Saturday, December 3, 2011

Busy Week

I was pretty busy this past week with photography projects.  On Sunday, some friends came over and I took a family portrait for them.  They wanted to get some photos during the pregnancy.

This week was the parental viewing for the ISB dance program.  I ended up going to nine or ten dance classes to take photos.  My original plan was to hit all the classes, but there were so many that I just decided to photograph some of them.  From a photography perspective, doing it on parent viewing day was probably not the best time.  The reason is that a few of the classes had a lot of parents watching, so I couldn't move around to get better angles without blocking them.    

On Thursday I led a photo walk for Nalin's class.  Originally we had planned to do this on one of the days that they were supposed to miss school because of the flood.  I started off talking to the kids a bit about photography, and then took them out in two different groups so that they could take photos.  I think that about 90% of the photos taken by boys included a basketball. 

Today I took some photos of the soccer league and the swim meet.  The swim meet was originally planned for mid-November, but was postponed because of the flooding.  

This afternoon I played around with taking photos of food coloring in a glass of water.  When you place a single drop in the water, it makes a pretty interesting pattern.  I need to play around with it some more before I share any photos of it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On Saturday the Girl Scouts helped the ISB flood relief effort.  The girls arrived in the morning and helped to back the relief bags with food and supplies.  Tim, Aleena and Nalin joined some of the girls who went out and helped distribute the supplies to those in need.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Multi Flash Exposure

I can find most camera gear that I need here in Thailand In fact, as far as retail stores go, Fotofile in basement floor of the nearby Chaengwattana Central is much better than any camera store in Cincinnati. Of course, in Cincinnati, I order my gear online.

 One thing that I couldn't get here, was a long (30 feet) flash sync cable. The cable allows complete control of the flash when it is not in the camera's hotshoe. Since I couldn't find the cable here, I ordered online and had it delivered to the house in the U.S. Tim brought it back with her.

Last night I put the cable to use and played around with the multi flash functionality of my Canon Speedlites (flashes).  The photo below is one single exposure of five seconds where my flashes fired once per second for a total of five times.


Girl Scouts in Thailand

The Girl Scouts of America are back in Thailand after an absence.  After the Girl Guides folded a few years back, there was no real equivalent to the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for girls here at ISB and Bangkok.  Thanks to the hard work of some ISB parents, the Girl Scouts restarted their council here.

Both Nalin and Aleena have joined, and Tim is Nalin's troop leader.  I have the secondary role of acting as the group's unofficial photographer.

Last Friday, the girls had their Investiture Ceremony to officially restart the council. I took photos throughout the event, and at the end took some photos of each troop. Aleena's and Nalin's troop photos are below. Not everyone from Nalin's troop is in the photograph, as some had to leave early, and others did not attend the ceremony.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not the Time

The government is currently working on a plan that could result in amnesty for former Prime Minister Thaksin.  While the details have been described by the Deputy Prime Minister as still "secret", there have been reports that the amnesty would include anyone with a jail sentence under three years.  The former Prime Minister left the country before he was sentenced to two years, and would seem to qualify.  As I understand it, the amnesty bill would be presented to the King for his signature.  It is not uncommon for the King to issue pardons on his birthday, December 5th.

Personally, I don't have really strong feelings either way about whether the former PM should be pardoned.  I certainly do not agree with the military coup that overthrew him, and I think it is certainly possible that his conviction was politically motivated.  I do feel pretty strongly that this is absolutely the wrong time to deal with this issue.  This is an extremely decisive issue amongst Thais, and to bring it up while we are in the midst of Thailand's greatest flood in fifty years is irresponsible.  Shouldn't the government's time and efforts be spent on helping the hundreds of thousands of Thais, many of them very poor, who have lost so much to the flood waters instead of securing the return of a billionaire.  

I understand that if he misses this window, perhaps he would have to wait another year for the King's amnesty.  So many Thai people have made so many scarifies during this flood, is it too much to ask for billionaire residing in opulent exile to wait a little longer?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1st Day of Soccer

Today the kids had their first games of the soccer season.  One thing that is really nice here, is that the games are all played at the school.  This was particularly good today, as all three kids had an 8:00 a.m. game.  With Tim in the U.S., it would have been a lot more difficult to get everyone to the game if we had to go to three different parks.

In addition to all playing at the same time, they all lost today.  Nalin and Aleena's games were relatively close, but Jacob's was a blowout.  I think that the score was 11-1, but it could have been an even bigger margin.  The other team was playing full throttle the entire game and Jacob's team couldn't do a lot to stop them.  It was a pretty big mismatch; whether that was because Jacob's team was missing some players or when they assigned teams they didn't assign them more evenly, I'm not sure.  

Towards the end of the game, Jacob's coach talked to the other coach to ask that maybe they take it a little easy not to keep running up the score.   The other coach apparently told him that it was part of the game and there was nothing wrong with it.  Hopefully the rest of the season turns out a little better.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Dry

While the water has flooded some new parts of Bangkok, we continue to be lucky in Nichada to have avoided any direct damage from the flood.  We've moved a lot of the stuff from the second floor down from the first floor, and also started removing some of flood prevention measures that we placed on the doors of our house.  There is still a chance that we could be impacted, but each passing day makes it less likely; at least I think so.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Back to School!

Much to the joy of many a parent of ISB students, the school announced on Saturday that it would reopen on November 8th instead of the 14th.  When I received the message, Aleena was in the room with me.  I started dancing around the room saying "yes, yes".  Aleena asked me why I was so happy because of a bad thing.  Actually, I think they are all ready to go back to school and see their friends.  I know that I am.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

See the Water, Photograph the Water

After a wonderful morning of e-learning (okay, it wasn't that bad), I set out on my bike to take a look at some of the flooding that is nearby the house.  The major road near us is Changwattana Road, and I knew that part of it was flooded a few kilometers from the house.

I rode my bike to Central Changwattana (a mall) and made my way against traffic on Changwattana.  Right after I got to Central I realized that I should have take the back gate from Nichada, as it was probably a kilometer or two closer to my destination, and would have allowed me to avoid riding my bike on the road or the rather uneven sidewalk.

The Klong Prapa (klong is Thai for canal) crosses under Changwattana road and is the source for the water processing plants that supply tap water to Bangkok.  The canal is protected from the flood water coming from the other side of Changwattana by a flood wall or dike.  Changwattana and the surrounding area on the opposite side of the canal are flooded, while the other side (my side) is not.  We've had some incidents in the past week where angry residents on the flooded side have destroyed parts of the dike in hope of getting some relief from the flood.  Fortunately they have been convinced to stop, as not only did it do little to relieve them, but it also contaminated the tap water source and caused some additional flooding.

