Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving and more

My dear friend, Shelley
What a month! Long awaited weddings are now over. Friends filling my home. Joy filling my heart. 

My house stayed full all month. If it wasn't one person, it was another. What is a house for if you can't share it with others? I often wish I had a bigger house so there would be more room for people who needed to stay. I had to turn someone away because every space was taken. 

Thanksgiving allowed for more people to congregate in the house. First it was supposed to be 15 people. Family and friends and new acquaintances were invited. Cassandra worked hard to decorate the table and I worked on the menu. All was in order and then the phone rang a day before Thanksgiving. 


"Can I bring an extra person."


"No problem!"


The phone rang again in the evening. By the following morning and a couple more phone calls, we were up to 17 people. The table was set, the Turkey was being carved, and in walked the 18th person. A quick scramble to set an extra place, no one was the wiser we had an extra person show up. Oh yes, a bigger house would be nice so I could accommodate as many surprise guests as would show up.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where has the year gone?

I'm not sure where the year has gone. It is already October and the weeks and months have just zipped by. I'm used to be being busy, but this year it has been a bit busier than I ever remember. Maybe that is what has caused the days to disappear.

Fall didn't come in full force. It hid. It peeked out with a few leaves changing color. Finally, just as I thought it would never be a full fledged fall, the trees erupted in glorious shades of red, orange and brown. I blinked and Fall was over.

Now I'm heading into November and I know the next two months are going to fly by. I better hold on tight. If I blink too long, it will be January.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September Breezes

Daniel and Kailynn
September breezes blew us over to Colorado. A time to spend with family. A time to squeeze my granddaughter and hold tight to my daughter who is ready to fly off to New Zealand. A time to sit and chat about life with my daughter in law and my son. A time to enjoy my youngest daughter, admiring how much she has grown up. A time to be with family.

If I allow myself to think of saying goodbye again to my dearest Kailynn, my heart constricts. I brush away the thought only to be met by the thought of saying 'good bye' to Katrina. 

"Tell me again, why is it you want to go to New Zealand?"

"Mom, I told you...God told me to go there!"

"Yes, I know...okay...I am going to miss you."

"I know, mom."

I should be immune to good byes by now. Unfortunately there is no vaccine for good byes. Each time I have to say good  bye, it feels like the first time I have had to do it.

Katrina singing in her band "Summer of Persimmons"
Good bye Kailynn, ...Good bye, Katrina.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

There and Back

One moment I am in the United States and the next moment I'm stepping off an airplane at the Changi Airport, Singapore. Of course it isn't exactly the 'next moment'  it is more like 24 hours later. 

"Mari Kita rakyat Singapura sama sama manuju...." the words just flow through my mind as I walk towards the immigration line. Four whole years went by without me going back home and then once again I'm wrapped up in the humidity. Jet lag causes me to look down from my flat at the 3 am scene below. Flats facing me, cars lined up in neat rows, and the gentle hum of the air conditioner reminding me I am home. 

Whoosh...I barely get used to being back in Singapore and it is on another plane headed for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Hustle bustle, heat and family encompass us. Daniel reunites with his family. The thing which stands out to me about both Singapore and Malaysia is how well they appear to be doing. The US has taken a beating financially, but these countries are thriving. Conference meetings to attend, dinners to grace and before I know it is time to board the plane to Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia.


 I'm glad I did not base my opinion of Kota Kinabalu on my one and only past visit. Now I'm given a chance to reacquaint myself with the luscious land of former Borneo. The rest is welcomed: the beautiful beaches and hills bring much needed relaxation. The time went by too fast and I'm on the final leg of the journey back to Singapore for four days before I head to the United States once again.

In Singapore, Daniel and I are once again competing in the infamous rat race. People need to be seen and places need to be visited but most importantly is the purchasing of items. Heaven forbid if we don't make sure to bring back 'such and such' a thing for 'so and so'....prices are not as appealing as when I visited four years before. Daniel decides we will only buy what we absolutely need. Four suitcase later, we have what we 'need'. 


I'm up again at 3 am, not because of jet lag but because I have to catch the early flight at the Changi Airport. "Good bye" flat ...'so long' cars neatly parked all in a row...'hope to see you soon' delicious food stalls..my bags are packed and I'm ready to go...with the National Anthem concluding in my mind,"Majulah Singapura!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blogathon comments

 Comments serve as a great form of communication. The blog writer and the blog readers are able to interact. On some blogs, I almost enjoy reading the comments more than the actual post...no, not really, but the comments are very interesting.

