December 24, 2006

On the 3rd day of Christmas...

Our parents arrived safely Friday- 5 hours early! They've been here 3 days, so it's like its been Christmas for 3 days.

Day one
- We just went to KFC near home and had dinner. Friday, our water stopped working. Just the thing folks who have been traveling for 30 hours want to hear. Not sure what happened, only that its never happened before. Its fixed now and all are clean. Also, Sharon's mom couldn't wait and gave us a big surprise... our Wedding Album! It's been 2 and 1/2 years since May 28, 2004, and after overcoming hurricanes, a 4-state away move, and then another move across the world, we finally have it! And it looks AWESOME!

Day two
- We hit the big city- took the train into town like the cool 'city folks' we are and showed them our vast knowledge of the public transportation system. We did some Christmas shopping and went to an amusement park inside one of the malls. Back in October we came here but didn't ride. Of course the first thing Sharon's dad wanted to do was ride the roller coaster. No pics from that, but we got some on another upside down ride.

The earrings' position should prove the upside-downness of the moment.
Us with Sharon's parents in the 10-storey mall that holds the amusement park.

Day Three- a.k.a. Christmas Eve- Sharon and Mama spent most of the morning making the Durrance traditional Spritz Christmas Cookies...made every Christmas Eve since like 1984...
Before heading to our boss's house for a Christmas Eve get-together, Mom made her delicious lasagna for all to enjoy at the party. She's half-Italian, so naturally it tasted amazing despite having to find the ingredients in a foreign grocery store.
At our boss's house we exchanged "Secret Santa" gifts. Several people got very fun things (batik wraps, flashlights for climbing mountains, etc), but by far the best, in Sharon's opinion, was her gift to Justin. If you're a fan of Napoleon Dynamite then you'll laugh at the next picture. If you're not you need to watch it again and recognize the humor in the movie. If you've never seen it, go buy it now...make it a stocking stuffer for yourself.

All he could say between his tears of joy was, "I want that!" Sharon is enjoying her 32 piece set.

More pictures and stories to come. We hope your Christmas Day is great and that you remember the reason we celebrate- the birth of the King of kings!

Merry Christmas!

December 18, 2006

"Visions of Sugar Plums..."

are dancing in our heads!
Our parents are coming and will be here this Friday!
We're doing last minute preparations- getting beds for them to sleep on, painting, buying towels, grocery shopping, etc...
They'll be here before we know it...
Kaelyn knows how fast they're coming...

December 14, 2006

fresh cool

Our parents will be arriving in a week and a day. Even though this is December, we have ALL the windows open in our house right now, and a ceiling fan is going...I'm still sweating. Right now. As I type this post. I love the tropics.
To help our parents' visit to be a pleasant one we had these installed today. (you should be looking at the white boxes above the windows)
Now after they get out of their hot showers- provided by the handy-dandy electric water heaters we had installed a few weeks ago- they will be able to cool down, "fresh cool" down if you will, before coming downstairs where there is no air-con and where they will begin sweating again.
We do what we can.
In other news, I stepped in cat poo (see post 3 down for details) while taking the picture of the guy on the ladder. Good thing I didn't know it until I had wiped my feet on two of the rugs in our kitchen.

December 09, 2006

"6-inch ribbon curls Honey!"

"That's Impossible!"
"6 INCH!"
Today, while listening to the soundtrack to "Elf" and a few other Christmas favorites, I decorated our Christmas tree.
"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

First, we went to IKEA (wonderland I tell ya) to get all the supplies. They were out of white Christmas lights, so we hunted some down at this shop that was way too crowded and was playing some Christmas song about going to Jamaica.
"I passed through the seven levels of the candy-cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."

I put part of the tree together (artificial of course- although they DID have 10-foot live trees at IKEA- I prefer the reusable kind and a pine-scented candle) and decided to go ahead and put the lights on because the branches always scratch my hands. I plugged them in and BOOM!