As I approached the canal, I saw vendors of all sorts on the sidewalk and in the right hand lane (by the curb here).  There were vendors selling boats, water boots, water, eggs and all manner of supplies.  There were also army trucks with a very high clearance parked along the way.

I parked my bike on the dry side of the canal, and walked about twenty meters to where the road was flooded.  There were surprisingly a fairly large number of people there, including taxi cabs, motorcycle taxis, and something that I don't see every day, boat taxis.  You could hire a boat to take you into  and out of the flooded area.  The grocery store a few hundred meters down the road was open, although the road in front of it was flooded.  They had built a makeshift sidewalk out of crates and sandbags that let you walk to the grocery store.  Once on the sidewalk, you could walk (as I did) to the grocery store without getting wet.  The only problem was that to get on the sidewalk, I had to take one or two steps in the water.

If you didn't want to walk to the grocery store, you could hire a boat.  There were boats powered by all different types of power.  Some boats had motors, others were paddled, and one was simply pulled by a man walking in the water.

I stayed for a while and took photos of the area.  I returned through the back gate, which is a much safer and shorter route.

I am considering going back in the next day or two and hiring a boat to take me into the flooded area so that I can take photos.  If I do, I'll probably have Tim write a note in Thai explaining what I want to do.


There are more photos on Flickr.  If you click the photo, it will take you to the photo there as well as the rest of the flood photos that I have posted.

Sigh.... Another Week

Today, ISB announced that school will not restart until November 14th. Up until yesterday, they had been confident that they would receive a waiver from the government requirement that all schools in flood affected provinces stay closed until the 14th. The announcement stated that they would not be able to get the waiver in time, and I heard that some other private schools requests had been denied. So it's one more week of e-learning for the kids and me. Although it is hardly fun, I will say that being home was easier than when we were in Chiang Rai. I think the kids needed a chance to get away from each other for a little while.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back Home

We arrived back home from Chiang Rai today. Tim's brother Top picked us up at the airport, which was good because many people are having trouble getting a taxi to bring them to Nichada. The misconception is that the major road near us, Chaengwattana is completely flooded. This is simply not true, and there are several ways to get to our community either via the tollway or through normal city streets.

 Top drove us through the city in order to avoid part of the tollway which he said was slow moving due to the many cars parked there. Many people have parked their cars on the raised highways in order to protect them from flooding. While it is effective in doing that, it also means that the three or four lanes are cut down to one or two. On our way, we saw drove by some of the areas that are flooded. We stopped and I took a few photos like the one below. I was standing on the dry sidewalk on the "right" side of the sandbags.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elephant Ride

Yesterday, the kids took a few hours break from e-learning to take a boat ride and an elephant ride. On the way back we stopped briefly at a market that had the added of attraction of snakes and lizards with which you could be photographed.

Of course the kids wanted to be photographed with these creatures. The quoted price was 300 baht (about $10 per person per animal). Tim negotiated in Thai, and they agreed to 150 baht (about $5) total for all three kids.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Golden Triangle

Today we visited the Golden Triangle, that little corner of the world where Thailand, Burma and Laos intersect. The Golden Triangle was once a major source of heroine, but those days are supposed to be behind it now.

We took a boat ride on the Mekong River which separates the three countries and stopped briefly in Laos. For 20 baht (about 66 cents) per adult, we entered Laos without having to go through immigration or customs. We visited a small market for fifteen minutes and then returned back to Thailand.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A few photos from our trip in Chiang Rai. Due to Jacob not feeling well and my foot, I haven't ventured out much.

For some reason the photo isn't showing up correctly in the blog, if you click on where it says the image isn't available, you should be able to see it.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quiet Day

Today we pretty much took it easy all day, and spent most of the day at the hotel.  At lunch time, the family, minus Jacob, went to lunch at Sizzler in Central.  Jacob was not feeling well and was really tired so he stayed here at the hotel.

I ended up coming home shortly after lunch in order to avoid walking too much and aggravating my feet.  It was nice to to stay and relax.

My plan was to edit a bunch of photos while I was here.  To that end, I brought my tablet and the external drive with my photos.  Unfortunately, in the hurry of packing, I grabbed the wrong drive.  I can still see the photo previews in Aperture, but I don't have the photos themselves.  This means that I can do some screening of which photos that I will edit, but I'll have to wait until I get home to actually make changes and upload them.  I do have some photos on my actual laptop that I might play around with, and of course, any that I take while I'm here.

Tomorrow should be a fairly quiet day as well.  It's just nice to get away and not have to worry about the flood (although I follow the news).  A lot of people from Bangkok have gone to Pattaya and Hua Hinn to escape the water, but it's actually pretty quiet up here in Chiang Rai.    

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hong Kong Photos

Here is a link to the photos from our trip to Hong Kong this October. Nalin was adamant that we have no photos with Winnie the Pooh.
Hong Kong

In Chiang Rai

We arrived safely in Chiang Rai this afternoon. Our first stop here was to the hospital. Nalin's ear was bothering her, so we went to see a doctor. She is okay, but they gave her some drops. Part of the problem was that she had sand in her ear; probably from our trip last month. We are staying at the Meridien; a very nice resort that is part of the Starwood properties. Our original plan was to stay here for four days, but we are thinking of pushing it out until November 2nd due to the flood. I plan on spending most of my time at the hotel for the first few days to give my feet a rest. They feel a lot better, but I want to be able to run again sometime in the near future. I brought my tablet and the external hard disk with my photos on it so that I will have plenty to do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Plans Change

I decided to go to Chiang Rai afterall, given the apparent increase in the risk of flooding. We are probably going to extend our stay beyond our original plan of 3 days.

Nalin's Birthday Party

I know that I missed quite a few things, having not blogged much over the past few months. One thing that I did not blog about was Nalin's birthday sleepover. We ended up having the party in late September, as things seemed to be going on the weekend of her actual birthday. While I cannot claim to be an expert on ten year old girls, I will pat myself on the back for this one. For the evening's entertainment, I did a photo shoot with the girls as the models. They all really seemed to love posing with each other for the camera. Later that evening, I printed out a few dozen of the photos for the girls to take home. We gave them each two picture frames, and the girls sat around together, looking at the photos and selecting which one they wanted to frame. The photos can be seen by clicking on the Family Photos menu item or clicking here. It was really nice to get photos of Nalin with her friends, because she often doesn't want to pose when they are around. I want to get photos with her friends because at some point some of them will move away, and I think Nalin will appreciate them then.

No School Until Nov. 7th

The government ordered all schools in flood impacted provinces to remain closed until November 7th. This means that ISB will be closed an additional week. We would plan another trip, but between my foot problems, the trip to Chiang Rai,a and TIm's trip to the U.S. in early November, we are probably just going to make do here. Of course, if things get difficult here, then that could change.