Unfortunately, my own comments on other blogs can appear rather plain and robotic. This may have something to do with the fact, I'm trying to keep up with way too many blogs and always have this compulsion to leave a comment, no matter what!

It was with great interest that I went back through the blogathon comments. From May 1st to May 31st, the post which had the most comments was "Ointment for an Aching Soul" - there were 21 comments with this post. (of course, some of those comments were my answers to people's comments)...a close second, was "Chinese Tea Ceremony"-there were 20 comments on this post.

I decided to go through all the comments and see who the top three people were who commented during the blogathon.

The three top comment givers were:

A with 23 comments

Nisha with 20 comments

Joan with 11 comments

It was surprising to note how many other people made comments... regularly made comments. I want to thank EVERYONE for their consistency and enjoyable comments.


As for the above three mentioned- if you email me your physical address, I will send you a book. My email is desertstar@writing.com. 

Thanks to all who read and commented during the blogathon!! 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Toronto, Canada May 2010

Toronto, Canada....big city, hustle and bustle...brick houses- tall buildings- A population made up of the United Nations.

The CN tower, a landmark, stands at 553 metres high. I kept wondering what the "CN" stood for; it stands for "Canadian National" tower. 

The view from the sky pod is incredible. The city spread out with streets snaking around both tall and short buildings. What came to my mind as I looked down at the vast expanse of concrete? I missed the emerald green of Western Washington.

It was great getting to see Toronto's China town. More green, smaller shops, and crowds of people speaking various dialects of Chinese. 


Toronto, a multifaceted city, worth the visit!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Liberty Cafe- Renton, WA

Remember the post about Jet City Expresso? Well, good things have come out of that little shop. 

Mike Moskowitz was a former barista there and now he is the co-owner of the Liberty Cafe in Downtown Renton. 
 

Liberty Cafe is more than just a coffee shop. It is a place where community gathers. 
It is a place to sip a drink, chat, find out about what is happening in Renton, or be entertained. Liberty Cafe is a ' must stop at' destination when visiting down town Renton.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Delusions- Renton, WA

Where does a person go if they want to purchase a really unique craft, piece of jewelry or an awesome work of art?  Happy Delusions is a wonderful store in Downtown Renton. The owner, Mary, has done an amazing job of setting up a store which features local artists, jewelery, crafts and designers. Her love for downtown Renton is more than evident. 

Mary says, "We believe that the more committed we are to our community the more successful all of us become."* She really walks the talk and is very involved in community.

 If you aren't in Washington State, you can still visit Happy Delusions via their blog.

*Quote taken from the Happy Delusions website 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Splendid Maze - Part 5

24. Sleepy, beneath clouds

This is another of my daughter's photo blog. She rarely updates it, but when she does, I enjoy looking at all the photos she has uploaded. 

25. You're A Great American-


This was the blog formerly known as "Dialogue with Stone"...It is a blog by a journalist/writer. I won't even begin to try to explain how I came to be an avid reader of this blog. The creativity and ability to mold words into literary sculptures is amazing to me. I enjoy both David Weir's blog and this blog for what I am able to learn. Again, I don't always see eye to eye with the ideas or thoughts of the writer, but I do enjoy the marvelous talent demonstrated. 



26. Windy Skies  

This is an exceptional blog. Each post not only has magnificent photographs, but the words paint their own pictures. Anil has a way with words which draws the reader right into the center of the post. Remarkable blog!

And for now...those are the blogs I am following...I'm sure I'll be adding more in the days or weeks ahead.  

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Splendid Maze - Part 4

Hold on tight, there are more blogs to explore...

20. Reflections


How do I begin to tell you about this wonderful blog or the woman who authors it? Nancy takes each blog post very seriously. She makes sure it will cause  you to laugh or cry or learn something. She never just throws out an update; you can tell every new blog post was well researched and well written. 


In my opinion, she was the one who got me into this whole blogging maze! hah! It was because of her wonderful blog that I became an avid 'blog reader' ... I can't even remember how many blogs I've been introduced to as a result of Nancy's blog. Nancy if you are reading this- THANK YOU!!!! (and please keep updating)


21. Seat of Our Pants -


This is one of my 'lurking' blogs. I only comment from time to time...but I don't miss reading every single update. They are short but very interesting. I've enjoyed traveling from Nepal to India to Southeast Asia and now to Europe and Turkey with this delightful couple.