The thing blew up in my hand.
"Son of a Nutcracker!"

Opening the next box I was more careful.
"Watch out, the yellow ones don't stop"

But they worked fine and I began putting them on the tree...until I got the poo shocked out of me and turned them off to finish the job.
"I'm a cotton-headed ninny muggins."

But of course, we were short on lights. So while Anthony went to go find more lights, I kept myself busy with this little guy...
"Call me an elf ONE more time!"

Cute huh? This one is real. And it smells like Pine-sol.
"You stink! You smell like beef and cheese. You don't smell like Santa."
Anthony triumphantly returned with more lights and I finished the tree...

"Do you see this place?!? Corporate sent professionals."
Most of our downstairs is blue- and with the success of a friend who went the blue and silver route- I decided to go with blue and silver (with a touch of lime's the tropics...looks me). Nice huh? Other than the fact that the lights blink and have a good chance of burning our house down, it looks great and helps this tropical foreign country feel even more like home.
"I thought maybe we could make ginger-bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice-skating, and maybe even hold hands!"
Christmas is here!

December 04, 2006

An Unforgettable Celebration

This is a pretty innocent looking party, right? A wedding perhaps, or maybe a big birthday party. It was a party alright, but the guest of honor never even left the house. His entire extended family + 2 very white people ate until their stomach's nearly burst, slept in front of the TV, then returned to eat some more. Kind of like Thanksgiving Day, except the TV was spitting out words I didn't understand and there were definitely no Lions or Cowboys playing. What were we celebrating? I can tell you what I was celebrating - the fact that I wasn't the guest of honor. You see, the guest of honor was inside recuperating from a little surgery. He was circumcised the night before. Oh joy. People do not get circumcised here until they're around the age of 10-12, and the entire family celebrates the occasion.

Here is Sharon cooking some "ayam merah" (red chicken). One of the ladies just handed her a big spoon, spat out some directions in a foreign language, and enjoyed the sight of a white woman cooking what had to be 5 or 6 cut up chickens in a ginormous wok. Luckily Sharon has already learned most of the cooking terms in our new language, isn't shy about attempting new things, and had several ladies to step in to help her.

Judging by the way these sweet ladies are smiling in this picture, you'd think that we were all dear friends or at least good acquaintances. Truth be told, we've never met them before, don't know their names and we didn't even talk to them at the party. As they were leaving, one of them looked at Sharon and asked, sheepishly, "Can take picture with you?" Ah, the life of a movie star... who isn't in any movies... who isn't famous... who only vaguely resembles a famous person (click here for proof)... but who must be famous because all white people are movie stars. These ladies would be sad to know that the only thing we've done in L.A. is eat at In-and-Out Burger, although we did stand next to Tori Spelling once while waiting for our bags in the airport. I know what you're thinking... "You've stood next to Screech's girlfriend?" Yep. Be jealous.

December 02, 2006

The Grass is Greener...

in my yard. It's true. We laid sod in our back "yard" and it looks great.
Apparently this little guy and his family think so too... I mean, look at the other yard behind him...yuck.
(We're purposely ignoring the fact in this post that most of our neighbors think the Americans are weird because they've even bothered with the back yard that no one really sees)
We put the sod down in order to do fun things like BBQ and I (Sharon) have even considered buying one of those kiddie pools to lounge in while reading.
But our plans have been postponed by this..

Yup. Cat poo. You may wonder about the odd color...we do too..but the plastic spoon in it should explain some of that.
Before leaving for the Highlands last week we put up this stuff to block our back gate, the gutter, and the bottom of the chain link fence...
Except we didn't buy enough.
And the Kitties let us know it too.
Can you count the piles?
Don't miss the one in the top right hand part of the grass.
Ya'll thought we were just being wimps about not BBQing.
We love living here. And having the grass that all the cats in the alley want to poo on.
It's a great compliment, but it's been received and now it's time to buy some more of the fence stuff.