Back In Bangkok

Nalin and I arrived back in Bangkok this evening; an unfortunate sour note to an otherwise very fun trip was the fact that her ear really bothered her after the plane ride. Tomorrow the family is going to Chiang Rai for a few days. My plan was to go, but my feet have been bothering me for a while. I think it started about a month ago when I was running. My shoes were probably worn down, but I did not change them until after my feet started hurting. During our first day at Disney, my feet hurt so much just standing around. I decided to give them a few days rest here while the family vacations up North.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hong Kong

With the flood waters threatening, we decided to more to dryer ground; grounds actually. Tim and Aleena are actually in China on a trip with her brother Top, while Jacob is in Krabi on a Boy Scout field Trip. Nalin and I made last minute plans to visit Hong Kong, and we took Yaow with us. The reason that we are scattered about is that originally my best friend Dave and his wife Robin were going to visit us. They were going to arrive on the 24th of October. That is one of the reasons that Nalin and I didn't go on the trip with Tim to China; we wanted to be here when they arrived. Nalin and I were going to stay home, and on Wednesday the entire family was going to to to Chaing Rai for a few days. As it looked like the flooding was going to hit Nichada, I decided to take Nalin somewhere. I tried to get flights to Chaing Rai and Chaing Mai, but they were booked through Sunday (today). I was worried that if I waited too long, I might get flooded in and not be able to go, so I booked the trip to Hong Kong. We arrived Friday evening in time to check into our note and go to bed. We spent all day Saturday at Disneyland, and Nalin had an absolute blast. It was really nice to be on a trip with just her. Normally she has to compromise with her brother and sister on what to ride and what to do; this time was all her choice. On Sunday, we visited the HK Botanical Gardens, Stanley Market, and the night market at Temple Street. We also saw the gatherings of Filipino maids all over the city. It's their off day, and tens of thousands of them gather together in the city; play cards, have picnics, and chat with their friends. Tomorrow we are back to Disney for a second go round. I gave Yaow the day off so that she can do a little exploring herself. Nalin and I should do just fine by ourselves at Disney. We head back Tuesday afternoon, so we might do something in the morning before we go. We might go up to the China Bank building.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


One of the many photographic challenges that I have right now is that my photos are in a lot of different places. I take some photos for the kids school, and depending on the event, I upload them to one of three different places; two Flickr accounts and one Picasaweb. I also have my own Flickr and Picasaweb accounts, as well as Facebook. This meant that there was no one place where someone could see all my photos. Well, there still won't be a place to see all of my photos, but when I was playing around with my blog a few days ago, I saw the ability to create additional pages. I am going to use these pages to setup links to many of my photos. That way I can direct people to one place to check. It does require a little more work on my part. I have to write some basic HTML and spend time identifyin In order to see the photos, just click on one of the links near the top of the page, such as ISB Photos or Family Photos. I'll add some more pages and continue to fill out the existing pages over the next couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Break

The kids are on fall break next week. Assuming the flood waters don't disrupt things, we have a bit of travel planned. Tim and Aleena are going to China for a few days, while Jacob will go on a Boy Scout Campout. When they return, we all will go to Chiang Rai with some friends.

No Flood So Far

We've been really lucky so far that the flooding that has affected so much of Thailand has not struck us. We are only a few kilometers from the Chao Phraya river; the main river in Thailand, so we were concerned that the water traveling from the North would hit us. While it's a bit too early to say that the threat has passed, I am feeling more confident about it as the days pass.

 Last week I started taking some precautions in the form of buying additional water and food that we didn't need to cook or refrigerate and stored it on our second floor. We have enough canned and dry food to last us for many days. In addition, I also brought up all the electronics and other items from our first floor, and made some crude attempts at making a barrier against the water using plastic, wonder board, and bags of rocks. My reasoning was that if we prepared and the water doesn't come, then we just lost a little time. We'll eventually eat the food and drink the water, so it's not like that money is wasted.

 One of our friends who lives in another part of the city actually was hit with the flood waters this morning when a dike broke near her house. Apparently she had to wade through some pretty deep water to get out. I think she is going to stay with another family here in Nichada.

 Tim has been really great in helping out the flood victims. She and I visited the old airport where they are collecting donations for the flood victims. After we dropped off some modest supplies, we went inside and she talked to one of the workers to find out what they needed the most. While she was talking to her, a reporter came up and started to interview Tim. I slowly backed away to get out of the shot. The reported asked who I was, and Tim told her. The reported said "I guess he doesn't want to be on camera." She was correct in her assessment.

 One of the supplies that they really needed was medicine. Tim called the government run hospital and bought a very large supply of some medicines. It was really a great idea to call them, because the government hospital must be subsidized, and it sells the medicines at a fraction of the price that you could buy it in a pharmacy here. That meant that we were able to buy a lot more medicine. I was going to go with Tim to make the donation, but a bunch of Nichada moms went with her. I think they all were donating something. I also decided to stay so that I could try to get the house ready in case the water reached us.

 Tim returned to the airport a third time, this time with Jacob. They helped to bag supplies. It was really a great experience for both of them. I think Jacob really felt like he was helping the flood victims. While they were bagging supplies, the Prime Minister shows up to see how things are going and pose for photos. She ends up standing less than ten feet from Jacob and Tim, with only a pile of medicine in between them. The reporters were all gathered around Tim and Jacob trying to take photos of the Prime Minister helping a girl pack some bags. The photographers were getting pushy and bumping into Jacob and Tim, and almost stepping on the supplies. Tim turned to them, and in a very loud voice told them that they were going to step on the medicine that people needed. Apparently the Prime Minister heard her, because right after Tim said it she got up and moved on.

Hopefully the water which has stabilized will start to recede soon.  There have already been 300 deaths, and they are estimating the damage at over 3 billion U.S. dollars.  There were some industrial areas in Ayuthaya that were pretty hard hit.  It's things like this that makes some of Thailand's self inflicted wounds look so pointless.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Over a Month

I realized that I have not posted an entry in my blog in over a month. I want to find a better way to integrate Facebook and/or Twitter with the blog so that I don't have to make multiple updates. In any case, one way or another, I'll be updating this blog much more frequently.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Busy Weekend

This weekend was pretty busy and seemed to go pretty quickly.  The kids had basketball games on Saturday, and I spent most of Saturday morning and afternoon at school photographing the different games.  Perhaps only half the work is done, as I shot over 2,500 photos and need to do some serious parring down.

After basketball, we went to a restaurant downtown named Audrey's to celebrate a friend's birthday.  Our party consisted of six families, twelve kids, and five or six iPads.  I'm not sure how good the Thai food was there, but the cheeseburger that I ordered was pretty darn good.

