Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This Presidential Race

In my twelve years on Facebook, six years of blogging, and seven months on Instagram, I don't think I've ever posted about politics -- I just don't like thinking about, talking about, or writing about politics. But, the absurdity of this Presidential race drives me to it.

I'm sure you've already read and heard many opinions, so this will be brief…

I remember last summer when I first heard about Trump's infamous "Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists (and maybe some are good people)" remark. Having had many Mexican and Mexican-American friends, acquaintances, classmates, colleagues, supervisors, and clients; having walked with one very close Mexican-American friend through her journey of going from undocumented status to documented status; I felt shocked and offended at this racist and untruthful comment. At that moment I counted him as unfit to become a party nominee, much less President of the United States.

Over the past year, he has spouted an entire canon of racist and misogynist comments and lies that are as shocking and harmful as "Mexicans are rapists." I am deeply convinced that he is a horrible man who is only out for himself. 

I have been appalled as I've watched him successfully woo half of the US population.

My shock reached an all-time high this summer when I found out that the vast majority of white evangelicals support his candidacy for President. As a white evangelical who is not voting for Trump, I am in the minority. This is absurd to me.

Today, I went to the Bangkok post office to drop off an absentee ballot with my vote for Hillary Clinton for President. She is far from perfect, but in this 2016 race, perfection is not my standard. Preventing a Trump presidency is. So, I gladly cast my vote for Clinton.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cora - Two Years Old

Every year around my kids' birthdays, I've written a few paragraphs about them -- an attempt to freeze the stage of childhood they are in before it slides on by. They are my favorite posts to re-read.

The recent loss of three little ones who we loved has reminded me in new ways of how precious, precious, precious every little child is.

Cora is no exception.

Even with loss and grief nipping at my heels, a rambunctious, full of life, just-turned-two, toddler is underfoot. So, I pause to savor her.

What is Cora like these days?

Cora is very sweet and snuggly. She loves sitting in a lap and reading a book. After her evening bubble bath, we often tuck her into our bed. She lies there snuggled under the sheet in our 90+ degree bedroom looking out the window watching the branches of the tree out back sway in the breeze. When Cora gets hurt, all she wants is to be be scooped up in a parent's arms, her head on our shoulder, snuggling away.

Cora is also a very playful, silly, goofy girl. Cora loves rough housing and she loves the adrenaline rush of a free fall (that ends without getting hurt, of course). When I put her down for a nap, I sing, "Goodnight bunny-wunny. Goodnight Cora-bora." She laughs without fail every time at the silly, messed up words. Sometimes at dinner, Michael and I will get to laughing over a funny story from the day. Cora is too young to get the humor, but when she sees us cracking up, she joins in laughing too.

Cora's favorite things these days include...

Peeing on the big, white potty just like everyone else. Not the little, green, toilet training potty. Cora has started going on the toilet a few times per day. Whenever she is successful, she beams a goofy, proud grin. I couldn't find undies that fit my tiny girl, so I bought her 100% cotton newborn diaper covers. They fit great.

Whining. Whew. We are working on getting her to stop this one.

Wearing her things. Almost every day, Cora tells us, "Cora want her things." By this she means a butterfly purse, owl bag, doctor kit, and bead necklace. She puts them all on and says, "Cora is ready to go to the flower shop." Then, she takes them all off and does it again. Cora has never been to a flower shop nor do we talk about flower shops, so I don't know where this comes from!

Building towers with duplos and magnetic blocks.

Wearing Mr. Potato Head's accessories. When she does this, we call her "Professor Cora." She calls herself "Pwofessuh Cowuh."

Flowers. Cora picks a flower or two whenever we go out. She holds onto them surprisingly long. She once fell asleep in church lying across both our laps with a crumpled flower clutched in her hand.

Helping out around the house. Her favorite little chores include picking up toys (may this stage last forever!), throwing things away, and getting things in and out of the fridge.

Her gray bunny/blankie and pacifier. The dentist here told us to stop giving her her pacifier when she turns two. Not happening.

Her big sister, Grace. I remember when Cora was a little baby, she would lie on her stomach all day, head held high in the air watching everything her big sister did. At seven months old, she surprised us by saying, "gah! gah!" every time Grace entered the room, so we count "Grace" as her first word. This love for her big sister has continued. She (usually) lets Grace boss her around, she likes playing tag with her, and she likes giving toys and food to her. These days, their sibling relationship brings Michael and me endless joy.

Our family. Cora loves the concept of our family. When one of us returns from work and the four of us are reunited, Cora sings, "Mommy, Daddy, Grace, and Cora" to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," pointing to each of us as she says our names.

Cora, mommy and daddy love you so much. You are perfect for our family. It is such a joy to be your parents!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Life in Our Corner of Bangkok

I've always wanted to lug my camera around my neighborhood with me to take high quality DLSR pictures. But, I usually have a kid or two with me, am in a rush, or just feel too overwhelmed to do anything more than iphone pictures. Also, being very tall and very foreign, I feel like I stick out enough without a large camera in front of my face, so I've always felt a bit too sheepish to do it.

My sister and brother-in-law visited a few weeks ago. My sister didn't feel the least bit sheepish, doesn't have kids, wasn't overwhelmed or in a rush, so she took lots of pictures of our stomping grounds.

Here they are! 

*Photo credit on every single picture: My sister, Andrea.*

Our girls at the top of the "concrete hill" down the street where they love to play.

The large street that we live off of. Can you believe that jumble of wires on the poles?

Grace goofing in her Uncle Jason's arms while I buy sweet soy milk, 25 cents per serving, comes steaming hot in a bag which I'm sure is not BPA free! We buy this at least three times per week. Behind Grace and Jason you see the ornate gateway at the top of the street leading down to our neighborhood's nearest temple.

Huge pots of various soups and curries. The front right one, not so good. The front left one, we've eaten dozens of times.

This fish is stuffed with lemongrass, encrusted with salt, and grilled. It is so moist and fresh. And comes with a big bag of the spiciest sauce. When we moved here, I could hardly add any of it. Now I can spoon on a fair amount.

Our pad Thai guy. He cooks it right there scooping each ingredient from the plastic buckets in front. We order seafood pad Thai from him a couple of times per week. Just ordered it for dinner tonight. $1.15 per plate.

Our night market. People come to shop here after work to buy dinner pre-made and/or ingredients to make their own dinner. We do the same multiple times per week.

Fruit for sale.

This woman makes some of the best fried chicken. Puts KFC to utter shame. Yum.

Ordering grilled pork skewers and sticky rice for breakfast to fuel up before heading out to tour the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. All three places are worthy of a Google Images search.

Andrea and Jason drinking Thai tea. It's always handed to you in a bag with a handle. This is so you can dangle it from your scooter handlebars for the ride home.

Riding home on a song teaw -- a pickup truck with two benches and a roof. 25 cents per person per ride. The kids ride free. When you want to get off, you press a button on the roof, the truck stops, and you drop 8 baht into the driver's hand. Not a safe way to get around town, but very cheap and fun.

Preschool girls.

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