Archives for category: Imperfect America

Man, these days I just can’t keep from crying.

Or maybe it’s the season finales for all my favourite shows: Brothers & Sisters, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty.

I mean, didn’t you just die a little from the way Christina sobbed as she tore off her wedding gown, going, “I’m free, I can’t breathe” after counting off all the things Burke took with him when he left?

Didn’t you choke the tears back when the lyrics of West Side’s Story’s Somewhere echoed through the halls of the school as Betty consoled her sister who’s fiance had been shot in a store robbery?

Did your heart not rip when Nora and Kitty sent Justin off to Iraq at the airport?

Did you not whimper a little seeing Ando leave Hiro to finish his quest for him?

As much as I love the summer after a miserably cold year, I hate when all these shows take their yearly sabbatical. And as if saying goodbye, if for a few months, to my favourite shows isn’t enough, the writers REALLY worked their tearjerking prowess nicely this year. I was beside myself five minutes ago, imagining how it must feel to send my child to war.

Or maybe I’ve become such a wimp I can’t even watch a commercial for Drapolene without falling apart.

Sigh. Good TV is hard to beat, I’ll tell ya that.

(sorry, that was the gamer part of me. That actually means ‘fat loot’. I know, I’m a dork)

So today I went for my first garage sale. Or rather, first FIVE ‘garage sales’. I’d planned to go for one ‘moving sale’ and on the way, I saw a ‘rummage sale’, two honest-to-goodness garage sales, and then on the way back, saw one ‘yard sale’.

What is the diff? I seriously do not know. All I know is, I got me some PH4T L3WT!!!1111!!

I spent a total of US$18.50 on these items:


A beautiful, rustic piece of framed canvas art for $2.


A toaster oven for $5! It doesn’t look a year old, works and everything!


Two apple crates for a buck each. I’m turning these into white, book boxes/cabinets for the girls. I’d been shopping for a book case but none of the sales had one. And then I saw these. They are PERFECT. Will post pics once I’m done ‘flipping’ them.


About 14 books. They were 50c for the hardcovers and 25c for the softcovers. Yes, that is the Milne’s Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh. FOR 50 CENTS!

I’m so psyched!

So I’ve been guilted into doing some tags. Shireen, you’re terriblelah.

But before yours, I’ve to do Vien’s food tag.

Thing is, even though I’ve been here almost 16 months (but who’s counting?), we’ve almost always cooked and ate at home (to save costlah, why else?).

Having said that, I really don’t think Seattle, or Western Washington, has just one signature dish because it’s so diverse here. Everytime someone from Malaysia visits, we are always a little lost as to where to bring them for a good Seattle meal. And herein, I think, lies a huge difference between Malaysians and Seattle-ites when it comes to eating out.

Back in Malaysia, we tend to home in on the tastiness of a meal as a factor paramount over things like atmosphere. The quality of the ingredients used, particularly for seafood, the skill in the preparation, the overall taste of the whole meal – these things are more important than the location of the place and sometimes, even the state of the restaurant. We will eat next to a dumpster if we deem the food worthy. Of course, following that closely is the price of the meal, but sometimes, even that is thrown out the window. Good food is what we care about. Sometimes, it’s all we care about.

Here in Seattle, more likely than not, locals will recommend places like the revolving restaurant up on what is perhaps most signature about Seattle: the Space Needle. Or a meal and a cruise upon the Victoria Clipper. Or a train ride to the vineyards, that sort of thing. It’s almost always the whole package: good food, great atmosphere, and most of the time, cut-throat expensive.

With that, allow me to apply our Malaysian mentality to recommending good eats here. These places are not necessarily good-looking or be the best places to exemplify Northwestern American cuisine, but I think they’re pretty darn good.

First off, in a mall called Crossroads in a city called Bellevue, there is a food court and in that food court, is a little Russian shop called Piroshky, which my friend Irina tells me literally means ‘baked goods’. Lokes and I love a dish called Lula Kebab there, a pork sausage combination without the skin, served with pasta or rice and Russian coleslaw. Yummy. Ironically, I’ve never tried any of the Piroshky there, although they always look very tempting.

As for Chinese, we have yet to find a good restaurant, or perhaps we are just too used to Malaysian Chinese food. The only Malaysian restaurant here, Malay Sate Hut, IMHO, sucks big time. It is a good place to bring your American friends, though, to introduce our country’s cuisine. We do like a dim sum place called Jeem’s, which serves fairly good dim sum and Cantonese dishes. 