This morning the girls had early guests, as two of their friends stopped by at 6:30 a.m. for a few hours.  After finishing homework, we headed to Esplanade (a mall) to see the Gazillion Bubbles show.  We met up with Jay and Joom's family for lunch before and ice cream after the show.  We saw quite a few people that we knew at the show.  The kids like the show, and I thought it wasn't bad.  It's not something that I would enjoy seeing again but I did manage to stay awake for it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Basketball season started last weekend, and for the first time, we have all three of our kids playing basketball. Jacob and Nalin were both eager to play, but Aleena was much less so. She was even a bit less enthusiastic when she found out that the boys and girls played together in her division, and that boys outnumbered the girls four to one.

The last two years I was an assistant coach for Jacob's team. This year, instead, I volunteered to take photos for the league. Indoor basketball photography presents some challenges because of the general poor lighting and the fact that you generally aren't supposed to use a flash (at least at high school level and below). I have some pretty fast lenses and my camera actually handles lower lighting pretty decently so the challenges weren't insurmountable.

I ended up spending quite a bit of time at the games on Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon. Much more time than I would have spent if I just coached.

The last game was Aleena's, and during the warmup, I went to change lenses. I couldn't get the lens to screw in. I tried a few times, and then decide that I would turn a bit harder. The lens screwed in about 3/4's way and became stuck. I had to take the camera to the Canon repair service here in Bangkok. They told me that it would take one or two weeks (better than the month they quoted for my lens). La from Fotofile in the Chaengwattanna Central called over and got them to reduce the turn around time to 3 days. Fotofile may be the biggest Canon retailer in Thailand, and there shop in MBK is right next to the Canon repair service center. Those guys have a lot more pull in getting Canon to prioritize my repair.

Not only did La get the repair expedited, but Fotofile is going to pick it up for me so that I can pick it up at their shop ( a fifteen minute bike ride versus an hour cab ride). It cost me about $100 and a bottle of Scotch. I didn't have to buy the Scotch, but I figured that those guys went out of their way to help me out. The good news is I'll get the camera and lens back just in time for Friday's games.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Aleena is not usually anxious to do her homework, but one thing that she really enjoys is reading. Today I picked up a new lens for basketball games that does well in low light, so I decided to try it out while she was reading.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reunion of Cousins

Yesterday, Jacob, Nalin and Aleena had a reunion with many of their cousins. The last time Pam's, Tip's and Top's and our children were all together was six years ago; they've all changed quite a bit since then. The kids arrived about four o'clock and we started by taking some photos. Before the big group shot, I took some photos of brothers and sisters together. I took some photos of all eleven kids in my "studio". The challenge is that with eleven people in three rows, the shadows fall a bit differently than they do on smaller groups. Still, there was at least one shot that turned out decently enough. Just to make sure that I got at least one good shot, we went outside and took some safety shots. After photos, the kids played until the pizza arrived. Then, after eating, they played some more. The kids got along fabulously and everyone seemed to have a great time. Hopefully we can do it again before six more years have passed.
From Cousins

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aleena's Birthday

Yesterday was Aleena's birthday. She started the morning off talking to her friend McKayla on Skype. We are trying to have the girls talk together every week or two, as they both miss each other.

After breakfast, we went to the hospital to have some allergy tests done on Nalin and Aleena. They were both actually excited about it, because they hoped that they would outgrow some of their allergies; particularly those involving milk and puppies. The results were mixed. We can start giving them more things with milk in them, like cheese and baked items, but no puppies. In fact, the doctor told us that if we did get a dog, the allergies would continue to worsen.

The girls were getting the skin test, which involves the doctor scratching their skin lightly and exposing them to possible allergens. They each had perhaps fifty little scratches on their arms. I was sitting out in the waiting room with Jacob while Tim was in the doctor's office with Aleena and Nalin. I heard this wailing and screaming coming from back area. I went back, and sure enough, Aleena was screaming about how itchy her arm was. She wasn't allowed to scratch or even bend her arms, so Tim and I took turns fanning her arms. I'll say this, although Nalin had much stronger reactions to many of the tests, she took it like a trooper.

We ended up being at the doctor's office a lot longer than we thought because the doctor forgot to provide us an action plan for Aleena. The action plan tells the school what to do in case they eat something to which they are allergic.

Originally, Aleena said that she wanted to go to Sizzler for her birthday dinner. Later, she decided that she wanted to order pizza and eat it in front of the TV at home. She also decided that she would help Tim bake a cake instead of going to the mall to buy one. Shortly before dinner, her dear friends Nyla and Kaylee stopped by briefly to give her presents.

After dinner, we celebrated with cake and ice cream. By the time they showered, it was bed time for the kids.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School Started

After a long and mostly enjoyable summer, the kids started back to school on Monday.  The changes for Nalin and Aleena were relatively small as they are both still in elementary school.  

Aleena is now a second grader, which means that the school does not require someone to pick her up or drop her off at school.  It really doesn't matter though, because Tim and I ride bikes with the kids to school, and we'll still have Yaow or myself pick her up.  

Jacob is facing a big change now that he is in middle school.  He now switches rooms for each class and is not with the same group of people for nearly every class.  Middle schoolers have lockers and get to eat in the high school/middle school cafeteria.  In elementary school, the cost of lunch is rolled into the tuition cost, while in middle and high school, they have a school debit card.  Oh, and each student also gets their own Macbook Pro to use.  

The homework is supposed to increase quite a bit in middle school, but we haven't seen much in the first few days.  I'm sure that will change.  

For right now, I'm glad they are back in school.    

Friday, August 12, 2011


Tim's cousin Pam and her three children, Christopher, James and Molly are visiting Thailand. It's been a while since the kids have all seen each other. Today we got together for a Mother's Day lunch with Pam's family and Top's family.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Inner Mongolia

On the fourth day of our trip we flew to Inner Mongolia.  That morning we visited Heaven's Gate temple in Beijing and did some shopping.  Tim got some good bargains

Our flight to Hotho was delay an hour.  We flew out of the smaller airport in Beijing, and there were no signs as to when the flight would leave; none in English and none in Chinese, so we waited, not knowing when we would leave.  By the time we reached Hotho, we went straight to dinner and then the hotel.  

The next morning we drove to the grasslands for what we thought was going to be a fun filled day. Our plan was stay in a yurt, a traditional Mongolian house, watch a wrestling and horse racing show, ride horses and watch a show at night.  When we arrived at the grassland "ranch", it was apparent that this was going to be much less than we had hoped.  As it turned out, it would be a lot less, and in fact, it was awful.