22. SEO Tips


Bob has been someone who has commented consistently on my blog. I never could find his blog until today- So far- one post is up and I found it very informative! Although I'm an avid comment maker on many blogs, I didn't realize this was a tool which enabled more inbound links- how interesting! I look forward to reading many more posts.

23. Simply Speaking by "A" Simple Blogger


This blog offers such variety. I love each and every post. I've learned new things...I've enjoyed pictures..poetry...and more. I beg to differ with the title of the blog: this is by no means written by a simple blogger!


There are only three more blogs to go...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Splendid Maze - Part 3

I'm excited to be able to introduce you to a few more of the blogs I love.

14. Le Monde- A Poetic Travail

How do I even try to give justice to this blog. Nisha is an amazing woman who not only blogs about travel but actually gets out there and does it! I love her spirit and her attitude. Her blog has been the portal into many other blogs here in blogland. Also, I know I've had many visitors to my blog who say, "Oh I came over here via Nisha's blog" I can't say I have seen even one post on Nisha's blog I did not like. They are all wonderful.


15. life, lime and lemons


I have such a fondness for this blog. Although the posts are few and far between, each and every one of the posts speaks to me. I 'get' what is being said. It has been great watching a single woman become a wife and now going back to work. No matter how short the updates are they are packed with insight.


16. Music Road -


Kerry Dexter outdoes herself in this blog. She introduces the readers to great talent. I have gotten to know singers and music styles I would have never known had it not been for this blog. I especially love the suggestions for music on various road trips. Kerry and Vera partner each other with suggestions on books and music for each place you might travel to. 


17. One Life


Sneo has a love for travel which very few people have. She has done a marvelous job introducing her readers to great eating places, or travel spots. In the midst of her introductions she is not afraid to bare her soul. She is authentic and this is what draws me to her blog.


18. One year. 156 Fears. Life Changing


Here is a woman who knows how to face her fears. I was introduced to Joy's blog through the blogathon I've been participating in. I did not only read up on her recent posts, but I went back and read her back posts to bring myself up to date. It is wonderful how she has chosen to embrace life. Recently, she did a guest post on my blog. 


19. Popcorn Homestead -


Here is another blog I came to know via the blogathon. It has been wonderful reading about Joan's life in Japan. She loves vegetables, gardening, and plants. I enjoy learning new things and having memories of Japan being brought back to me. 


Can you believe we are still NOT done...there are GREAT blogs coming up...to be continued...



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Splendid maze - Part 2

Are you ready to explore more blogs? 


8. David Weir-

David Weir is a journalist/writer. He has lived a full life and now in this blog he shares with the reader his thoughts on life. His thoughts don't always mirror mine, but I've learned much from reading this blog. I hope one day he will choose to write an autobiography. I stumbled on his blog via Dialogue with Stone (which is now called- "You're A Great American")

9. Ed Pilolla-  


This is a blog I just stumbled into (as a result of a comment made by the author)- and I've already fallen in love with it. I still need to explore more of it....but so far, I do love what I've read.

10. Encounter with a Super Star -


Here is a blog which I enjoy every time there is a new update posted. The reason I get excited and rush to read what it says, is because I never know what direction the blog update will take me in. It might introduce me to a great new invention, or open up new doors into what life is like somewhere else in the world. Often it takes me down memory lane. Whatever the post update, it is never disappointing.


11. Feeble Fingers -


My daughter Katrina has three blogs, which I know of. She hardly updates them, but when she does I enjoy reading what she has to say. This particular blog features Polaroid pictures she has picked up from thrift shops or friends. She posts the picture and then writes a haiku to accompany it. I love her creativity and insight into each picture. Often she will see something I never thought of noticing.


12. FoXnoMad -


Okay, you know how there are people and then there are PEOPLE...well there are blogs and then there are BLOGS! I would have to put Anil's blog into the category of a BLOG. It is outstanding. The amount of information I have learned via his blog is astounding. Also, he is the culprit for introducing me to so many other blogs. (He probably doesn't know it- but his recommendations woo me into the mazes of many a blog)


13. Frugal Kiwi


Here is another excellent blog in which I just lurk. I don't think I've made many comments, but I do enjoy each update. 


