color by numbers

mindless musings of a semi-creative guy

Happy things!

Yesterday (Thursday) was just an all-around wonderful day here in my little part of Thailand.  So many good and happy things happened that I went to bed still smiling about it all.

First, we went to our second visit to the hospital where we will be having our baby come August, Samitivej Srinakarin.  It was your usual second appointment – the doctor asked a bunch of questions, took my weight and blood pressure, and then pulled out a Doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat.  Little guy/girl was already being a bit persnickety though, and testing mommy’s patience (and ability to hold off freaking out) by hiding for a couple of minutes (literally, Brook timed it) before letting us hear that beautiful little flub-a-dub-dub.  But, once we did, it was incredible.  Baby Sarver’s heart is strong, is progressing along just fine, and I’m doing well.  So, there’s happy thing #1.

Happy thing #2 happened right after our trip to the hospital.  Some friends of ours live over in that area and told us about a mall just down the road, so we decided to head there and check out what there was for lunch.  Upon calling them up to verify which direction we needed to go, they decided to come on over and eat with us since they had some time free.  Fun, right?

Happy thing #3 was Brook spotting a small shop in the basement of said mall, crammed with a strange collection of random USA export clothing at super cheap prices – American Eagle, Mossimo, Old Navy, and here’s the clincher… Motherhood Maternity!!!  They had a small selection of legit maternity shirts, in my size, that I actually liked for only a few bucks a piece!  Brook picked out a few for me to try on, I loved them, and I bought them.  Score!

Happy thing #4 also came about while at the mall.  It turns out that they have a Villa Market in the basement – a grocery store with a few branches around Bangkok that carries a good variety of both American and other international products.  Villa is where I finally found molasses for my gingersnaps this past Christmas, Cool Whip for Brook’s birthday cake last October, and frozen brussels sprouts when that’s all I wanted to eat a few months ago.  But, yesterday, I found something that has only been seen by my eyes in Thailand once before… something that made me so happy, I had to take a picture.

Marshmallows!!!!!  As with the majority of American products in the store, their price was a bit high, considering all of the shipping and import tax costs involved in getting those things on the shelf, so I did not buy them.  But, now that I know they are there, I feel a pan of Rice Krispies (which I also found!) treats just may be appearing sometime in the near future.  Mmmmmm.

The final, and definitely most happy thing, though, didn’t happen until 8:20pm.  Happy thing #5 was being able to witness the birth of my newest nephew, my brother’s 3rd child, Logan Cooper Santefort.  Here he is just moments after coming into the world…..

My sister-in-law went into surgery (for a scheduled Cesarean) about 7:00am Illinois time, 8:00pm Bangkok time.  Thanks to my brother’s brand new iPhone 4 (literally just got it a few days ago!), free hospital WiFi, kind doctors & nurses, and the wonder of Skype + iPhone’s FaceTime, about 8:20 my big brother rang up my computer and gave me the best gift ever… watching, with him in the OR, as they carried his new son over to be cleaned up, swaddled, then handed to his mommy & daddy for the very first time.  Seriously, it was perhaps 30 seconds after they pulled him out, and I was there.

I simply could not believe it.  I think I was in shock.  I just started to cry as Brook and I sat there watching for just a few minutes before it was time for my brother to put down the phone, pick up his son for the first time, and take him over to his wife.  Less than 10 minutes later, he called me back again to watch as they weighed, measured, and foot printed my new nephew in the nursery.

Incredible.  That’s all I can say.  Somehow, through the wonder of technology and the things available to us today, I was present in the delivery room, right there with my brother, for the birth of his son… from the complete opposite side of the globe.  He was in Illinois.  I was in Thailand.  And, it worked.  Heck, I’m crying again even now just thinking back on it!

Big brother Carson, 7 years old, holding his new baby brother.

Big sister Madelynn, almost 4 years old, holding baby Logan.

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Personal | 4 Comments

Tasty Tuesday – ทับทิมกรอบ

Another full month of travelling has come and gone, and I’ve been wanting to write about this treat the whole time!  Finally, a chance to bring you all into the world of yet another form of Thai sweetness –  ทับทิมกรอบ (Tub Tim Grob).

I mentioned this particular dessert in my last post about the jackfruit tree in our yard.  This juicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, smooth dessert could almost be considered a soup – just look at the photo below.

So, what is it?  The little red balls (also known as “rubies” on many menus) are actually bits of water chestnut that have been tossed in red food coloring, coated in tapioca flour, then boiled immediately to create a sort of chewy ball with that distinct juicy chestnut crunch inside.  Check out this recipe here, to see just how this process works.

The chestnuts need not be red every time, though.  I’ve eaten them pink, blue, green, purple, orange, and even yellow!  It can be quite the colorful, fun dish if you want it to be.  Check it out – this one is called “ruam mit,” which means there are a variety of colored chestnuts, as well as some fruit bits mixed in as well.  See the yellow strips?  Those are the jackfruit.

Now, what’s the white milky looking stuff that the fruit and rubies are floating in?  It is usually sweetened coconut milk that has been heated up and added to the cooked chestnuts just before serving.  However, I have also had it served up with sweetened soy milk, and I like it just as much.In this bowl, we have even more – both red and green chestnuts, black jelly cubes, yellow cubes of both mango and jackfruit, and bits of white lychee fruit.  But, what’s that there on the spoon – ice.  Why ice?  When serving fresh ทับทิมกรอบ – Tub Tim Grob, everything is pretty warm, and what fun would it be to eat a hot dessert in hot weather?  Not much fun at all.  So, as means of cooling the mixture down, as well as thinning the milk a bit, shaved ice is always the last thing to be put in your bowl.  Being shaved, it melts down quickly, and prevents having to gnaw on an unpleasant hunk of ice every now and then.

I know, I know… I can see some of you back home shaking your heads at me once again for showing you something that is so completely weird and opposite from what you’re used to in the States, then even go so far as to say I like it.  But, seriously, I do – and so do millions of Thai people.  It’s just another thing to add to the list of goodies you get try to try if any of you ever make it over to our side of the world.  It’s sweet, it’s creamy, and it’s cool – what’s not to like about that in a tropical climate?

February 22, 2011 Posted by | Food, Tasty Tuesdays, Thailand | 4 Comments