While we did not expect the yurt to be as nice as a 4 or 5 star hotel, but we thought that it might be a decent place.  All of our other nights are in nice hotels (5 stars when available, 4 when not), and we've even stayed in very nice tents in Thailand in the past.  The yurts were not the traditional round tents that we expected, rather they were small round concrete structures.  They were very simple and basic, which in and of itself would have been okay, but the bathrooms smelled absolutely foul.  There was a kettle to boil water that had some dirty crust in the bottom.  They did not even have towels in the room, the guide explained that they were an environment friendly lodge.  That of course translates to "we don't want to spend the money on laundry".  In short, the place was an absolute dump.  Even the numbers painted on the yurts were done sloppily.  It looked like something a six year old would do, with paint running down the side of the door or wall.  

After a lunch that was not very good at all, we went horse riding.  Tim thought it was supposed to be included, and the tour guide said that it wasn't.  Tim tried to tell the guide to have the tour company pay for it, and we could sort it all out.  It took a bit of time, and a phone call to the tour company, but eventually we did that.  The riding was fun, but the guy in charge was an ass, screaming at us in Chinese any time he thought (sometimes incorrectly) that someone took their hand off the handle of the saddle.  

Our guide, Alice, means well, but she can be very frustrating to deal with.  She speaks English, but not very well.  I think that she has a lot of trouble understanding us sometime, but she has the infuriating habit that a lot of non-native English speakers have in that they won't say that they don't understand.  They seem to think that there is some kind of shame in it.  Seriously, what makes you look dumber, to ask someone to repeat or rephrase something or to completely screw something up because you did not understand what they wanted and pretended like you did.

Alice would also interrupt me when I was talking, saying "I know, I know", or "it's okay, it's okay."  Usually it was clear from her answer that she did not understand what Tim or I was saying.  I finally told her to stop talking and listen to me.  I'm not sure that she understood, but at least I was able to finish my sentences uninterrupted.  

I'll say this for Alice though, she does seem to want us to have a good time.  She's went and bought some things to try to help supplement the meals, as it was obvious that none of us really like the food.  

The horse riding and wrestling show was a farce.  Together they lasted less than ten minutes, and the participants seemed to be putting forth very little effort.  That was really disappointing.  When we were looking at our itinerary, we thought that would be a highlight that all the family would enjoy.  I think that this was clearly their intention.  After the show, we went on a home visit to a traditional yurt, which basically involved sitting in a room much like our yurt and eating some really awful traditional Mongolian snacks.

Dinner was similar to lunch in both some of the dishes and their lack of appeal.  Alice bought some roasted mutton skewers for us, and those were actually pretty tasty.  There was supposed to be a show at night that started at 9:00.  By 10:00 p.m., it seemed to be starting; with a Chinese kid in a yellow sweat suit doing some kind of dance to western music.  We went back to our room.  

In the morning, we all decided to forgo showers, lest we spend any more time in the repugnant bathrooms.  The kids even brushed their teeth outside.  After breakfast, we set out for the desert for a planned day of fun in the sand.  Our guid told us the trip would take 3 hours, the tour company told us 2, and in reality it took 6.  There was a traffic accident that contributed, but largely it was the fact that they would have parts of the highway shut down to 1 lane due to construction.  It would be shut down to a single lane for a kilometer, open back up to 3 for a kilometer, and then back down to one.  As bad as it could have been, the kids were absolutely amazing.  They got along together as well as they had on any trip.  The iPad helped of course, but Tim and I were both pleased and relived.

We arrived at the Gobi Desert, where the Chinese government has set up a tourist attraction, a few hours later than planned.  Once we arrived, however, we all had a very good time.  We rode a half kilometer long ski lift and then took a converted troop transport vehicle to a place for lunch.  The open top vehicles were formerly owned by the U.S. Army.  After an uninspiring lunch, we rode camels, which was actually more enjoyable than the horse back riding.  They have a lot of camels, and while the line was fairly long, it moved very fast an efficiently.  

As soon as we got off the camels, we went to a show about a traditional Mongolian wedding.  The show was really well done, with a lot of dancing and music.  The girls liked it a lot, but Jacob wasn't such a fan of it.  Maybe if there had been a sword fight over the bride, he might have liked it more.

After playing on the sand dunes, we went rode a train to a giant sand slide.  The sand slide was probably 200 meters in length, but I'm not sure.  You would sit on a little sled and use your hands as rudders to steer and to slow yourself down.  The kids went down 3 or 4 times each, while Tim and I did a couple each.  The ride down was fun, but the walk up in the sand was challenging.  

While in the desert, we wore sand socks, which were like large boots made of fabric that fit over your shoes were tied to your leg.   They actually did a really great job of keeping the sand out of our shoes.  

It was pretty late by the time we left the desert and headed to the city where we were spending the night. We decided that instead of eating the meal that had already been arranged, that we would just go to KFC.  Even though the KFC was out of mashed potatoes and about 3 other things that I tried to order, the kids still really enjoyed. it.  

The next day we drove to the Genghis Khan Mausoleum.  When I heard that we were going there, I really didn't think it would be that interesting but I was wrong.  The mausoleum was really well done.  We had an English speaking tour guide who was really good.  Apparently they have a rule that outside tour guides like Alice cannot accompany you and act as a tour guide inside.  The guide was knowledgable about the mausoleum, and spoke better English and was more pleasant to be around than Alice.

After the mausoleum, we had a long drive back to Hothot.  We had been scheduled to see another temple, but Tim and I realized that the kids were not going to enjoy it, so we had dinner at McDonald's and went to the hotel.  

The last day of our trip was pretty much all travel.  We flew from Hothot to Beijing, arriving at 10:00 a.m.  We ended up hanging out at the airport until our flight home at 5:00 p.m.  I was having stomach problems requiring me to go to the bathroom quite frequently.  While it is never fun on a trip, being at the airport where there were clean bathrooms that didn't require squatting made it much more bearable.  We did have lunch at Kenny Roger's Roaster.  The only two Kenny Roger's restaurant's that I've seen in recent memory have been in Singapore and Beijing.  

I think that we were all glad to get home.  In retrospect, the trip was not as bad as it sometime seemed at the time.  The food in Beijing was fantastic and the sites were great, it was just harder to enjoy them with the crowds.  Inner Mongolian food left a lot to be desired, as did our time at the grasslands, but the day in the desert and even the visit to the mausoleum were definitely highlights.  Still, I think I'm done visiting China for a while.  I might make an exception for Tibet, but other than that, I think there are other places I'd like to see first.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GW Photos

_MG_9714 by ebvImages
_MG_9714, a photo by ebvImages on Flickr.

Great Wall Photo


Great Wall & Summer Palace

Today we visited the Great Wall of China and the Summer Palace.  On the plus side, the weather was so much nicer than yesterday.  It rained most of last night and the temperature was moderate all day.  The bad part was that both places were incredibly crowded.  

