LIVE in a living room

I went to a concert this weekend, live... in someone's living room. A last minute invite to break the Sabbath couldn't be wasted on too many people. A random Seattle hipster (the kind that keeps up on living room shows of obscure artists, see photo to see for yourself) invited a friend from the East side who invited me. The show was in an old Wallingford house (think old Provo houses with better stewards than 50 years of dirty student tenants). The homeowner was barefoot, of course, sporting a fedora and manpris. Wine and pepper popcorn were offered to all 40-50 guests (even latecomers who had to sit on the stairs). This is the kind of event where I'm glad I accidentally wore boots and chunky belt so I feel like I can roll with indie, hipster, urban cool scene I barely fit in with. My family apparently thinks I'm all about the hippie counter-culture, btw, and I'm still trying to figure out how right they are.

Anyway, I first heard the lady of the night, Rosie Thomas, crooning from my laptop speakers, recommended by Pandora on my A Fine Frenzy radio station. The song, Guess It May, talked about stumbling through a relationship and struck a chord with me at a time when I felt like I was doing just that. I've heard a few Rosie songs since then, mostly in passing, and have appreciated the balance she strikes between a full voice full of emotion and an innocent sweetness of someone still figuring out those same emotions. Her seafoam green cardigan and self-proclaimed Rod Stewart haircut should have tipped me off to her real self the second she walked into the house.

I'll tell you what, Rosie Thomas sounds like she is twelve years old. Quite the opposite of a powerhouse opera singer who orders coffee in full baritone, Rosie cheeped her song intros and hilarious commentary about her life in a baby voice that seemed almost cartoonish. With the strum of her sweet husband's guitar, she aged immediately into the record-quality voice I heard on Pandora. Very strange, very fun, very Seattle.



In transit

Soundtrack: Some Thai party music then The Weary Kind by Jeff Bridges (really!)

I stayed just long enough for Thai New Year- A Holi (with water instead of colors) style bonanza with some religious/cultural base and a lot of chaos in dealing with the oppressive heat. Basically, it's like the whole country is celebrating my birthday by staging a never-ending water fight. I was dry for about 15 seconds before getting water shot in the back (back stabbers) and soon after gang splashed and attacked to bits by New Year's menthol goo all over my face.
This old man is posing ---------This kid is not

Party in a Tuk Tuk ------------And recovering

With Nary at Oh's house. Two of my favorite people on my last day
Lowdown on the trip home (because it matters)

  • Crazy Heart as an in-flight movie. Jeff Bridges and Collin Farrell do country, Maggie Gyllenhall does endearing. I'd recommend it, esp. if you've got a little country in you
  • Chaise lounge at the Seoul airport, figuring out all my new technology toys
  • Determined to prevent/overcome/fight jet lag with all my might
  • 6 hours of sleep on the plane!
  • Cursing my Russian neighbor for the first two hours of the flight for having rotten breath
  • Realizing that the rotten breath I smelled was mine
  • Finding splotches of yellow all over my shirt. Can't remember eating anything yellow
  • The rubber gooey part of my headphone popped off after about 10 minutes. Gone. Lame.
  • 6 hours of sleep in 40+ hours :(
But who cares, I AM HOME!!


25 and thinking

Soundtrack: Don't Stop Me Now by Queen
There seems to be a widespread panic people reach approaching their 25th birthday- a quarter-life crisis. I can understand where 'they' are coming from. My biological clock is ticking and 25 is the first obvious age where people actually expect something out of you besides grades and entry-level work. Tomfoolery and shenanigans are for the 24 and under crowd, 25 and up is for making things happen!
Still, with all the 'pressure' from the universe, I'm pretty thrilled about being 25. Don't know why since I've got very few of my ducks in a row. But that's half the fun now, isn't it- tracking down ducks and trying to get 'em lined up and working right (so 30 doesn't end up a disaster?).

