyway. It’s good to look back and take a deep breath over all that happened in the last year. (Plus it turns out it works for this week’s You Capture challenge. Win-win.) Surviving 2010 was a bit like training in karate where the fighter must practice delicate and powerful moves on the tips of bamboo poles jutting from water far below, every move requiring precision, timing, and intense concentration. Every move could mean a perilous fall. And sometimes I did fall.

But when I look back at my photo history of 2010, I remember the times I landed.

2010 was the year I really developed my style in food photography.

It was the year I dared to dream of something big.

It started with a reading challenge, that lead to a book, that lead to an idea…that lead to a major life change.

Meanwhile, I pushed myself further than I thought I could dare go, in new ways I hadn’t previously imagined.

Sometimes I lost focus, sometimes I lost my way. Sometimes I broke.

But it was a wild ride.

And along the way, there was love. So much love.

These are my ten favorites, and one to grow on.

Happy New Year. I hope 2011 brings many blessings to you and yours!


*            *           *            *             *

P.S. It looks like I might have spoken too soon about the puppies. The mama dog apparently was more frightened than relieved by the new food source and scuttled her babies off somewhere else. I can’t find them. It surprises me because she always had this beleaguered expression suggesting the burden of children was too much for her because all she could bring to feed them was pilfered trash (including a diaper…bleah.) So I’ve lost the puppies and am left with a huge pile of love just waiting for a fur baby to find its way into. Maybe I can add that to my list of aspirations for 2011.

UPDATE: Click here for the latest development in the puppy situation. I promise cuteness is involved.

you capture – lights

I had originally planned this post for last week’s You Capture, but then my internet decided a 2-day hiatus was necessary, so that was fun. But turns out what I had planned for “outside” also works for “lights” and potentially even “holiday magic”. I know the point of You Capture is to get you out every week. But in case you were afraid I haven’t been busy taking enough photos…please see the rest of my blog.

“Holiday magic” is a little bit of a stretch though because, while Thailand has been in the throes of their own holiday season, it’s not really Christmas here. Occasionally you’ll see a pink aluminum Christmas tree or a sign that says “Happy C’mas!”, but the Thais have pretty much moved on to the next course: New Years. Although, for them, the Thai New Year is in April. Also, this year is not going to be 2011 for them. It will be 2554. Because they’re on a totally different calendar. (Or we’re hailing from the future. One of the two.) Their calendar begins, not with the birth of Christ, but with the achievement of nirvana/death of Buddha, which occurred approximately 543 years before the son of Mary arrived. Nevertheless, Thais are not the type to pooh-pooh any reason to have a good time, so they celebrate the Gregorian New Year too.

So we scouted out some holiday activities, and found pretty lights.

Ok, well first we found Totoro. If you don’t know Totoro, you need to beef up on your anime.

Then we found lights. That spell “nap” for some reason. Hey, I guess we all need a good one from time to time.

And because everybody needs a Che Guevara monkey…

As for us, we’ll celebrate a little Christmas together. We don’t have a tree, but we do have a string of lights strung up above our fireplace (that conveniently has an electrical cord running through it, ‘cuz that’s a good idea…).

And we’ll open our gifts up on Christmas Eve, Norwegian/German style. We’re multicultural that way. It’ll be cozy. I’m hoping to talk my mom into skyping us Christmas Eve California time and just setting up the laptop in the living room so we can watch everyone else open up their gifts.

Happy Holidays!

P.S. If you requested postcard love, I think they should be arriving soon. Or four months from now. You never know with international mail.


you capture – sweet

Last week I showed you around the inside of our new home. This week, I’ll show you our garden. I’ve never taken such an interest in gardening before. It occurs to me it may be because I’ve never had a garden full of such sweet spots to savour.

Sweet spots like our little fountain.

And these little sweet pretties

…growing on vines along this sweet little arch.

The flowers dot our pathways.

Here are my little toes, fresh from a pedicure (which I got along with a manicure and a haircut – with tips for two people: $10). Pretty friggin’ sweet, eh?

But I digress.

The last sweet spot is the patio on the side of our house, perfect for afternoon tea. I love the vintage street lamps!

I awake in the mornings, around 7 a.m., and my morning routine involves opening all the doors, sweeping the house, and then coming out to water the garden. Then I go for a morning walk, come home, and take a shower. All fresh and clean, I sit down to a bit of passion.

Passion fruit, that is. If you’ve never had passion fruit before, I can’t even begin to describe how it tastes. Sweet, silky, and ethereal. This be the fruit that angels would eat.

A spoonful of passion and a sweet tiny orange. This is my morning breakfast.

Find more sweets at Beth’s!


you capture – this i ate

Well I had plans to share all the amazing street food in Thailand, but since You Capture is posting early this week, the only photos I have are of the breakfast and lunch we had at my cousin’s house today.

Fruit at breakfast. Yes, in Thailand ripe oranges are green. That’s Asia for you.

Green mango with a salt-sugar-spice dip – my favorite! But the bumpy fruit with white flesh (called noy nah, or sugar apple) is Toby’s favorite.

Yummy sweet breads filled with meat.

