Wednesday, November 02, 2005

November 1st

Today Arthur and I went to work at the MCC office as usual and the boys went to school.  But our usual routine is not predictable so let me tell you some of the interesting things that made today different from most days.  

My parents are visiting from Chiang Mai and so we had breakfast with my Dad.  (My mom likes to sleep in.)  The boys then hopped on their bikes and pedaled to school.  

At work, we caught up on the news in the newspaper and with staff, checked our e-mails and made some phone calls.   At about 9:30 the electricity went out.  This was not entirely a surprise because they are working on some central power lines and they publish outages in the newspaper.  The boys’ school also was prepared for the outage.

We did some cleaning and sorting of files, papers and magazines because our computers were no longer useful.  Arthur wistfully said that he’d like to play a game of Scrabble with Mom and Dad because there was really not much else to do.  So while I held down the fort at work, the three of them played at home in the patio.  My dad won.

We all had some soup for lunch and then decided that it was time for Mom and Dad and I to run some errands.  We first went to the Thai embassy to pick up Mom and Dad’s passports with their new 60 day Thai visas in them.  Then we went to a handicraft store to pay the $60 down payment on a quilt that Mom has ordered for their house in Chilliwack.  While we were there, Mom and I also bought two quilted items.  I got an apron and a tea cozy.   (I have plans to make a tea cozy but the plans have been in my head for about 10 months and there they remain.  Better to buy one ready made for $1.)   Dad was there but today he was not a very enthusiastic shopper.  Maybe the Scrabble game victory was still whirling around in his head.

Then we headed to the Morning Market (Talat Sow) to buy some fabric for Halloween costumes.  There is a school party on November 5 to celebrate Halloween and fairy tales.  My mom has been persuaded to sew costumes for the boys.  Conrad will go as Zorro and Erik as Lord Gareth (an imaginary character of his own).  What that means in terms of costumes is lots of black.  We also picked up some elastic for the mattress covers that Mom sewed yesterday for the boys’ beds.  Then we went upstairs and got some black soccer socks which Conrad will pull over his shoes to look like boots.  After all that we were thirsty and we went to my favorite iced coffee maker.  I know what you’re thinking!  I don’t drink coffee but I do like iced coffee from one stall in the morning market.  I’ve been experimenting with iced coffee elsewhere but this is the only place in the whole world were I actually like the iced coffee.  The coffee is made with thick, strong coffee that is run through a “sock” filter.  Then sweetened condensed milk is added along with other milk.  This is all poured into a plastic bag full of ice.  She sticks in a straw and voila!  Iced Coffee.   We first ordered two bags of coffee for the three of us but after Mom and Dad tasted it they decided that they didn’t want to share after all.  We sipped it there for a while and then walked to the car.

Earlier in the afternoon, while we were gallivanting, my cell phone rang and it was Erik calling from school because he felt sick.  He only had one class left of the day (not a test) and then an after school activity.  I said he could come home as long as he told Conrad what was up so that Conrad wouldn’t worry when he didn’t see Erik at the end of the day.

So when we got back to the office where we park the vehicles, I went home to check up on Erik.  The electricity was still off.  He didn’t seem too sick but was definitely not 100% Erik.  I gave him a Tylenol and then the electricity came back on.  I headed back to the office where I did a few things until Jane met me to go to a meeting.

Our meeting was the opening ceremony of the Lao Handicraft Festival.  We arrived and the conference center and had to park EXACTLY where the parking official indicated.  I wanted to park closer to an entrance but he used his little whistle and had me move.  Then we put our purses through the scanner and walked through the metal detector.  We signed our names and received English copies of the speeches that would be given in Lao and we each got a handmade flower to pin on.  Then we sat down near the back.  It was great to have Jane there because it was rather boring.  Jane is an MCC volunteer working in handicrafts.  We have been friends with her and Larry (her husband) ever since Sudan and now they are with MCC in Laos.  We had lots of time to chat as the speeches went on.  Then there were awards for winning handicraft items.  We didn’t get to see the winning items but hope we can do that tomorrow.  After an hour and a half, we thought they were getting ready to cut the ribbon and let us into the actual displays but we were wrong.  We sat for 20 more minutes and left just as they were beginning to give certificates to the 15 sponsors of the event.

Upon arriving home, I checked on Erik who seems to have rallied and then looked into the oven to see what was for supper.  Noticing that Arthur had everything under control I changed into more relaxing clothes (I had been wearing silk for the opening ceremonies) and washed up for supper.

Supper was excellent once again.  We have a great cook who goes out of her way to make us happy.  We had taco salad, french fries and chicken cordon bleu with fruit for dessert.  No one left the table hungry.  Not even Erik who by this time was feeling better.

After supper, Erik, Conrad and I headed to the office to use the computers for their homework.  Right now Conrad is visiting the web-site of his teacher and writing up some kind of response to him.  Erik is typing up an assignment about ancient Egypt.  I’m working on this.

I think we’ll stay here for about half an hour more and then we’ll head home.  The boys like to read a bit before bed and then they have a shower and either chat or read until 9:30 when it is quiet time.  I’ll probably chat with my parents and Arthur unless they are watching a movie or something.  Our evenings are pretty quiet on school nights.

Well, that was Tuesday, November 1st, 2005.

Posted by Phyllis