Thursday, June 29, 2006

Art imitating life

Every morning when Megan wakes up, she also "wakes up" the people in her dollhouse. Usually, they begin their day in the living room, in front of the television. Despite the fact that I try not to let my kids do that, she obviously still wishes it was so. During the day, they imitate her activities - spending time in their rooms, eating dinner, etc. At night she puts them all to sleep again. I can't wait for her dolls to start doing things like cheerfully cleaning the house, bathing themselves unattended, playing quietly while mommy doll naps . . .

Work with me here

Last night some friends of mine and I started sharing our culture clash stories. I just have to share a few of them here:

One of our friends was in his doctor's office and wanted to make an appointment. He was informed that he could only make appointments on the phone. "But I'm right here now, so I can't I make an appointment?" Cannot. So he pulled out his cell phone and called them, and they had a conversation over the counter, on the phone, to make an appointment.

Another friend was in a restaurant and wanted tartar sauce to go with something - fries maybe? I can't remember. Anyway, they wouldn't give it to him. When pressed, they said it was because tartar sauce goes with fish, not fries. They finally brought the manager in and eventually my friend was able to get some, mostly because he made it obvious he wasn't walking away without tartar sauce.

The same friend was in the same restaurant another time and discovered he'd been charged for a larger drink than he wanted. When he pointed this out, he was informed, "Mandatory upsize." What? "Mandatory upsize."
"But I don't want the bigger one. I don't want to pay for the bigger one." It finally came out that they were out of the smaller cups, so they were upsizing everyone's drinks and making them pay for it.

We had other stories as well. They're all a blur, usually involving one of our friends getting comments like "company policy" without due explanation.

My brother comes in a few weeks (wahoo!) and he still wants to play the "Have it Your Way" game where, if you are able to conquer circumstances as some of my friends did in these stories, you garner a point. If at any time in the game you are caned for your actions, you lose your points. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Hello from Singapore

Our time in Minnesota was spectacular, so much so that it was good Erik was here so we had enough of a pull to bring us back. We missed him terribly, and he was jealous that we got to enjoy the 60 degree weather those last few days.

We were reminded of our Minnesota roots this afternoon in the movie Cars. I'm sure we were the only two people who laughed at the midwestern minivan who talked about going to Shakopee with an accent that would have done the folks back home proud. Since one of my pipe dreams is to be the voice of an animated character, I thought, "Man, I could have done that one!"

I've included various photos from our trip in no particular order for your viewing pleasure.

Color me happy to be in Minnesota!

This boy loves to fish!

Ew yuck

Ryan captures Ethan goofing around in the car

I just love this one that Ryan took

Gotta love a fire on a cool Minnesota evening

Check out the sweet motor on that boat!

What you can't see is how incredibly COLD it was this day - we lasted about five minutes at the playground

Graduation day for my brother Christopher, known to my kids as Funny Uncle Christopher

Looks like Ethan has outgrown the little car, but it doesn't stop him

One of many fun pictures snapped by Erik's brother, Ryan

Me and my friend Ginger

Megan, "Did you see how fast I went mommy?"

Ethan scooting to his heart's content

A common sight during our trip

Enjoying the outdoors in Minnesota

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Coyote show at 10 a.m.

My long absence can be explained by the fact that I am now writing from the other side of the world. I didn't mention it earlier because it was supposed to be a surprise that the kids and I were flying back to witness my brother's graduation from seminary and my mom's retirement (a surprise for my siblings, not my parents). In the end, they all knew ahead of time. So much for that.

But being back is always a joy. I love the feeling of grass under my feet, especially grass that's been cared for by my father's very green thumb. It's like a big velvet carpet. I thought the kids would enjoy getting out into nature, so I took them to Quarry Hill, a local nature center. I started talking it up on the way, telling them that we could walk in the woods. They asked if there would be animals in the woods. I said maybe. What kind? Lions? Tigers? Elephants? Sorry kids, those aren't really native to Minnesota. They weren't very impressed with nature.

Later, I took them to Oxbow park, which has a small zoo of animals that someone wandered into the woods somewhere in Minnesota and captured. I thought they might like seeing some natives. We walked past the coyote cage, but it was empty. Ethan asked me where it was. I said I didn't know, to which he replied, "He's probably doing a show." That would be interesting. I wonder if you could get a coyote to do any tricks. At the Singapore zoo they have a farm animals show which must be fascinating to native people, but for those who grew up seeing those animals in our backyards, it's not that impressive. I guess it's all about where you're from.

We're only here for another week. Give me a call at my parents if you know the number. :)