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  • The Making of a Home
    letters The life The neighborhood The neighbors the new tricks The obsessions the parenthood The pets The photography The possessions the pregnancies The relationship the talking The travelling The wedding RSS Atom Tuesday February 6 2007 By Sarah Seamstress The thing I was most excited to register for when we got married was a brand new sewing machine We actually have a very old Singer like 90 years old from Sandy s grandma but between the archaic German instruction manual and the foot powered wheel I thought something a little more modern would be better for a beginner At some point in my life I kind of knew how to sew I took home ec my mom had a sewing machine There was a denim prairie skirt constructed at some point But I hadn t wielded a sewing machine except for making some really bootleg pillow covers at Stacey s house in twenty years So I found myself a few months after the wedding with a new machine thanks McG a few ideas and a massive stash of sewing supplies inherited from my thrifty Grandma Ruth I m having great fun with it so far though not all my projects have been totally successful I absolutely lack the patience to be a top notch seamstress As I do with my knitting there have been some incidences where mistakes were covered up or fixed with brute force instead of patient redoing Like when I appliqued kids clothes In every instance I planned exactly what I wanted to do ironed the patches onto the clothes using permanent fusible webbing and then changed my mind tore the patches off leaving a sticky mess behind and ironed on new larger patches My biggest project so far has been my Thailand skirt Or as Sandy

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/299/seamstress (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    I distinctly remember travelling overseas as a kid and diving into a culture with wide eyed wonder I did the backpacking thing for six weeks after college and I felt the same thing though by that point it was slipping away I tried to hold on but couldn t It s an unfair trade innocence for experience and while each has its merits a surfeit of one will make you yearn for the other One unquestioned benefit of experience is the increasing clarity of purpose that each trip brings We learn on each successive vacation what time of touring and travel makes us happy and which parts drive us nuts Costa Rica taught us that a local s guide to the history and culture of a region is important to us and we re not going to be able to get that on our own Curaçao taught us there s a time when it s useful to simply shut off the syanpses and relax on the beach When preparing for Thailand we knew we wanted more of the former than the latter and we spent a great deal of time formulating the proper itinerary One big question was unanswerable and that was are we going to feel like tourists It s a question that I struggle with because even if I can determine the answer I m often not able to determine if it s a bad thing We know that when we travel we want the authentic experience not the experience that s pre selected for tender sensibilities And yet such a thing is impossible by design We are not natives we are tourists and short of learning the language and living in Thailand for a few months to fully understand the culture we re going to just be

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/291/on-touring (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    there between flights Calls to make reservations in the weeks beforehand were met with no answer which made us a little wary This ended up being a blessing for upon arriving at the Bangkok airoprt we discovered there was no way to get to the dayrooms We tried We stared at the airport map We asked some pleasant but rather unhelpful security guards We left baggage claim in search of it realized the hotel was back on the other side then snuck back in but still couldn t find it We finally realized we were not welcome there The dayrooms were in the international wing and were for international travelers which until we checked into our international flight not possible until 3 30 AM we were not On to Plan B the Novotel Aiport Hotel One long trek across the parking garage later we walked into the very luxurious lobby of the Novotel The clerk was helpful they clearly got this kind kind of crazy request all the time 75 for four hours she said resisting the urge to cock her head and wink We passed On to Plan C All nighter Woo Tactically speaking this made a certain amount of sense By staying up that last night we were getting a head start on the jetlag readjustment routine If we could stay up until 6 00 or so we d take our seats on our flight to Tokyo and immediately crash Then stay awake until Chicago get home around 6 30 PM and crash again It didn t exactly work out that way We made it through the one night without crumbling surfing the web in the Novotel s business center playing Scrabble and German whist at the airport coffee bar buying some last minute souvenirs in the glitzy

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/298/day-16-airports (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    the parenthood The pets The photography The possessions the pregnancies The relationship the talking The travelling The wedding RSS Atom Friday January 26 2007 By Sandy Day 15 Koh Samui Since we had spent a week in Curacao immediately after the wedding doing typical honeymoon stuff i e nothing but relaxing we made a deliberate decision that this vacation would be more of an adventure Thailand is a haven for the island paradise seekers but we were going to see the rest of the country Mostly We set aside the end of the trip for the restful lakehouses and the last day was dedicated to one thing the beach Koh Samui is one of the most popular islands in the country but because it s on the Gulf side and not the Andaman Sea side this time of year is its rainy season We somehow missed this nugget during planning but we didn t mind it meant fewer tourists We found a nice hotel on a secluded beach and swore to stay there for the roughly 27 hours we had before going home The first night a walk down the neighborhoody street and dinner on the beachside was delightful The following morning our last of the trip greeted us with sunshine and a beckoning beach outside our window We spent the morning there reading and swimming and of course Scrabbling Then it started to rain Not enough to cause misery but just enough to excuse ourselves from the beach and take a trip to the local supermarket for some plane snacks Not really a supermarket so much as a Thai version of Wal Mart Going to an American Wal Mart is a certain kind of death for me yet whenever we visit superstores like this in other countries it becomes

