Thursday, September 25, 2008


somehow i forgot to mention that miss-em is now crawling. yes, i'm a horrible mother who doesn't document things properly. i'm sure it will cause her to develop some major psychosis because her older brother has 375 pictures for every 2-week interval for the first year of his life and she gets one snapped every few days when i happen to think about it. i'll start saving for her therapy bills now. however, in my defense her crawling is somewhat ambiguous and almost imperceptible. one minute she's sitting up chewing on her bouncy ball and the next she's prone on the floor, facing the other direction, approximately 1.5 feet away from where she began. if you watch her closely you can sometimes see some knee action but mostly she just does this "swimmer's crawl" where she pulls herself along by her arms while her legs hang limp behind her. that's right, my baby girl has got some mad guns and she will totally kick all the boy's butts on the playground. don't mess with ern jr.

(wha? ok, just re-read my post and i'm not sure this made any sense as it is after 10:00 and that is what we tired, old ladies like to call "way past bedtime" although i may be tempted to stay awake anyway and watch old episodes of "pushing daisies". thank you, laural, for putting me onto this show! in another life, when i'm done being spit-up on all the time, i will be chuck. not that i will be killed on a cruise ship and then brought back to life by a boyishly-handsome pie maker named ned...just that i want her hair and clothes, that's all. over & out.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

coming out

On this blog I try to mostly highlight our day-to-day living, what life and travel are like around Asia, and how adorable our children are (for the most part) as they've grown over the last year. But today I found myself annoyed as I opened my Yahoo! page and found, for the SECOND time in less than 24 hours, a "NEWS" story highlighting the sexual orientation of a Hollywood celebrity.

Now, a few things I know:

1- These people make more money than I'll probably ever see in a lifetime.
2- They have a ridiculously more proportionate chance of running into people who know who they are (their name, occupation, favorite bubble gum flavors) in any random public place outside of their home town than, say, someone like me.
3- Nearly every choice they make on a day-to-day basis is overly-scrutinized to the point that, if most of us were in their shoes, we would be terrified to leave the house.
4- Just because someone is famous doesn't mean their life, their choices, their opinions, their views, or their friends are more important than, say, mine. Or yours.

OK, that being said, I would like to express my distaste for "news-worthy" items that appear on computer screens across the globe. (Unfortunately, the US is not the only place where distasteful, sensationalized gossip passes as news.) I am entirely aware of the fact that my views are considered by most today to be old-fashioned and prudish, but I CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH THE DISTASTE I HAVE AGAINST KNOWING WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING IN THEIR BEDROOMS. Side note: I love that you can shout things in writing.

I used to laugh with all my friends about the separate-bed policy on shows like "I Love Lucy" and how ridiculous that seemed because they were married, after all, and c'mon that's not how real couples sleep. But that doesn't mean I actually wanted to SEE them sleeping together, either. I know how babies are made. I have a couple myself. My friends and family have 'em too. But I don't make it a general topic of conversation over dinner with guests. What happens in a bedroom should stay in a bedroom. I firmly believe in physical intimacy being reserved for husbands & wives, but I also firmly believe in people being able to make their own choices. I will admit, I greatly dislike seeing homosexual relationships portrayed in the media when physical intimacy is displayed, and maybe I'd be called homophobic (or a lot of worse names, I'm sure) for saying so, but...well, see #4 on the above list. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

But it doesn't change the fact that someone's sexual orientation should not be considered a news item! Period. I don't know if it's my dislike for the whole celebrity/paprazzi/stalking/obsessing trends in the media or if it's just sadness that morality has become so individualized, immorality even sensationalized, to the point that no one seems to have any sexual morality because they never had anyone teach them correct principles...intimacy reserved for husband and wife, children raised in the bonds of marriage, young people keeping themselves morally clean and virtuous. Even as a young girl, in places outside of church, I understood that "virgin" was a derogatory word, as if no one in their right mind, and certainly not by CHOICE would be one. So now we've been reduced to taking our sexual morality cues from Hollywood stars that we don't even know, instead of turning to trusted friends, spiritual advisers, even (gasp!) parents. Actually, as I've been writing this, I'm reminded of a book Michael is reading (and I'm waiting impatiently for him to finish so I can start) called "Microtrends" that talks about how seemingly-small events are actually transforming our societies, our world as we know it. So maybe this is one of those things. Maybe a Hollywood star's sexual preference, simply because of their star power, will be the force behind changing politics and societal reform. Heaven help us.