In honor of my 25th birthday (and because everyone wants to know), here are 25 things I've been thinking about lately, some pretty frequent mantra's of my station in life, some fairly recent realizations:

1. It's not worth being mad for more than 5 minutes
2. Go. It's worth the time/money/feeling ridiculous for the photo-op/bragging rights/passport stamp
3. If it's not posted as against the rules, it probably isn't
4. Talk to strangers, they're a reminder that there is good and friendly in the world
5. A life you're proud of takes effort
6. Regrets can and do happen every day; there's a chance to fix most regrets
7. Just because you fell through accomplishing a goal doesn't mean you shouldn't make it again
8. Forever is a long time. Remember it but be okay with today too
9. Holding hands is a good idea
10. Being happy is a decision, not a product of circumstance
11. Music has an amazing power to change your mood for better or keep you in a moody rut
12. Don't settle for anything, but be willing to find that your idea of 'best' is wrong
13. Cold water is the most delicious and amazing substance on earth
14. Nothing beats giggling, especially with your sister
15. Family is better than water
16. It is too easy to stalk/be stalked on the internet. It is too hard to stop/prevent it
17. You shouldn't expect to read poetry like you do novels, but it should stop your breath from time to time
18. Even a small heel impacts the way you walk and how good your legs look
19. Being nice is one of our main purposes/challenges/goals in this life
20. Being a grown-up is pretty great. But can seem crappy if you think about the details too much
21. Most people have it harder than me
22. Emotions are messy but usually worth dealing with; I am not crazy if I feel them; in fact, it is normal, and probably a good thing
23. I love babies
24. I know some pretty great people and I wish I could adequately express to them the high regard in which I hold them
25. I could do anything. I'm 25 and the world's my oyster :)


Stinky hands and Red Shirts

My day started out with this:Usually a day starting out with this stunning a sunrise kind of just glows, but somehow it ended up not so- climaxing with my showering the smell of squid off my hands throwing (and breaking) my disposable razor after cutting myself shaving (again). I started off with a spat and a nice stare in the face with some of my own faults and the effect they have on others. Probably good in the long run; not fun. Then a needless trip to the distribution center-- already closed for Thai New Year and NOT selling garments even if I beg and throw out my pout.

Then a stop-by to an old investigator friend whose life, quite honestly, just depresses me. She's not doing the church thing anymore really, and when listening to her reasons why, I really didn't feel like they were excuses. Her life is just HARD and when your daily routing consists of buying vegetables, gutting squid (surprisingly disgusting booger guts come out of those things) and hoping that you sell enough to make your rent (since her four ungrateful children aren't helping her out any) what do you do? I bore my testimony that if she lets God in her life, He'll make her stronger, less tired, and more capable, but MAN. Her snotty selling buddy isn't helping out much. Two other semi-inactive women I taught screened my calls - here's when I feel so strange straddling that line between missionary and friend. I wanted to contact these women because of a sort of sisterhood and friendship; they see me as the come back to church police, which I guess I am too, but not like they think. I don't know, it's just awful to see people who you know KNEW the gospel is true. Not just got commandeered into baptism or riled up into a fashionable western religion. All three of these women were ones who I thought GOT IT. And maybe they still do. But what am I supposed to do about that? Blech, it feels just awful.

These guys aren't helping my mood. The Red Shirts. I understand what's making them so angry- the current Prime Minister pretty much put himself in power by shutting down the airport a year or more ago and the Red Shirts mostly just want a chance to vote for someone they choose. Abhisit, the guy currently in charge, doesn't seem to be doing very well; unless you're already wealthy, in which case, he's helping out loads. Most of the protesters are poor, unemployed and from the country- using their voice in the only way they know how. It worked for the last group (the Yellow Shirts, who put Abhisit in office) and seems to be working now. It's really not at all as dangerous as US news must be making it sound- mostly just random parade honk fests and street parties that make already atrocious traffic worse.

But the economy is taking a hit for it. Plus, the crowd seems to be losing interest in a tailgate party style protest. They stormed Parliament; malls and other public locations close from time to time; and for the first time today, the SkyTrain was closed in preparation for the 'mob' (that is the word in Thai for a Red Shirt gathering). It will likely get worse before it gets better. Abhisit just pulled out the gloves by basically forbidding groups of five or more to congregate. Good luck, sir. Your nation is not going to take to that very well. Even Thai New Year and its infamous water festival are being tainted by a widespread unsettled feeling. Here's some of my photos and a little video explaining... Good luck Red Shirts! But please stop keeping me in traffic for 2 hours.



Feels like 106 degrees and I kind of want to die. Somehow this is looking more and more appealing:

Current Weather in Sammamish, WA

I finally got my flight in order this week. Here's my travel lady reading the directions to the credit card imprinting machine, which people apparently still use (but not often enough to know how). What are travel agents typing forever anyway? All sorts of pass codes and calculations make me nervous. Obviously not using Ortbitz. And why is travel softward stuck in 1995? It looks like the same program that Jessica used to book Jonah's flight to New York in Sleepless in Seattle. Anyway, April 15th at 12:30 I'll be officially stateside!


