Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rak Ther Prathet Thai

Thailand is in the midst of political crisis.

I don't write about it because... I don't know.  I write about seizures and cute kids and black bean cupcakes.  Shootings in the street and uprisings aren't really part of my scope.

Plus, it doesn't really affect us on a personal level.  Whim has strong convictions, like almost all Thai people, but we don't participate in the rallies as a family.  We continue on with our day to day, and though every now and then the schools may close, for the most part it doesn't even feel real. 

On Sunday we were downtown visiting Whim's dad in the hospital, just a few meters away from one of the sites.  In running a few errands for him, we ended up passing though the area at 6:00 pm, during the nightly broadcast of the national anthem.  One beautiful custom of Thailand is the way everyone stops to respect the flag twice a day.  Whether you're walking in the park or eating at the market, at 6:00 everyone stops to stand at attention as the anthem plays over the loudspeaker.

So we stopped in the midst of the rallying protestors and sang together.  Thousands of voices rang out and flags were waving in every direction. It was beautiful to experience. 

Though it was calm and peaceful, we didn't linger.  As the song came to an end, we continued on and were soon back to the hospital.

I am still trying to reconcile the moment we experienced with the tragic news we heard later of two children who were killed in an explosion at another site in the city.   A four year old and a six year old.

That was someone's M and L. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


If you're not playing QuizUp yet, get thee to the App Store.  You're welcome for introducing you to your next addiction.

You will love it if your brain is completely jam-packed with useless information like mine is.  

I don't actively try to remember this stuff, it's just there.  Like the song we sang in my fifth grade school choir concert:

Kids are music, everybody knows that kids are music, they are full of music from their heads to their toes.  Everybody knows (rest) everybody knows (rest) that kids and music are one. (Two, three, four) Ahhhhh singing in the sunshine, ah-ah-ah-ah whistling in the rain.  Life is fresh and new from a kids' point of view.  Music is for one and every thi-i-i-i-ing.  Rat-ta-tat-ta-tat.

Anyway.  Check this.

Now in fairness, I do love Harry Potter.  I have read the series through more than a few times and seen all the movies at least once.  But it's not like I try to remember the name of the Dursley's Squib neighbor (Mrs. Figg, cat-lover) or who announces for the Quiddich matches (Lee Jordan, the Weasley twins' best friend).  It's just there.

So, it sets the scene perfectly for my debut listicle topic idea: 10 things you have memorized.

1) An obscene amount of movie quotes.  Movies I love, ("This place is a tomb, I'm going to the nut shop where it's fun..."), movies I have been forced to sit through, but hate ("Randy lay there like a slug, it was his only defense"), kids' movies ("I am speed!)  I'm no fun to watch movies with because I always want to quote along.

2) The US presidents (in order, to the tune of Yankee Doodle.  Thank you Mrs. Peterson, my sisters' fifth grade teacher.)  This came in handy when M became obsessed with them last fall.  Thanks to that obsession, my brain is now a repository of other presidential information: favorite foods, other jobs before office, and claims to fame.  If you need to know the fattest person ever to be president, I'm your gal.

3) Bangkok's full name.  I've posted about this before, but it is one of my greatest feats of memory, and I learned it all in one day while ignoring everything else at a seminar for work: kruengthep mahanakorn amonrattanakosin mahintara ayuttaya mahadilok popnokarat ratchatanee burirom udomrachaneewet mahasatan amonpiman awantansathit sakatatiya vishnukamprasit.

4) Songs.  I never would have gotten the presidents without the help of Yankee Doodle, and the only reason I got Bangkok down is because it was an 80's pop song and I listened to it a dozen times.  Music is magic when it comes to memory.  How else can I explain knowing the lyrics to songs I have never even liked, like 90's boy band pop hits? I even remember cereal jingles from when I was a kid.  (I do use this to my advantage regularly to trick my children into learning things.  It seems to work on them, too. )

5) Dozens of passwords.  Ask yourself- how many passwords do you have committed to memory?  Email accounts, social media sites, work computer access codes, parent online gradebooks, teacher online gradebooks, curriculum mapping sites, online versions of various textbooks, educational websites logins, ebanking sites.  It's ridiculous!  But they are all in there somewhere.

6) Sections of the Westminster shorter catechism.  When we started using parts of it for chapel this year, I had a vision of teaching it to the boys, but we haven't gotten very far yet.    Here's L answering some of the first questions.  

7) The airplane alphabet: alpha bravo Charlie delta echo foxtrot gulf hotel India Juliet kilo Lima....

8) Binary counting.  I learned both 7 and 8 in high school, just for fun.  I'm sure you can imagine how cool I was. 

9) Strangely, I can remember when and where I learned almost every word of Thai I know.  There may be a few basic words I picked up without realizing, but every word I intentionally learned, I still remember.     

10) The Thai alphabet song.  It's nothing like the ABCs.  The Thai alphabet has 44 letters, not counting vowels, and each "letter" is actually a phrase.  Like "a is for apple, b is for ball" except it's universal.  The Thai alphabet song puts each of those phrases into longer sentences that are "easier to remember".

So there you go.  It's no wonder I can't remember my mental notes anymore.  I've used up all my memory space!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

It's gone!

It's gone.

That glorious, glorious hair.

I loved it so much.  I would have let him grow it forever, if he wanted.

When he was little, he said he wanted long hair like Rapunzel.  Actually he said Papunzel.  Whenever anyone asked when we were going to cut his hair, I'd give them the ol', "We like it long and he likes it long, so we're not planning to cut it any time soon.  Of course, we'll cut it when he asks".

Silly me.  I believed it, too. 

When he finally told me he wanted to cut it, I tried to talk him out of it.

"Think of how much everyone compliments it all the time!  If you cut it, nobody will say how handsome it is anymore."  Shameful, I know, but since he doesn't care it didn't even work.

Neither did the straw man.  "So you want your hair to be totally gone, like Caillou?  We don't even like him!"  But he's too smart for my childish tricks.  

He likes it.  It's out of his face and not "flopping around everywhere".

I'll miss his long curls, but I know I can't complain.  I got to enjoy them a lot longer than most moms do.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Other big day for L

L's k4 interview wasn't the only big thing going on for him this week.

Monday he had a modeling gig, a photo for "Cheeze" magazine.  I snagged this picture from Whim's Instagram- it's not the actual photo, just one Whim took from the sidelines.  It's too cute, I can't even stand it.

Big day for Lennon

L had his K4 interview and entrance exam this morning.

Even though we knew he'd do fine, it was just hard to feel completely settled until it was done and behind us.  Thankfully he did great, and despite having no clue what a wagon is, he still passed with flying colors.  Come August, we'll officially have two school kids in the family!

One especially positive part was how straightforward everyone was about his seizures.  They asked relevant questions, but didn't make anything into a bigger deal than it needed to be.  I'm confident that they can handle anything that might happen, and that he won't be treated unfairly.

Way to go, L!  We're so proud of you.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Working man

Too bad being adorable doesn't pay the bills.

Except when it does!

Ok, ok, not the bills.  But maybe a toy car or two.  L got the chance to do another little part in a pain reliever commerical last week.

Whim told me he was all business.  He even says he wants to be an actor now.  Fine with me- it is a great improvement from his former aspiration, which was to be a car!