Can you believe we are NOT done yet...to be continued....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A splendid maze - Part 1

When I first started this blog, I decided to call it "Blulbhulaiyan" which can roughly be translated as maze or labyrinth. These entries were not going to be perfectly laid out, but rather spots to jump off into topic after topic. Little did I know, the title of my blog would not only refer to my own posts but other blogs which I have come to love reading. 


As I read some blogs, a link or a mention of another blog would draw me into more blogs. Sometimes I meander around and get lost in those blogs. There are blogs I click on and never return to and then there are those which I go back to time and time again. Some I comment on every post. Other blogs I simply lurk in, savoring every post and never commenting.


When you enjoy something you want to share it with others. So, I decided to do a short series on the blogs I love to follow. Due to how many blogs there are, they will be divided into a five part series ..."of blogs I love to read"...They aren't going to be put in order of which I love the most, but rather in alphabetical order. This will be the easy part of the maze...once you start exploring each blog, you will definitely find your own labyrinth. ENJOY!

Ready or not...here we go...


1. A travel blog of an Indian Backpacker

This is a blog I recently started following. Another blogger friend of mine, Nisha*, tweeted about one of my posts and this led Lakshmi, the author of the above blog, to leave a comment...which in turn, caused me to go visit her blog and I have never wanted to leave. The pictures are to die for! You MUST at least visit this blog.


2. A Traveler's Library


I'm an avid fan of this particular blog. If you are a reader and a traveler, this is a must have blog on your list. The only problem is the reviews on the books are so good...I have too many books on my 'must read' list. Seriously though, Vera, the author of the blog, outdoes herself in every post.


3. AweZim God-


This is a blog by my dear friend, Heidi. She and her family are now stationed in Zimbabwe. They were formerly in Ghana and adopted a precious little boy from Ghana- their miracle baby. I love to follow the progress of this precious family. 

4. Bike with Jackie -  


This is a new blog I've recently come across as a result of the blogathon. If you want an inspirational blog, then this is the one you need to read! I'm still exploring; I love what I've seen.

5. Border town Notes-


This is a blog of a woman in Botswana. She doesn't update that often, but when she does the updates are great. The pictures are wonderful. 


6. Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today -


Alexandra Grabbe runs an inn, keeping as true to 'green' as can be! Her posts are both informative and entertaining. Her blog has taught me so much. I believe I found her blog via one of Vera's posts. Alexandra is fellow blogathonner. In fact, I think it was through her blog I found out about the blogathon.


7. Color Me Sunshine! -


Okay, I can't say enough about her blog. She hasn't been updating as frequently lately, but every update is great. I love her "take" on life. I love the recipes she posts. She and I have communicated outside of the blog world. I no longer just consider her a 'blog I read' but I count her as a friend. I believe I stumbled onto her blog through "Reflections".*

...will continue tomorrow...


*Nisha's and Nancy's blogs will be featured later- remember I'm doing this in alphabetical order (by the name of the blog)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Group Blogathon Post

Today it was suggested we do a group post for the blogathon. It was suggested we all do a haiku. I've chosen to do a couple of poems, but not a haiku- One poem is a Tanka,. it follows a 5-7-5-7-7-  The other one is a Senryu-which is structurally similar  to the Haiku  with a 5-7-5. A senryu is most often based on human nature and can be ironic in tone; whereas, the Haiku is based on nature.* So the first one is a Tanka-

Tropical Rainstorm

white sprawling porches
tropical rain pounding down
washing the dry ground
watery sunlight peeks through
sweet scent of rain lingering

...the second one is a Senryu


The Battle 

darkness creeps forward
sleep waits in silent ambush
the battle is lost

*I clarified the Haiku and Senryu differences as a result of a comment by Nisha- which made me realize I was not being clear in the distinction. Thank you Nisha!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Djembe


A Djembe (or pronounced 'Jem- bay') is an African Drum which you play with your bare hands. People have this intrinsic need to create music. If they don't have an instrument they will create one. If they can't create one they will often make the music come out of themselves via humming, whistling or some other expression. Thankfully I have this Djembe to pound on so I don't have to create music from within myself.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My condolences

