Topiary with a Smile

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Isn’t this fun? You can see topiary like this all over Thailand at hotels, parks, and anywhere that landscaping is done. This photo was taken in front of the district government offices in an obscure little border town called Phop Pra in Tak Province. The Thai are very gifted at many kinds of craftsmanship and put a high value on having fun. These smiley shrubs clearly show why Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles. It’s a special place where a little whimsy at the government level can put a smile on your face.


My T’Day B’Day

Today is my birthday AND Thanksgiving Day! There is something very special about having a Thanksgiving birthday and this is my year. It comes around just often enough to be somewhat predictable, but is not to be taken for granted.

I don’t remember my first Thanksgiving birthday since I was only four years old then, but by the time time it rolled around again when I was nine, I knew how special it was and asked for pumpkin pie instead of a birthday cake. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that other people do that, too. Thanksgiving fell on my birthday again when I was fifteen, but then there was a gap of eleven long years between that one and the next. How did that happen?

Here’s the thing. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November which is  sometime between the 22nd and 28th of the month. In 1971, Thanksgiving Day was on November 25th and so the following year would have/should have been on the 24th, my birthday. Enter Leap Year, the evil nemesis of all of us late November babies. Yes, I did say “evil nemesis”, a bit over the top, perhaps. But hear my frustration. Just when you figure that next year Thanksgiving Day will be on your birthday, that nasty, interfering Leap Year comes along and spoils everything. In 1972, Thanksgiving Day was on the 23rd having callously leapt over the 24th.

Sadly, it happened again in 2000 and is all set to do it again in 2028. I’ll be pretty old by then. I wonder if I’ll still have the energy to muster the requisite outrage. I bet I’ll still order pumpkin pie though.

Heads up, all you people with November 23rd birthdays. You may be thinking, “Oh goodie, Thanksgiving is on the 24th this year, so in 2012 it will be on my birthday”! Not so. I regret to inform you that 2012 is a Leap Year. It is going to leap right over your birthday and you will once again be gypped out of your T’Day B’Day.

Just in case you think I have mad math skills (sorry, I just can’t bring myself to spell it with a Z) or have a phenomenal memory, neither of which is true, this is where I got my info on Thanksgiving dates.

And yes, I did make my own birthday pie shown in the photo above. It’s not pretty, but keep in mind that the local stores in rural Thailand don’t carry Libby’s canned pumpkin, so it started out like this:


Happy Thanksgiving!

This and That

So, did you miss me?

For some reason, when life gets tough, the not-so-tough stop blogging, writing prayer letters, and communicating in general while we curl up in a ball for a while. Or maybe it’s just the introverts among us. Probably that was too sweeping a generalization. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, I’m back and dipping my toes in the water again, so bear with me until I get my momentum back. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of photos when my laptop was stolen during the middle-of-the-night burglary of my home last December, but I have some that were still on my camera or else taken since then, so here’s an update on a few things that have been happening around here.

In November the Compassion projects in the area got together for a Sports Day.


Each team had their own cheering section. The ones in pink are our kids from  Huay Krating.


This is the group from Mae Ramat. Sadly, this project will be closing in June.


Just before Christmas, the churches in the Mae Sot area got together for a parade to celebrate Christmas and the King’s birthday.






Brace yourself for this next one, folks.


Yes, that’s me in a blue hula skirt—very Christmas-y, I know.

I think that’s enough excitement for one day’s blogging. I hope to be back soon with more unless the procrastination monster overcomes me again.