Now Seattle has LOADS of good Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. I particularly enjoy Thai Ginger at Redmond Town Center and Saigon City in Bellevue. These are, to date, the best in their class.

Italian restaurants run rampant in Seattle, but they are mostly not traditional Italian, but more American bistro-like offerings, where the restaurant serves Italian plus other types of popular dishes, such as Southwestern fried chicken or even gumbo. Family chains like Red Robin or Applebee’s are a good example of this ‘fusion’ of something for everyone, and in this category, I vote Applebee’s.

I guess the best place to eat in the whole of Seattle, is still my house. And all the more so now when my mother-in-law is here. She cooks superb Nyonya cuisine and I’ve been gorging on sambal belacan, all the ingredients of which can be found right here in the great Northwest!


Coming up: What’s behind a name? Find out what went on in our crazy brains when we named our daughters Raeven and Skyler!





Hello, readers! How are you? Are you guys good? Are you guys doing ok? Are you guys still here?!


As for me, I’ve finally done it this time. Yes, the biting off more than I am able to chew thing *vigorous nodding*. I have so many fingers in so many pies, I need more fingers.

No, that’s not it! I have to STOP SAYING YES! Just STOP, you weak little unable-to-decline-politely-idiot! What the heck!

(Note to self: Lay off the triple shots)

Oh, you don’t know half of it. I am spread so thin these days there is a layer of Jenn all over the place.

Firstly, you will NEVER guess what I’ve gotten myself into. C’mon, give it a try.

No, I’m not skydiving.

No, still not curing cancer.

Oh please, the gym, that was over months ago.

I am…

…helping to start a cooperative preschool!!

That’s right. You read right. Moi, trying to start a school. Can you believe it? I can’t even think straight now by the enormity of it all. I mean, I love doing new things and going for new experiences and challenging myself to see what kind of crazy business I might get into, but starting a preschool? What the HECK do I know about education? I can sing a few songs, read a few books, probably get a tissue for a weepy kid or two, but to start a WHOLE SCHOOL?

Go to a new country, start a school!

Wow, I feel so like a missionary right now.

I’m sure those of you back home in Malaysia think I’ve finally gone off my rocker. And I assure you, I have. But I am so buzzed right now from all the meetings I’ve been going to, to finally be back out there doing something other than wiping shitty backsides and driving the girls around to this thing and that thing, just feels so good.

And as if that is not enough, I have signed up to be the goodwill ambassador for our town’s moms’ group. Actually, I’d signed up for that before I knew I was going to be one of THREE people who will be setting up the school, so yea, I’m stuck.

Oh well.

I really need to learn to say no, you know. It’s getting to be really…scary.


I need another coffee.

Camp Gilead's serene train track

Rae on the monkey bar

Kids chasing bubbles

Serene setting for a train ride!

Can’t believe it’s already been one year since our last camp.

70+ preschoolers.

11 bunkmates.

One night.

Zero sleep.

Have a restful weekend, all. I know I will.

More Camp Gilead pictures here (Flickr friends and family only).

…finding your two-year old drinking water out of the toilet bowl.

Good thinking, Jenn, letting your girls play with their tea set in the bathroom!

Now I’m not sure if I’m happy that I’d just scrubbed the toilet down two days ago. Which is worse: Swallowing water containing millions of life-threatening bacteria from urine and faeces, or potentially toxic Clorox?

I think I’ll have to go with the Clorox.

Let’s see how she does this afternoon.

In the meantime, happy Labour Day to all who celebrate Labour Day on May 1st (like the normal people do *snort*). Oh you don’t know? The Americans do it differently here. Labour Day – which is spelt Labor Day, pfff – is celebrated on the first Monday of September.

Today is, instead, May Day, or Loyalty Day.

Now I’m gonna check if Sky is not throwing up green gunk in her bed…

Funniest thing I’ve read in a month.

Trust me. You NEED to read this.

ps. Have you ever heard of Dan Liebert? You’re gonna want to bookmark this. He makes ‘verbal cartoons’:

My Living Will: I no longer wish to go on living if I should lose control of my body functions or if my mind is in a vegetative state or if I have that “old-man smell.”