It was with a heavy heart I watched the news tonight. An Air India flight from Dubai to Mangalore has crashed. The reports are saying 160 people lost their lives in the crash. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who died. This is indeed a very sad day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hearst Castle, California


Next time you are in California- don't forget to visit the Hearst Castle...."The Ranch"....This is such a magnificent place, I decided less words and more pictures would be the way to go with this post.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jet City Expresso- Renton, WA


I've passed "Jet City Expresso" many times and wondered what it was. It looked like a run down gas station which had turned into some kind of 'junk yard.' Signs advertising "coffee sold here" marked the walls, so this led me to believe it was a coffee shop. I guess I thought it had been a coffee shop and now was a 'junk yard.'

Today I went inside "Jet City Expresso" and discovered it is indeed a coffee shop. Everywhere you look, you see interesting treasures. My favorite is the old juke box...or maybe it is the old beauty shop chair .... actually there is so much to explore in the shop. You walk through the doors and are transported into this strange land. Your mind finds it difficult to embrace the fact this is a coffee shop.

I didn't actually order coffee while in there. I did end up in a discussion about the latest weather in the Philippines. The man behind the counter looked it up on the internet and we talked about the horrible weather and the tragedy in Indonesia and Somoa. I should have ordered coffee. I wanted to order coffee....not necessarily to drink there, but to take away with me. I could tell the person I was with didn't want to order coffee, so I just left.

My project for later this week- to return and order coffee this time. (I'm sure I'll take some time to explore some of the other things in the shop)

*Taken from my 'other' blog :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blogathon Guest Post- Joy

Today's Blogathon Guest post is by Joy who hosts her blog "One Year. 156 Fears. Life Changing" 

Joy's Bio:

Joy is a thirty-something year-old mama living in the Green Mountain State and trying 156 things this year that will get her out of her shell. As an introvert and a psychology-nut- turned-freelance writer who likes to analyze everything to death, this challenge will either make her stronger or kill her, she is not entirely sure which! 

(Now sit back and enjoy her post!)

When I first decided to take on this year-long experiment, I nearly had a panic attack. "What, what, WHAT was I thinking?" I thought on Day Two. "I can't do this! I don't want to do this. Why did I ever think that this was a good idea?" 

Fast forward three months and I can honestly say that this project has brought me more happiness and more blessings than I could have imagined. I've met some wonderful, kind, and creative people (my favorite kind!). I've taken on some challenges that have made me shake in my shoes and some that made me nearly cry with relief after completing. Most of all though, this whole experiment has been a reminder that so much of the fear I feel is self-imposed. I allow fear to control my mind at times and when that happens my world gets very, very small. Happily, I've also found the that reverse is true: The more I push myself to try new things, go new places, and give up control, the bigger and more open my life becomes. 

That's not to say that I look forward to every challenge with open arms. I felt literally sick to my stomach when I decided that I needed to hand out flowers to strangers on the street. I'm an introvert and avoid strangers most of the time, I don't hand them flowers! But it was one of the most fun challenges I've done. I never would have tried it if it weren't for this project. There are other challenges that stick out in my mind too, but you'll have to read about them on my blog! 

I feel really grateful, mostly, for all the support, inspiration, and motivation that I've found out here on the blogosphere. And I feel excited for the rest of the challenges that the next several months hold. Now I realize how true the quote by Rose Tremain is, "Life is not a dress rehearsal." Amen to that. 

If you want to read more of Joy's posts, please click here

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chinese Tea Ceremony

I was reading Windy Skies post on gold and marriages in India- it made me think of the Gold involved in Chinese Tea Ceremonies. For our family, the tea ceremony is a way to not only thank the parents but also to introduce the bride to the family she is being married into.

Each member of the family has a 'title'- you don't just call your aunts and uncles- "aunt" or "Uncle"- you have to refer to them by the order they were born. So forinstance the eldest 'aunt' would be "First Auntie"- or in Hokkein it is "Tuah Kohr" and "Second Auntie" is "Je Kohr" and for uncles you would say "Tuah Chek" and "Je Chek" continuing on down the line. 


As the tea is being offered, not only does the new bride have to 'call' her new family member by their title- but they also are introduced to the bride. After sipping the tea, they return it to the tray with a red packet. This red packet contains either money or, on most occasions, it will contain gold jewelry. 
Although it has been a long time since I performed the tea ceremony at my wedding; I do remember the mental gymnastics I went through trying to keep every title in order. My mother in law stood next to me and coached me on what to say for each new relative who appeared in front of me.