Wow, not sure how I made that circle, being annoyed at my "Most Viewed Stories" tab on my homepage to ranting about morality in the world today, but writing makes me feel a little better. Which is why I have a blog. And a journal. Or three.

Monday, September 22, 2008

branching out

Every once in a while I get a little crazy and decide to eat something OTHER than mangoes, and one of those somethings is often a papaya. Now I must explain why this is such a big deal...I despise papaya. Fiercely. More than once I have compared the smell to wet dog. Probably the taste, too. Seriously, despise it. Or, at least, I did before I moved to Malaysia and had the best papapya I've ever eaten in my life, hands down. Even right before we moved here and we were at a gorgeous resort with amazing food in Cabo, Mexico... what did I eat that made me gag and want to go drink sea water to remove the taste? Papaya. But somehow that has all changed and now I can eat a whole one by myself, which is saying something because the ones here can be as big as your head. Here's a picture of one I bought recently.

I slice them open with a big ol' butcher knife, but I could use a butter knife because they are SOOOooo soft it really is like slicing into butter.

For some reason I love the seeds. I love how they look and smell. I read somewhere that they taste sort of peppery and can be used ground up in dressings. May have to try that someday. They also may have some sort of medicinal property. What a marvelous little fruit.

I just scrape the seeds out and then scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Seriously, it's so soft. Then I try not to eat it all as I'm scooping it out so there will actually be some for later.
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Emily is trying papaya for the first time and I think she agrees with her momma that this is some pretty awesome stuff. Better than that nasty oat cereal, anyway.

Friday, September 19, 2008

get the picture

I admit to knowing next-to-NOTHING about photography (Exhibit A...ummm, check out basically any picture on this website) but through blog surfing I found a sort of game played with flickr which led me to discover THIS lady's photographs. Wow. I suddenly wanted to travel to each of these marvelous places and just sit in each scenic vista and write in my journal while I chewed on the end of my pen. I think that just about sounds to being as close to heaven as anything. Although I found something else that was close today. We hired a lovely woman named Shirley to come help around the house a few times a week and one of the marvelous ways she helps is by watching the kids so I can run errands. See how marvelous that is?

But instead of errands today I went and got my hair cut. But getting your hair cut in Asia is not just a haircut experience. It's not even a hair salon experience. It's like going to a hair spa. I sat reading a magazine in my chair while a stylist washed my hair (that's right, just sitting there upright in my swivel chair while a girl with remarkable fingers massaged shampoo around my head and neck for about 15 minutes) and another girl sat to my side giving me a manicure. I felt like Paris Hilton getting ready for the red carpet. (And that is the last time in my life I hope I will ever compare myself to Paris Hilton.) But it was beyond fabulous. I had my hair rinsed out twice (once after the shampoo and once after the haircut...that's right to remove all the nasty little hairs-es!), my head massaged several times, my hands massaged & painted...and at the end of it all I had a cute little bob haircut and felt like a million bucks. I even got checked out a few times as I left the mall. Nothing like a little ogling to make a girl feel special.

But I can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed. Maybe I should make this a regular thing, seeing as how I usually haul myself to the salon for a haircut about 3 times a year (a fact Sandy- my awesome punk-grandma stylist in Utah- would scold me for every time I showed up for an appointment). I wasn't going to put a picture of my hair on here, but I had to make up for the horrendous accident that was the Mooncake Fiasco so I can paste my self-esteem back together. Also my mom wanted to see it and we can't seem to connect on Skype while I'm in Asia and she's in Africa. Stupid Skype. (ha-ha, ok, after i posted this i actually connected with mom on skype so it is now forgiven. i'm sorry i called you stupid, skype. what would i do without you?)

Also, some things we are doing to entertain ourselves while Michael is in China this week (he gets back tomorrow - HOORAY!!!):
Practicing for Halloween...surprisingly John's favorite part wasn't candy, it was dressing like "Super John" and learning to jump out and yell "TRICK OR TREAT!" Go figure. (Also, it wasn't until I had cut it out that I realized the "J" emblem looked like the CTR shield. Not sure why I did that. Next time I'll use his Superman jammies for a template.)

I had to post this other pic because it shows the energy level of my 2-year old squirt, who basically never stops jumping up and down, not even for a 2 second photo shoot.