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/297/day-15-koh-samui (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    2007 By Sarah Days 11 14 Kao Sok National Park We spent Day 10 in Bangkok doing some last sightseeing and souvenir shopping The highlight an early morning trip to Lumpini Park to see hordes of Thai people doing Tai Chi swordfighting exercises fan dances and aerobics On leaving the doorman at the hotel said Oh you don t want to go there Boring He couldn t have been more wrong After an overnight train ride complete with drunk British girls a highly mysterious food service plan and a three hour delay The engine broke down and they have to send a new one from Bangkok a kind Thai woman told us we arrived in Surat Thani in the southern part of Thailand Total confusion ensued as we tried to figure out who was picking us up where we were going who was in charge Eventually we just decided to believe the guy who said Here This is your ride Go with them Since the drunk British girls weren t in the truck we were glad to play along One long and bumpy songthaew ride later we arrived at Treetops lodge Treetops you see because we totally stayed in treehouses High up in the trees During our day at Treetops rope swing tubing down the river and MONKEYS At Treetops we were sort of lumped along with another tour group mostly British dudes where we met Lindsay the first American we d talked to in over a week She and I played former high school debater geography and then she kicked our asses at Scrabble The next day the whole mess of us were transported to heaven er I mean the rafthouses Set on a pristine lake man made by a dam on the Kao Sok river twenty rafthouses bobbed

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/296/days-11-14-kao-sok-national-park (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    The travelling The wedding RSS Atom Sunday January 21 2007 By Sandy Days 8 9 Cambodia Once upon a time Sandy and Sarah were two unmarried kids who d never been to Cambodia and played with baboons Now none of these things are true We don t have a cameraphone shot of the baboons because holy shit here we were just inches away from the cutest batch of baboons you d ever seen We had just left the majestic palace of Angkor Wat arguably one of the most wonderous places on earth when our guide off handedly asked if we wanted to see the monkeys which came down from the trees at this time of day Angkor What We had monkeys to see Suddenly we were feeding bananas to baby baboons hopping around from branch to branch squeaking with joy the baboons not us though we just about could New rule every vacation from here on out is required to have some monkey time Oh yeah the temples Really are as stunning as we were lead to believe They say Angkor Wat took took several hundred thousand men 40 years to build and another 70 after that to carve out all the details That s what three generations And these were workers standing upright they d lay the bricks first then make the carvings across the entire wall using eleventh century tools We later visited an artisan shop where modern day carvers had the luxury of a workbench and machine crafted picks and hammers and it still took them months to finish one panel As our guide liked to say simple unbelievable I wish I had more time right now to tell the Ladies and the Gentlemens about our guide Sohpear whose knack for snort worthy neologisms was simple remarkable

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/295/days-8-9-cambodia (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    of handmade artifacts for ourselves and our friends as a way to remember our visit and support the Thai people We were not prepared by how much the Thai people expected this and how ingrained tourism is into their culture even at the backwater est of villages It s difficult to know how to react to this We started out this part of this tour at a couple of explicitly touristy spots an orchid farm and an elephant camp The elephant camp was especially fun we fed them some sugarcane and bananas whole bunches at a time shook hands with their trunks witnessed their morning bath in the river and watched a show where their talents as log pushers and lifters were on exhibit as well as one elephant s special skill with a paintbrush The capper was an hour long trip on the back of one beast through the jungle and river We named him Mr Grumpy The rest of day one involved a couple of visits to hillside villages The first to the Akha tribe was a very intimate visit it had the potential to feel like we were visiting a Third World on Display exhibit at the natural history museum but it didn t We walked around the village met with the villagers watched them mill rice and played with their pets It was humbling to be in touch with people so far removed from our daily existence Yet in some ways they re very close They weren t hesitant to charge me to take their photos and some of the little ones even knew some English phrases They had a new pickup to drive back and forth to town The second village was very similar sociologically yet exhibited one very major difference the town was riddled

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/294/days-5-6-north-country (2016-02-16)
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  • The Making of a Home
    had to wait five minutes for one to pass by Chiang Mai is where we started the guided part of our trip We met An at the airport and for the last two days he s been our leader translator and cultural guide for everything we ve seen in northern Thailand While it s possible we could have seen the same things on our own and possibly even read up enough to understand their significance we couldn t have gotten the local touch without An A quick rundown of the last couple days A day shopping in Chiang Mai walking the city and seeing the big temple Wat Phra Sing While walking through a relatively empty town at mid day we wondered where all the people were By 4 pm when we were lying by the pool nearly passed out from exhaustion we had our answer Tropical sun is hot An insanely exhaustive two hour Thai massage It s more than a massage it s also a quasi yoga session and bone rejuvenation routine We were rubbed turned twisted walked on pulled pushed and cracked I fear now that my body has felt what s possible it will force me to go back for more Hilarious dinner theatre Main lesson here The missionaries of the Church of Crappy American Dinner Theatre have done their job admirably The hilltop temple of Doi Suthep An shined admirably here explaining dozens of Thai traditions we d never have understood otherwise We were honored to be blessed by one of the resident monks who splashed us with water and tied a piece of string around our wrists for good luck As flooded with visitors hard to tell where the tourists stopped and the religious began as the temple was I still felt like we

    Original URL path: http://the.weisz.es/293/days-3-4-chiang-mai (2016-02-16)
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