When my son was married, we did the tea ceremony at the reception dinner.  It was a great time of introduction. Laughter abounded as we all tried to remember what 'title' was to be bestowed on each person. After all the elders were served, then the younger generation comes and greets the bride and groom and now the bride and groom give them a 'red packet'- thus establishing the fact they are now 'elders'. The bride and groom are introduced to the family with a wonderful spirit of joy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ointment for an aching soul

Today quick emails are sent from one computer to another....and then a tweet here and there...a comment on a myspace or facebook wall....where oh where have the real letters gone. Instead of carefully thought out sentences, there are only shortened phrases. The beauty of writing has fallen by the wayside...and a rough, crude counterfeit remains in its place.

I have the love letters my husband wrote me before we were married. Flimsy paper creased by countless attempts to read the words penned across the page. He wrote not only of his love for me, but he also filled the pages with his hopes, dreams and aspirations. He is a practical man. There were no flowery words used; However, the love felt in each line outweighs any romantic jargon ever used.

Over the years I have written many letters. Some plain and simple, but others deep with wisdom. I often wish I could find those which were strong and solid but I think they were tossed out long ago with the day old newspapers.  If only there could be a revival of letter writing. I'm not talking of the quick texts sent here or there; but rather the leisurely written epistle. A well written letter can do more for an aching soul than ointment.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

They all grow up



Today is her birthday. Yesterday she reached for the vegetables and casually mentioned she might be married by next year.  Tomorrow she will reach for her dreams. 

May her tomorrows be filled with great promise. May her todays be filled with peace. May her yesterdays be filled with wonderful memories.
They all grow up sometime- as they should. I'm just glad I can be a part of her growing up process.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A little taste of Paradise- Allyn, Washington May 2010

If you drive a bit too fast, you might drive past Allyn, Washington without realizing it. It would be your loss. This little bit of paradise is nestled right on the shores of Case Inlet on the South Puget Sound. 

I've always said a place is not just the buildings or the hiking trails; a place is the people. The people of Allyn must have gone for some course in 'friendliness'...the coffee shop server and the post office clerk were ready with their smiles and friendly chat. The smiles were contagious.

My family stayed at a lovely holiday rental. The owner, Dave Curran, and his housekeeper, Carla, really outdid themselves. It is not always easy making a 'house' feel like a home. They managed it with such ease. 
 


Highlights included a walk along the beach, playing an endless game of monopoly, sitting in the jacuzzi looking out at the water,talking, enjoying each others' company without thinking of 'what do we have to do now', eating a scrumptious breakfast and roasting marshmallows to make delicious s'mores. Naturally when it was time to lock the door and drive away...we didn't want to leave.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Detour

I was jogging along on this "Blogathon" and then I had to take a detour. My granddaughter came with my son and his wife for a visit...YES!! Little Kailynn Josephine Ong is 2 months old. She is a sweet thief, stealing my heart with ever glance and coo.

The detour got a bit longer with both my daughters graduating...one with her Bachelor's degree and the other with her Associate's degree.  My eldest daughter, Katrina, was chosen as the commencement speaker for her class. She has a masterful way of presenting a speech leaving almost everyone in the audience with tears in their eyes...either from laughing so hard or from a bit of bittersweet crying. How she does it, I will never know. My second daughter, Cassandra, has amazed me with her tenacity of following her dreams no matter what stands in her way!

The detour finally ended with a quick trip away...to a most wonderful destination. I will talk more about this bit of paradise in my next post. All I can say is.....absolutely wonderful! Just think...Wisteria...water lapping along the beach...rest...lots of reconnecting...delicious food...tons of kissing of darling Kailynn....and oh so much more....ah, what a wonderful part of the detour.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

Well not on a jet plane- but I'm driving down to Hood Canal area to spend some time with my kids. I hope to get plenty of pics to post here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Graduation and babies

Lots of milestones today. My daughter, Katrina, graduated from University today. She was the class commencement speaker. My daughter, Cassandra, graduated with her Associates degree. She will now go on to finish up her Nursing degree. My granddaughter sat on my lap while I was at the graduation ceremony- and let me tell you- I may be biased- but I think she is the most well behaved little 8 week old baby!! :)

Milestones...there are appear to be alot of them in my life these days...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Coffee and Strawberries- Renton, WA 2010

*Another Post borrowed from my "other" blog
 
Mixed matched bedfellows, it might seem, to have coffee, strawberries and cream.
Ah, but if these were in different drinks or settings, they would simply be divine. Common Grounds Coffee Shop in Renton, Washington mixes these together in just the right blend.