And instant noodles for lunch.

Retort pouch? I gave it my wittiest, but nothing happened. {I love Engrish.}

You know you’re in a country that thrives on instant noodles when this is a kitchen fixture:

Ready-boiled water. Hot water at all times for all your soup needs.

So, that’s all I’ve got for now. Never fear though! Plenty more to share soon enough!


you capture – inspiration

Last week, Beth asked us what inspires us. For me, without a doubt, the answer is relationships.

Our relations with others: how we see others, how we treat them, how we act because of them…

Even our relationship with ourselves: identity, culture, spirituality.
Love, or hate.

I am fascinated by all these things. In my own life, I seek to resolve problems between people and even within themselves. I often find myself in that kind of role and I love it. Part teacher, part confidante, it gives me a sense of meaning in my life. When I’m  not counseling others, I search for and rediscover my ever-changing self. When I am full of something to say, I put it into words, into food, and into comfort.

Some might call it naval-gazing and maybe it is, but I find the better rooted I am in myself, the better suited I am to help others. Therein lies the joy.

I have a little system for all of this right now, but that system is about to go into shock, for on Monday we move to Thailand. The next time I participate in You Capture, it will be from the other side of the world.

See you all on the other side.



you capture – serene

Serene is what I would love to capture, for myself.

But I think I don’t quite have it right now.

Maybe just in photographs.

But what I do have is warm and fuzzy delicious, like squishing your toes in something soft and delightful.

And that’s just fine by me.


a cauldron in the vino

Is it just me, or is it a little mind-blowing that November is upon us already? Especially because we are about 19 days away from MOVING TO THAILAND.

Big breaths.

Did you all have a good Halloween? Halloween just happens to be my mother’s birthday, and this year she just happened to turn the big 6-0 25. So we threw her a big shindig and it was AWESOME because my mom got down and danced like a dervish. She works so friggin’ hard every day, running a restaurant and running a (recalcitrant) family and it was the bees’ knees just to see her let loose and have some fun.

I took loads of Halloween pictures of the party and partyers…but since this blog is public and I don’t have, you know, permission to display everyone publicly, I’ll just have to share but one picture of a bit of party decor.

I give you: A Cauldron in the Vino
Riveting, I know.

And after the party, there’s silence.

Okay, not really. After the party, there’s clean up and getting back to business and taking care of stuff you put off and yadda yadda yadda. But Beth asked us to capture Halloween and silence and I’m trying to make some kind of coherent post out of the two.

So I give you: silence.

Actually, yeah. I could use a little more of that.



Find more of it at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

you capture – animals

My mom loves animals. She collects them.

Not real animals, mind you. Beautiful wooden or stone carved ones.

She loves real animals too. But we have no manner of luck at all with real animals. We had two bunnies. Then we had two dogs. And we no longer had two bunnies. I was eight and traumatized when I found the evidence.

We had another bunny named Daisy. A hawk found her.

But the worst of it was my dog Kiki, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, with whom I grew up. The sweetest, most patient dog in the world, who grew to be a ripe old age and then passed away. This might be considered a success story, except for the fact that Kiki’s passing was almost 10 years ago and our hearts still have not recovered.

So we have carved animals. Which is okay because you can get a lot of them really beautifully made in Thailand.


You MAY need to sit down for this.

Are you sitting?

Okay, maybe it’s just me who needs to sit down because I think I might still be in shock.

We just bought our one-way tickets to Thailand.

November 22. My hubby and I are packing our bags, getting on a plane, and MOVING to a NEW country.

Big breaths. Here goes!



I suppose I should have something witty, insightful or charming to say, but I’ve been playing the Bureaucracy Game going back and forth with the embassy (driving two hours each way) and now I’m pooped. But instead of words, I’ll show you sweet and charming faces. And hopefully they’ll make you smile like they make me smile, and you and me both can call it a day.

My brother and his baby girl

And baby girl be like: “Whatchoo takin’ pictures for?” Just like that. Gangsta style and all. You can see it in her face.
Ok maybe not. Maybe I’m just making sh*t up and really she was like “Wow cool! Is that A D300? I read about those in Wired.” Cuz she’s six and can text faster than I can.

Bet she learned it from her uncle.
You think that’s a book in his hands. Nope. It’s an iPad. With wings. erm…I mean, leather-bound cover.

And this is me, preparing my “Don’t you mess with me, Mr. Bureaucrat” face.
Which I realize comes across more like “Um…excuse me? Is this the right room? Oh the next one over. Okay….”

What can I say? I’m working on it.


you capture – in boxes

I remember when, once upon a time, after my freshman year in college, all my worldly and prized possessions fit in a measly seven boxes. I could stack them neatly in my dorm room closet, with plenty of room to spare.

Now, at the end of my academic career, I can’t even fit my scholarly books in seven boxes, let alone all the books I read for fun. And certainly not everything else I’ve accumulated over the past decade.

Looking at the boxes piling up, I begin to get a sense of my weight in this world, its growth and accumulation, how my imprint expands over time. Something to give one pause, isn’t it?

Capturing my existence, in boxes.


What did you capture this week?

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