And Emily turned 8 months old!!! To celebrate the special day John helped me bake brownies and we made Emily a purple paper hat that made her look like an adorable little Napoleon.

And here is what she thought of that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

just some stuff

emily just being cute, as usual.

So what does a little boy decide to do when he doesn't want to take a nap? Does he sit quietly in his room and play with his toys? Noooo...he sneaks into mom's room and dumps baby powder all over the room and himself. Oh, and this is what he looks like when mom walks into the room and surprises him with an "OH MY GOSH!" and makes him help clean it up.

hooray for engrish. John got a new bunk bed (yay!) and this is on the mattress--in case you can't blow up the picture, here is what it says:

Blie night
the star down
Iwant you to be happy
this night is
delightful to me

this is what we do for entertainment around here.

Also, there are these freaky creatures on the mattress. I'm not sure what they're supposed to be...and those things that stick out on the bottom of the head, are those teeth? Really not sure. Plus I can't figure out what's going on with the the head on backwards, because that looks like its bum to me. Or are those stubby little arms? If anyone can figure this out, please let me know.

And finally some more of John's photographic handywork. We've gotta' get this kid his own camera pretty soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

food withdrawls

Since we've lived in Malaysia I've realized there are certain things that I'm just not willing to live without.  Food, mostly, that I am willing to spend any amount of money to make certain it stays in our kitchen.  One that is obvious to anyone who knows me is cereal.  And not what the locals call cereal...when you walk down the cereal aisle you can't see anything that doesn't have chocolate as the main ingredient.  yech.  At least not until you get to the imported cereals that I buy, things like Raisin Bran and Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Life and Granola.  Ahh, there's the good stuff.  So of course I spend more than I would in Utah on cereal, but still try to stay modest in my spending.  It's only a rare treat when I'll splurge for Cheerios (about $7) or Crispix (about $8). 

So anyway, that's my cereal issues.  There are other things that I wouldn't dream about buying when we first arrived here that have now become somewhat regular purchases.  There is a to-DIE-for yogurt that comes from Australia that costs me about $8 that I only bought to spoil myself every so often when I was pregnant, but that now is in our fridge on a regular basis.  I also lived without berries for the most part during our first year here and would only buy them very rarely to make a certain dish.  They usually cost anywhere from $5-10 for one of those little 1/2cup clam shells.  But now if I'm craving raspberries, by crackey, I won't even think twice as I place them in my cart.  The same thing goes for cheese, or pretty much any dairy item you can think of.  (Last week I spent almost $10 for a bag of pizza-blend shredded cheese).  Basically I can't live without cereal, berries & dairy of any kind.
So it made me wonder, what are the things other people couldn't live without?  If you were moving to another country and found that you couldn't get things you wanted there, what would you be stockpiling in your suitcases to make it through a year?  Twizzlers?  Butterfingers?  Popcorn?  Wheat germ?  Craisins?  (That was one thing we had to bring back here with us--a giant Costco-size back of Craisins--and those extra pounds were totally worth it.)  Or maybe you couldn't do without your Mac makeup or Carter brand baby clothes?  I'm curious what items YOU would be willing to pay three times more than usual for after months of deprivation.  And I'm not even going to mention how much I spend on Ben & Jerry's when I need to indulge.  (Ok, I'll tell you.  Once in Singapore I paid $13...and yes, that was on a pint.  I was 7 months pregnant, so sue me). 

Or maybe you've lived in other countries and have stories of how much you paid for certain things you couldn't live without? I'm anxious to hear them so bring it on.

check this out

My friend Anne sent me the link to her friend's cake design website. Her name is Peachy Juban and she runs a cake shop in the Philippines. I am, once again, totally in awe and only mostly completely and totally jealous of another person's visually artistic abilities. The cake lanterns are to DIE for.

Also, a belated HAPPY MOONCAKE FESTIVAL to everyone. The Chinese celebrated Mooncake day this weekend and I actually made myself a pretty little mooncake but, of course, forgot my camera and was forced to take pictures with my cell phone instead. They are crummy pictures but I was going to post them anyway, but my comptuer decided to be ridiculous and won't load the driver software so I can move them from my phone. Stupid Windows Vista. So you'll have to trust me, it was cool. There was red bean paste and green, pandan lotus paste and melon seeds and it was basically just a good time. Just imagine an entire holiday dedicated to fruitcake, add a few legends about the sun and immortality, and you've got the basic idea of Mooncake Day. John kept hearing me talk about "cake" and of course wanted to try some but after just a touch on the tongue was disgusted and wouldn't even look at it anymore. We Americans are such snobs about sweets. I enjoyed it immensely. Here are the pictures I took with my normal camera when I got home.