Tables scattered randomly, a hobby horse or two, and some comfy chairs make up a cozy coffee shop. When you enter, you can't help but say, "Oh how ...." (and whatever wonderful word comes to your head) ...cute, sweet, eccentric, adorable, cozy...etc" There is no time to feel awkward, you are already 'at home.'


The selection of drinks, cold or hot, are diverse. The cupcakes tantalize both with whimsical names and appealing designs. You can't leave without ordering something.

May I give my suggestion for the best item on the menu? Strawberry Short Cup!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Little Kailynn


 
Tomorrow my granddaughter, Kailynn, comes to visit.  So tomorrow...kisses will abound, hugs will have no limit and there will be plenty of cuddling going on. These are all the perks of being a grandma. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is Seattle without.... Seattle, WA

What do you think of when someone says, "Seattle.".....Grey's Anatomy? Okay- of course not! You think of ...the Space Needle. What would Seattle be like without the Space Needle as a part of its skyline.

Although the space needle looks ever so futuristic, the idea for its construction was birthed in 1959 by Edward E. Carlson. This would later become the symbol of the 1962 Seattle's World Fair. It turned out to be harder than Carlson thought to get the structure up and in place. If you are interested in the history of how the Space needle came to be-click here


38 years later, the Space Needle serves Seattle as a great 'tourist' spot. Everyone wants to have their picture taken in front of the Space Needle. Others are willing to spring for the money to ride up to the top of the Needle ...to take more pictures and be able to say they were up there. Still others enjoy an expensive meal at the revolving restaurant on the top. 

Whatever the reasons you have for viewing or enjoying the Space Needle, you have to admit is has become an accepted part of Seattle. Now when someone says "Seattle"...what will you think of?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Seattle and Music

Seattle's music scene is diverse. I will not pretend to be an expert on music. My relationship with music is:  I love it; however, I barely play the piano...if I sing, people desire to be somewhere else...you get the general idea!

My children, on the other hand, love music beyond just listening to it. They play at least one or more instruments. They sing. They tell me Seattle is a wonderful place for music. They love the musical diversity Seattle offers. 


I'm sure anyone who comes to Seattle will have ample opportunities to visit any number of small clubs, music venues or restaurants which feature great music.


My daughters enjoying a 'sister's night out' in downtown Seattle.

 If you want to enjoy a festival with music, check out the list of Music festival's listed on the city of Seattle's website.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Wake up Sleepy Head- Renton, WA, May 2010

*borrowed from my other blog :) 
 
When I first greeted the streets of Renton, I was sure I caught the whole city ready to slumber.

I was wrong.

In the past few months, Renton has shifted around and thrown off the bed covers. The streets of Renton are coming alive. It is more than just new paint, new fixtures, and renovations. Renton has woken up.


I can't wait to see what other surprises Renton, Washington has for me...I'm glad my first impressions were wrong.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Is it a Lake?- Lake Chelan, Washington 2010

(Today's Blog update was inspired by a comment left by Anil on a previous post I did)


  I do love Western Washington, but I must admit there is a place in Central Washington which entices me. Lake Chelan boasts of being 50.5 miles around, according to the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce. Is this really a lake? Yes, it is!


  Take a boat across the widest section of the Lake and you will be going 1.5 miles. Do you want to try and dive down to the bottom of the lake? You will have to dive 1486 Ft. down. 

  The breath taking view surrounds you no matter where you are on the lake. You see majestic snow capped Mountains peeking down. The hills nearby used to be filled with apple orchards, they now overflow with grape vines.
 
   Swimming in the clear waters of the lake is very appealing. Water skiing across the surface of the lake is exhilarating. In fact, it is difficult to leave the Chelan Valley with all its beauty. When you are there you  start dreaming about selling your house and moving to this tranquil location. However, when you price the houses near the lake reality sets in as you discover most of the houses right on the lake run a cool one million dollars. Ouch!