We arrived at the Great Wall in late morning, visiting a spot outside of Beijing.  Our guide told us that the spot we were visiting was the most beautiful spot around. She told us that while the climb was steeper there, that there were many fewer people than at another nearby location where the train serviced.  The climb was a bit steep, but the steepness itself wasn't the problem.  Most of the time it was wide enough for two or three people; one lane going up, one going down and a "passing lane".  There was a solid line of people going up and down the wall.  Often people walking up would get tired and stop to rest.  Unfortunately they often didn't wait until they came to a wider spot.  They just stopped and the line backed up.  

Tim, Jacob and I walked up to the fourth tower, while the tour guide stayed back with Aleena and Nalin at the third tower.  The guide told us that the highest that she ever had people go was the second tower.  To be sure, there were other people at the fourth tower, and some even went higher, but it was much less crowded and much more pleasant the farther we went up.

In the afternoon we visited the Summer Palace.  My hope that it would be less crowded than the Great Wall was quickly dashed as there were people every where.  To add to the fun of the crowd, there were merchants selling annoying whistles that both vendors and customers seem to enjoy blowing very loudly.  At the end we took a boat over to another part of the palace that was less crowded.  That was much more pleasant.    

Taking photos in crowds like these presents some challenges.  There are spots where you can wait your turn and take a photo.  Other times you have to just wait until everyone has moved out of the background and quickly take the photo.  The kids did  a really nice job of posing quickly, at least most of the time.  One good thing is that I knew going in that I wasn't going to get a great photo of the Great Wall, Forbidden City or any of the other sites that we would see.  I'm on a family vacation.  We usually visit places when the light isn't at it's best.  In most places, putting a tripod down would be very difficult as it would get bumped or trip people.  Even if I did claim a space, getting a shot without masses of people would hardly be possible.  If I wanted to do a real photo trip, it would have to be without the kids, and I'd probably travel in the off season and arrive early in the morning.  Maybe some day, but I'm not sure I'm up for another trip to China for a long time.

Tomorrow we are visiting Heaven's Gate Temple and then flying to Inner Mongolia.  I hope it is less crowded there.  Truthfully, while I know how lucky I am to get to see so much of the world, a good part of today was not enjoyable.  There are just people around you everywhere, and the truth is that Chinese views on politeness and personal space are very much different than those in the U.S. or even Thailand.  I guess that means that I get to experience the culture very close up.  

Toothless Wonder

Aleena lost another tooth yesterday.  She has now lost a tooth in three different countries: Thailand, the U.S. and China.  While I cannot be certain, I am pretty sure that I lost all of my baby teeth in the town where I was born.  Such a different life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tiananmen Square

The hammer and sickle statue in the background was erected earlier this month to celebrate the 90th anniversary of communism in China.

Chinese Food

One thing about our trip so far that I've really been happy about is the food.  The hotel breakfast is not spectacular, but the lunch and dinners that we've had so far have been really good.  We booked the trip through a travel agency, and the price included flights, hotels and all the meals.  Our tour guide told us that we must have paid a bit more for our package because we were eating at nicer restaurants than usual.  We weren't stopping at the restaurants that the tour buses generally stop at.

Two of my favorite dishes so far have actually been vegetable dishes.  Last night we had some green beans than had been pan friend and sautéed with garlic.  They were so good we ordered a second bowl.  At dinner this evening, they served a mushroom dish that thought was some kind of shell fish.  It was really good.  Hopefully the good food continues.  

Funny Things

Tim asked our tour guide today if they had a Chinatown in Beijing.  Almost immediately after she said it, she realized what she had asked and started laughing. I guess it was a day of strange questions, because Nalin asked if she had cheek bones.  

In China

We just finished our second day of our week long trip to China.  Yesterday was largely spent traveling.  Our flight arrived at 3:30 p.m. Beijing time, and by the time we cleared immigration, customs, and collected our baggage, it was time to go to dinner and then to the hotel.

This morning we visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  Tim and I had visited both in our trip in January, and this trip was very different.  The first difference was the temperature.  In January, the temperature was below zero Fahrenheit, while today it was over 90 degrees.  The crowds were a lot bigger today.  While neither Tiananmen Square nor the Forbidden City were empty in January, the crowds were probably a quarter of the size.  I don't remember noticing the line to see Mao's Mausoleum on our last trip, while today it stretched the length of the square, twisting on itself.  The guide said that the wait was probably more than ninety minutes.  

The girls weren't really having a great time with the crowds and heat.  At their age, I'm not sure if I enjoyed seeing sites as much either.  I'm not sure if Jacob was having a great time, but he was really making an effort to not complain and to make the best of a hot day.

After lunch we visited the Lama Temple and then took a break at the hotel for an hour before we went to dinner.  After dinner, we saw a dance show of the history of Beijing.  Tim and I saw it during our January trip, but the kids hadn't.  Interestingly, the show had been full when we came in January, but tonight less than a quarter of the tables were occupied.  The girls really enjoyed the show which at least ended the day on a positive note.

Tomorrow we are visiting the Great Wall, which is something that all three kids are looking forward to doing. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hawaii - Extended

Originally, our Hawaii family vacation was scheduled from June 23rd through July 5th.  A few days before we were to return, Tim and I decided to extend it and stay in Oahu another week.  When we get back to Thailand, I'll update the blog with some words and photos.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Paparazi

As I've written before, a few weeks ago, our family went to Hua Hinn with five other families with whom we've become good friends.  One of the moms who was part of our group is actually very well known in Thailand.  Tik does a lot of PR work, and has appeared in many magazines and on TV.  She is definitely part of Thai's high society.  

When we were on the beach, I was taking photos of the kids and adults.  Tik posed for a number of photos with other people from our group.  She was wearing a bikini on the beach, and was a bit concerned that someone might see it an think it was inappropriate.  Tik asked me not to post the photos on Facebook, and while I teased her about it, easily agreed not to post them.  

When we returned home, I posted a lot of the photos from my trip.  I didn't upload any of the ones where you could see her in the bikini.  The next day, Tik told me that I could post the photos of her, but asked that I not tag them with her name so that only our mutual friends could see them.  I got the impression that Tik not only didn't mind that I posted them, but that she actually wanted me to do so.  

I posted the photos, and Tik and a number of our friends commented on the photos.  In one shot, our friend Jack was standing in between Tik and our friend Joy.  Apparently a reporter who knows Tik saw the photo.  He cropped Joy out of the photo, so it looked like Jack and Tik were alone together on the beach.  He posted it on his FB account and called her to ask about it.  A number of other Thai magazines called her asking her about the photo.  Tik explained to them that she was on a family vacation with friends and that the photo had been cropped and asked them not to publish it.  She called me and asked me to take the photos down, which I did.