(note to self: do NOT take pictures of myself without makeup ever again.)
(also, note to everyone: see how the last picture shows it cut into small pieces? this is the ONLY way to eat a mooncake. remember my comparison to fruitcake? imagine what would happen to your body if you ate a whole fruitcake at once. i rest my case.)

Other exciting developments that I will possibly post pictures of later: John wearing big-boy-underpants for the first time and Emily trying both mango & papaya. It's been an adventurous week in the Weist casa.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

happy day you got birthed

It's my hubby's birthday today, although, as he likes to point out he was born in the States so technically tomorrow is his birthday too, so he should get to do whatever he wants both days... but that's fine with me because it gives me another day to spoil him. Really I want to do it all the time but he doesn't give me as many opportunities as I'd like. That's what I get for marrying an "old" bachelor set in his ways. heh-heh. He'll probably be so embarrassed and slightly ticked that I'm writing this but that's too bad because I'm an adult and it's my blog and I'll write what I want. So neener, neener. Anyway...I've been thinking a lot lately about paths in life, small & not-so-small decisions that we make every day that set the course we'll take in the future. Which college you go to, what apartment you live in, the job you take, all influence the people you'll meet and the places you'll go and the things that will influence your future choices. In one case it was my parent's move up north, away from their best friends and their favorite neighborhood, not entirely knowing why but feeling it was important. After a while my mom was still confused why they moved and so had determined it must be because I was going to meet my husband there. Huh. Right mom, sure. I'll get right on that. But, as is usually the case, my mom was right. Not that they moved there so I could meet my husband, but it certainly turned out to be a perk.

My mom always said, "Your father tells me all the time to follow my passion...and so I just follow him everywhere he goes." I have to admit that even after 4 short years, Michael has become my life and I follow him wherever he goes. Literally. I mean, why else would I be living in Malaysia, for crying out loud. Seriously. But I will follow him to the end of the earth and back as long as it means I will be with him, always. He has given me two of the most beautiful children in the history of the world, he has given us the adventure of a lifetime, and he has given us himself. I knew before we were ever engaged that Michael would be the most dedicated father and that no one would have a dad who loved them more than my own kids and that alone could have sealed the deal for me. Then add to that package someone who totally makes my day when he laughs, who makes me swoon when he kisses me, who finds ways to make me happy just because he can, who is, quite frankly, dreamy to look at, and to top it all off is crazy about me. Go figure. So here's to random as well as guided choices, here's to adventure, here's to true love, here's to working your butt off to make it work, and here's to being "on the downward slope to forty." (wink) I love you sweetheart. You better live until you're 100 or I'll be so mad at you I'll be climbing the drapes. Happy day you were birthed.

Monday, September 08, 2008

big girl

We finally got new couches! Hallelujah.
Our big girl! She stood holding herself up like this for about 5 minutes. I couldn't be more proud.
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just desserts

OK, I've officially lived in Malaysia long enough to be acclimated and not so much like a fish out of water. I took John to one of our favorite bakeries and grabbed what I thought were three mini sugar donuts, only to get one home and take a giant bite into what is pictured below. Red bean paste is a common ingredient used in desserts--from ice cream to cakes to pastries. Actually this weekend is the Chinese Mooncake festival and for Relief Society Enrichment we're learning how to make mooncake with red bean & lotus paste (I'll try to post pics and instruction on that later). Anyway, the point is, when I took this bite and discovered my error, instead of depositing my mouthful in the nearest trash recepticle as I would have a year ago, I actually finished chewing, swallowed and then ate the rest of the entire red bean donut! That's right, and I believe the words 'hmm, that's pretty good' even crossed my mind at one time. I must admit that I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

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abstract art?

One morning when Michael was in the Philippines John woke up early and got his hands on the camera. When I came out and found it on the table I discovered that he had busied himself that morning by taking 46 pictures...of himself, the couch, the computer, the floor, etc. I deleted most of them, but kept the ones that were actually discernible. What do you think? A budding photographer on our hands? Hey, if it buys me a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning while he occupies himself he can take 100 pictures every day. Ah, the blessing of digital photography.

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