Getting all dolled up

Soundtrack: Supermodel by RuPaul

Oh is one of those soul mate women who I can't hardly imagine not meeting in my lifetime. I love her. So when she called me back and said we'd meet at Central World ("The largest lifestyle shopping destination in Bangkok"), I figured we'd do lunch and some pricey shopping. A little weird for a girl who lives pretty far outside the city and last I heard was selling rice at a cafeteria, but I've seen weirder, so whatever.

Before I knew what was coming

Oh doesn't sell rice anymore, she sells MLM products (you know,like Amway, Nuskin, Etc). She came to Central World for the Annual Expo and Makeover Day (2010!) and I was the lucky winner (by default of being a foreigner whose BFF held a makeup brush) of a makeover. Well, everyone passing by the expo was getting a makeover, but I was the lucky enough to have my picture taken 30+ times throughout the process of being caked up to look like a transvestite.

Giving my make up artist a real trusting/excited smile

I even was interviewed by my overzealous saleswoman makeoverater (direct quote to the cameraman: "When she came in she didn't really want much make-up [true] but now she's saying she wants more! She feels confident and and won't let me stop! [not true] She has pimples all over her face [no comment] and now she doesn't have to be ashamed anymore [thank you...]"). This lovely lady also explained to me that she makes 20,000 Baht a month, not because she's good at selling, she just knows how to explain the benefits of such a great system. It's not just products or a business, it's a lifestyle and would I like to jump on the wagon? No thanks, ma'am, but I will take some barley and rice capsules that will supposedly clear up my acne by breaking up the constipation you keep telling me I have.

Oh, why don't you just sell rice?
Before I put on my RuPaul leotard and wig


Massage, Madame?

Soundtrack: Footloose by Kenny Loggins (only the line "everybody cut everybody cut" over and over[in my head], for one of they key steps in loosening up the flow of energy along sens in the body is called cut and I repeated it along the body)

I always said that if I were to drop out of school and take on a trade skill instead, I would go for massage. I usually don't much care for massages given to me- most people aren't very good at dealing with my mini muscles on a little frame like mine. Still, massage, to me, can do a lot more good for someone than skin care, a haircut (arguable) or something to do with real estate. So, since I'm more or less bumming around Bangkok without a care in the world, I opted to take a course on Thai massage. Here:I only found out after I got in on day one that the school is not only run by an almost entirely Japanese staff, it is filled with almost an entirely Japanese student body (three girls in my class besides me, a man in the advanced class, and three other mystery Japs [is that a derogatory word? I don't mean it to be] who are not students or employees but loiter around the practice room, sometimes as massage subjects, sometimes jumping in to give them. The only non-islanders in house were Ajan Woot, the chubby co-instructor with a cartoony Asian smile, and Yolanda, an intermediate course flunkie who followed her Thai husband here from Switzerland seven years ago. Yolanda is a compulsive coffee drinker and smoker and she's got dishwater blonde curls that belong behind the register of a late night gas station mini-mart, but she laughs a lot and doesn't speak Japanese so I like spending time with her. My farang friend also speaks a decent amount of Thai, which means there was a good chunk of time when no English was spoken at all. Lucky me. What's the word for femoral artery again?

According to Wikipedia, Thai massage is all about air/energy and how it travels throughout the body via lines (sen). "Massage therapists [that's me] manipulate a handful of major sen lines by pressing certain points along lines." It's not that dough kneading business we do in America, this is Real Live Traditional Medicine.

I'll have to wait on uploading pictures of me personally doing massage (I only took a few and accidentally left my camera at school over the weekend) and the Japanese girls who, of course, took loads (no peace signs though :( ) haven't emailed theirs to me yet. So just in case you don't know what Thai massage is, here's what I'm supposedly qualified to do now:

Color coordinate with client and invade their personal spacePerform torture without client knowing they are being tortured

Have awful hair and help out a friendWho needs a resume when I have THIS!
(I had brought a whole stack of these 2x2 photos and I'll tell you what I looked good in the picture! Unfortunately, I used up my LAST TWO on my Lao visa (shaking my fist at Laos now) and had to take a new shot during lunch on the day of our exam. If you look close, you can see from my pink lips that I had just eaten a very spicy bowl of something ([it was guiddiaw and it was dericious].)