I'm not sure about the law in Thailand, but in the U.S., the magazines would have no right to use the image unless I gave it to them.  The copyright lies with the photographer, not with the subject.  If they had published it, what I did would have depended on my friend.  If she was okay with it, I might have let it go.  Maybe I would have contacted the newspapers and attempted to get money from it.  If they published it against her wishes, maybe I would have helped her sue them.  

Who would have thought that such a simple photo would end up being a big deal. 

Oh My Photobook

I have taken a lot of photos in the last few years.  I have them organized in Aperture on my Macbook, I've published them on Facebook and Flickr, and printed a few hundred of them.  The one thing that I have been wanting to do for a while is to start making photo books with them.

A few years ago, I created a photo book of our family for the year 2008.  The photo book was of average quality, and most of the shots in it were average at best.  Since my photography has gotten a bit better since then, I was eager to see how one would look now.

In May I decided to make a photo book for Aleena and her friend McKayla as a going away present.  The girls have been best friends for over three years, which was more than have of their lives.  Fairly frequently I get an idea like this, but I just procrastinate too long to get it done.  This time was different; more than a month before McKayla was going to move, I had created a photo book in Aperture and taken it to the camera store, Fotofile, in Central Chaengwattana.  This is the store where I purchase most of my camera supplies.  In the past year or two, I've probably spent $5,000 - $7,000 there.  While I am certainly not their biggest customer, I have spent enough that a lot of the employees know me by name and treat me pretty well.

Fotofile does not actually do the printing in the store.  They take the order and send it to a shop somewhere else in the city.  When I placed my order, I selected the A4 size (roughly equivalent to US Letter).  The book arrived a week later, and was size A5; roughly half the size of A4.  The nice large book that I had expected was tiny and flimsy looking.  To add insult to injury, they told me that the price was $55, instead of the $60 for the larger book.  I walked out without buying the books.

Tim called the shop for me and they explained to her that the photo quality wasn't high enough to print the larger size.  She explained that then someone should have called us (they had her number and my email address on the order) prior to printing, since the order clearly said the larger size.

So I created another version of the book.  This time instead of exporting as a PDF, I exported the original files and photobook as a Aperture library.  When I dropped it off, the shop tried to get me to buy the original books at a reduced cost, but when I told them that I wasn't interested, they ended up giving them to me.  Two or three days later Tim gets a call saying that they cannot use the Aperture format that I provided, and that I should export the photobook as a PDF X file.

On my third attempt, I brought three different photobooks.  As with each time, it takes the guys at Fotofile fifteen minutes to write up my order.       A few days after dropping it off, Tim received a call from the printer.  It turns out that it wasn't the quality of the image that was causing the issue, but rather that I had selected a smaller size when creating the photobook.  When I created them in Aperture, I didn't realize that I had selected a smaller size.  I had continued to modify the same book each time.  This was the first time that they told me what was actually wrong with the books.  While I was grateful to know, at that point I was so frustrated that I just canceled the order.

I had pretty much written off going back to the shop to order photobooks when they called Tim and explained that the print shop owner would be in the store.    So Tim and I went over and met with her.  It was actually very beneficial.  She was able to answer a bunch of questions that I had.  I had brought over yet another book to print, and she pointed out a few things in it that I would probably want to change.  Additionally, she was selling vouchers for the books that saved 30-50%.  I ended up buying a bunch of vouchers, and was pretty confident that things would go more smoothly.

After I went home I fixed the suggestions that she gave me, and the next day I returned to drop off the modified file.  The two people who usually help me at the shop weren't there.  I had this feeling that something would go wrong, but an employee wrote up the order, and everything seemed fine.

Today I stopped by the camera shop to check on something and I asked if my book was ready.  It had been six days since I dropped it off, so I thought it would be ready any day.  I was hoping to see it before we left for Hawaii early Thursday morning.  One of the employees called the printer, and after a few minutes, it became clear that there was a problem.  After another ten minutes, I saw the manager walk over to one of the locked cases and pull out a plastic bag containing the order form and the CD containing the file with my photobook.  The person had taken my order last week and then put it on the shelf and let it sit for a week.  They apologized and told me that it would be ready on Friday, to which I told them to take their time because I would be gone for two weeks.

I was very annoyed, but not surprised by this latest problem.  If there had been a problem at the printer that had delayed the book, I would have been okay with it.  The fact that it sat on a shelf for almost a week just really pissed me off.  Before I had asked about the book, I was ready to buy a $200 memory card for the trip.  As I was leaving, I told them that I didn't want it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Thailand will have their much anticipated elections on July 3rd.  The Peau Thai (red shirt allies) are led by Yingluck Shinwatra, the younger sister of deposed PM Thaksin Shinwatra.  Recent PM Abhisit will lead the Democrat party.  Of course there are also many smaller parties.

Ms. Yingluck has apparently grown in popularity in recent weeks.  Her brother has described her as his "clone".

There is a very good chance that Thailand will end up with a coalition government.  It is very likely that the Peau Thai part will win the most seats, but will not win enough to form a government by itself.  The question then will be whether they can ally with some of the smaller parties to form a government.

I need to get some photos of the campaign signs in the next few days.  Some of them are really bad.

We will be out of the country during the election.  Hopefully things will be calm upon our return.

Jacob's New Haircut

_MG_4729 by ebvImages
_MG_4729, a photo by ebvImages on Flickr.

Busy Summer

While this is going to be the first summer that I haven't stopped back in Cincinnati since we've been here, it will be a pretty busy summer for traveling.  Last week we did a short weekend trip to Hua Hinn.  Tim leaves on Saturday for a four day trip to Bali with a few of her friends.

Two days after Tim returns from Bali we go to Hawaii for two weeks.  After we return in the beginning of July, we might take a few short trips around Thailand before we go to China for a week.  This will be my third time in China this year.  This China trip will include things that the kids want to see, like the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, etc.

More Internet Woes No Mo?

After we returned on Sunday from our trip to Hua Hinn, I found that our Internet service was having issues again.  Finally, I got someone from True (the provider) to look at it today.  My connection would intermittently go out, and when it was on, it was only 10% of the normal speed.

I'd reset the router dozens of times and rebooted just to make sure it wasn't something that I was doing.  The technician saw the problem, and then plugged his own router into my connection and it performed normally.  He told me that the problem was my router.

So I went over to Central and bought a new router.  When I tried to install it, I had issues, not realizing that unlike the previous device which serves as both a modem and a router, the new one only acts as a router.  Before I figured that out, I plugged the old one back in and it seemed to work just fine.  Eventually I got the new one to work as well when I found another cable modem that I have from when we moved in.