  Whether you spend one day enjoying Lake Chelan or one week, you will enjoy every moment of your time there. Unfortunately, all good things do come to an end and then you clamber back into your vehicle and head down the road back to your real life. Remember, the same road which takes you away from Lake Chelan can just as easily bring you back!



Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm blogathoning

Phew!! It will be a challenge- this blogathon requires updating the blog every day for one month. My life has been a bit of a whirlwind - so I'm probably crazy to start this...but then, I never said I was sane.

I thought some great things to blog about will be secret finds here in the Northwest. These will include coffee shops, hidden cabins, book stores, music venues and more. 

So there will be great things to look forward to....to get the ball rolling...last night I was at the Upper Room - this is a free music venue in Renton, Washington. Fabulous music, great food, lots of people and the best part of it all is it is FREE! :)

Last night's three groups were Lemolo, Paper Astronomer and The Head and The Heart. Amazing talent! If you are on Facebook- you can see other posts about the upper room performances at their FB page: The Upper Room

This collage taken and created by Shahrzad Arfaei-credit to Shahrzad Photography

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm in love

 Reading Le Monde's blog the other day set    
my brain in motion. Her blog talked of a recent trip to Malaysia and I was thinking of how she probably had seen more things than I had ever seen- although I lived there for many years. 

I guess when we live somewhere, we tend to take it for granted. We think, "I'll see such and such a place another day...when I'm not busy..." 

Sometimes I'm so busy talking about where I have been...I forget to mention where I am. The great Northwest, specifically Western Washington. I've been so many places in this world, but I must say this place has captured my heart. 


What about this place captivates me? Is it the greenery, the ample opportunities for hiking, the mountains, the pacific ocean? Is it the people? Is it the great accomplishments of business ventures in this region? Is it, possibly, my roots, which I have recently discovered are solidly lodged in this region? I'm not sure what it is. I do know I love it here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rocky Mountain High- March 15th 2010

Large roads laid out endlessly in front of me. This is Denver, Colorado. When I drove down Colfax, suddenly I saw the foothills of the Rockies up ahead. The awesome beauty of the sight sucked my breath right out of me. I thought I was seeing the Rockies (what do I know, right?)...I found out what I was looking at was just the foothills...just the foothills, what would I do if I saw the actual Rockies? How would my heart stand the beauty and majesty?


Wide open spaces seem to be the norm here in Colorado. I could hear John Denver in my head as I was driving around- his "Rocky Mountain High" and other tunes started forming in the recesses of my brain. 


I had never really cared for Denver- only been here 3 times now- one time I was being rushed off a plane and to an emergency room, but that is a story for another day. Today, I saw the beauty of Denver and Colorado. Although I would not want to live here, I can appreciate the splendour of this place. I guess I got a little 'high' on the Rocky Mountains today- or at least the foothills. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Trip-Denver March 11 2010

On March 11 2010 I stepped onto a new pathway in my life's journey. I started down the path when I heard the words, "Mom, it is a girl!"

My son and his wife had their first baby, a little girl. She is a doll. Her name is Kailynn Josephine Ong. 

On this new path, I've taken on the role as 'grams' (grandmother)- I've never been a grandmother before....I have my ideas of what kind of grandmother I want to be and I don't want to be. They are just ideas. Now will be the testing of those ideas, and we will see what happens.

I'm open to ALL advice...words of wisdom...etc etc...in the meantime, I'm going to hold my beautiful little Kailynn as much as I can before I have to board the plane back to Seattle.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rendang in Denver


Who knew I'd come all the way to Denver to eat the most delicious rendang. The plane touched down at little after 5 pm & my son and his wife whisked us from the airport..."To somewhere special"...boy they weren't exaggerating!

We walked into the simple restaurant; it was wedged somewhere inbetween a quiznos and I vaguely remember a Jamba Juice around. My husband- a true blue Malaysian- glanced at me like "are they serious??"...but once we started eating the food at Jaya Asian Grill there were no more looks, glances or anything of a kind. We were too busy enjoying the delicious food!


What a great start to our time here in Denver, Colorado. Now if my grandbaby would hurry up and make his/her appearance...well, I think my time here would be just perfect! 

*Thanks to  "just call me 'A'" for catching my incorrect name of the restaurant- it is JAYA and not RAYA as I had stated :)

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