The problem is that the return policies here in Thailand generally suck.  Unlike a lot of places in the U.S. where you could return something you didn't need shortly after you buy it, here that is much more problematic.  In other words, I probably own the new router for keeps.  It is supposed to have a better range and has a couple of different wireless frequencies, so it's not all for naught.

Monday, June 13, 2011


_MG_4517 - Version 2

Hua Hinn

Tim and I took the family to Hua Hinn and stayed at the Hyatt Regency for the weekend.  We made with trip along with five other families.

The weather was mostly nice, although it did rain for a brief time each day that we were there.  Fortunately, the rain generally only lasted an hour or so.  

Except for dinner and some shopping, we didn't leave the hotel very much.  The have a great pool, a nice beachfront, and even a couple of game rooms for kids.  They also have plenty of places for adults to sit and relax.  

Jacob is always a bit of the odd man out on these trips.  Each family has a girl in the first grade (well, moving to 2nd grade now) at ISB, and they are all friends.  Nalin also gets along very well with the girls.  There is one other boy who is two years younger than Jacob.  They actually got along pretty well on this trip; playing video games together.

Tim, the boys and a dad went sailing on a catamaran for an hour each day.  They had a really good time, and Jacob is already planning on buying one of his own so that he can rent it out and make money.  Jacob definitely has an bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, as he comes up with lots of ideas for businesses.  Of course, it's better that these are still in the idea stage.

On Sunday, the girls rode on a "doughnut" boat.  It consists of a giant inter-tube with three seats in front, and a place for a person to kneel and ride in the back.  A jet ski pulls the boat through the water.  The ride is a lot of fun; fun if you are one of three people in the front seats. The person in the back has to stay on by holding on to handles.  Of course the girls rode in the front seats.  On the first trip, I rode in the back.  Very early on I could feel my arms burning, particularly when we hit a wave or even worse, when the jet ski would spin around and cause the doughnut to go in a circle.  During those moments, I realized that centrifugal forces is a real bitch.  

By the end of the ride, my arms were like jello.  Fortunately, one of the other dads is a fitness expert and is very good shape.  Jack took the next three shifts on the boat, and by the end, his arms were tired as well.  

I took a bunch of photos.  I'm having some Internet issues, so there will be more that show up in the blog later.  Some photos I agreed not to put online.  One of the moms is pretty well known in Thailand and she doesn't want photos of her in a bikini to get out.  She doesn't look bad in a bikini, it's just a cultural thing.  Of course that doesn't prevent me from teasing her that I'm going to sell them to a Thai tabloid.  





Thursday, June 2, 2011

Crazy Hair

This week things are wrapping up at school. Tuesday was crazy hair day in the elementary school, and Jacob and Aleena participated. Nalin decided not to do it this year.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Out of Stitches

Nalin had her stitches removed today.  Last week, while Tim and I were in the city, Nalin slid when climbing a tree and had a nasty cut on her leg.  A neighbor's driver ended up driving her to the clinic and then to the local hospital as we fought our way through traffic to get back home.

She ended up getting 24 or so stitches and had to stay in the hospital overnight.  Nalin wasn't exactly devastated that she couldn't ride her bike for a week, as that meant we drover her to school.  Yeah, the eight minute ride is a real killer.  Well, she seems to think so sometimes.

With the stitches removed today, she is able to run, but still no swimming or biking for a week.  She'll be able to swim just in time for our trip to Hua Hinn on June 10th.


_MG_3976 by ebvImages
_MG_3976, a photo by ebvImages on Flickr.

Last night Jacob received his Tenderfoot rank with the Boy Scouts. Actually, he earned Tenderfoot and the Scout (one below Tenderfoot) ranks. All the WEBLOS II's who moved to Boy Scouts this year earned a rank.

The boys received their ranks at the Court of Honor ceremony. They started off with a buffet dinner catered by Que Pasa, the local mexican restaurant. It was a huge hit with the kids, and even Tim liked it this time.

After the meal came the rank and merit badge awards. I was a bit concerned that it might drag on after a belly full of food, but it was really well run and seemed to go by very fast.

Tim and I are both happy to see that Jacob is embracing the Boy Scouts. We think that what he learns there will not only help him now, but also later in life. Congratulations Jacob.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving On

Today Jacob had his Moving On ceremony as ISB. The ceremony is a sort of graduation ceremony, where the kids move on from Elementary School to Middle School.

The ceremony was very nice. The ninety minute event included some remarks by school dignitaries, each of the 154 5th graders receiving their certificate, obligatory thank yous and a nice slide show with photos of the kids.

Tim and I arrived about twenty-five minutes early, just in time to find two seats in the center front row. I brought my camera and 70-200 lens (the big lens), so I had a great spot for photos. Actually, I did move a bit when they handed out certificates so that I could get a better shot of Jacob and some of his friends.

While the kids no doubt enjoyed the ceremony, I think they really were looking forward to the pool party afterwards. Today and tomorrow pretty much consist of one big class party. Not a bad way to close out elementary school.






Wednesday, May 25, 2011


_MG_1348 by ebvImages
_MG_1348, a photo by ebvImages on Flickr.

I like how Aleena's hair almost looks blond with the sun behind it. For a few seconds, I guess Tim had her wish and had a blond haired child.

Single Bound

_MG_2141 by ebvImages
_MG_2141, a photo by ebvImages on Flickr.

During the Panther Paws Track & Field events, Aleena had the chance to jump the hurdles.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yes We Can Dance

This past weekend, Nalin and Aleena participated in the ISB After School Dance performance titled Yes We Can Dance.  Both girls and their fellow dancers did a great job.  Its really amazing to see how far they've both some in the last two years of dancing.  Two years ago, Aleena watched the assistants for her moves during the show.  This time, she knew them herself and did well.

Nalin really impressed me.  She was so much more confident and performed so much better this year than she had in year's past.  It was really great to see her improve.  At the beginning of the year, Nalin had signed up for jazz and tap dancing.  She stopped tap after the first semester.  She was so excited about this year's performance that she says that she wants to sign up for three different sessions next year.  For some reason she seemed surprised when I told her that it was fine.  My guess is that when it comes down to it, she will sign up for jazz and street funk, but pass on ballet and tap.

I worked the right door backstage for Friday's performance.  It was actually fun to see the girls getting ready for their big performances.  They practice all year, and this is their one big chance to shine.

Before the show, I snapped a few photos of the girls sitting and listening to instructions.  Of course the light wasn't great and I didn't use my flash.  I was going to toss them, but then I played around a little and was happy with how they came out.

_MG_1136 - Version 2

_MG_1132 - Version 2

After the show, I grabbed Nalin and her cousin Pam for a few photos. Aleena came along and I got her with the two, but I didn't see their cousin Pinkie, who had also performed.