Thursday, May 31, 2012


I harvested fresh, beautiful, thick, juicy, and red stalks of rhubarb from our garden and made the first crumble of the summer.  It was extra delicious since we had grown the rhubarb ourselves (it might have been the extra vanilla sugar I added to the crumble though). 

It is a good thing that we have three rhubarb clumps, cuz we devoured the crumble with homemade vanilla ice cream and I just know that we will need to be eating more of that as summer progresses. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Gaunlet Has Been Thrown

We received a package in the mail from my youngest sister in Albuquerque.  She works for a certain cereal-producing company out there and she was able to buy and send us just the marshmallow bits from the various marshmallow cereals that her company  produces. 

She included a lovely note with her gift. 

So, for my other sister, I ask: what are you going to send me to top two bags full of marbits? 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer is Here

 Summertime has reached DC-- over the weekend the temperature was 89ยบ and today even hotter.  We have our indoor plants outside now-- to get direct sunlight and cleaned up (rain washes away the dust!).  

We have the hummingbird feeder filled and our hummingbird has returned.  The catbirds are swimming in the bird bath.  The garden is planted and looking great.  Yup, all signs point to a great summer.  Looking forward to it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Final Images on Bangkok

A Monk with the Buddha

buying a lottery ticket

Reclining Buddha

the Grand Palace

Wat Arun

night on the Khao San Road, a backpacker's place to stay

night on the Khao San Road

Will gets to the Thai McDonalds finally to get something that we can't get in the States....

...A Double Big Mac
Ronald welcomed us

Coconut and savory street pancakes

inside the Skytrain Metro


Red Shirt Political Rally

The Thailand Flag and the yellow Royal Flag of the King

Why not for the men?

Mediation Buddha

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jim Thompson House

 In the middle of the chaos that is Bangkok is the Jim Thompson House Museum-- a beautiful house and garden museum.

Jim Thompson was an American born in  Delaware in 1906.  He attended Princeton and became an architect, studying at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a practicing architect in New York City until 1940, when he joined the U.S. Army. 

During the Second World War, Thompson was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). At the end of the war, Thompson and the other OSS men were en route to Bangkok, where he fell in love with Thailand and the Thai culture.He was discharged from the army in 1946 and returned to Bangkok to live.  He created a combination of western and Thai house by building together old Thai houses to create different rooms: dining rooms, bedrooms, etc.  He started collecting Thai and Chinese Art and sculpture.  And, most importantly, became interested in the process of handmade silks. 

waiting for the tour to start
the living room
Thompson became very interested in reviving the tradition of handmade silks and was successful in creating an international business and demand for the gorgeous fabrics. 

During the Easter weekend in 1967, Thompson disappeared while on holiday with friends in Cameron Highlands, a northern Malaysian resort. An extensive and extended search failed to reveal any clues about his disappearance. 

His nephew, his heir, turned the house and gardens over to the Thai government, which opened the museum.  The house is stunning and the gardens even more so.  There is also an excellent gift shop and delicious restaurant. 
looking into the open living room from the front door/deck area
a beautiful display of orchids in an ancient Chinese porcelain pot

We watched the process of how the silk is gathered from the silk worms: boiled off the cocoons.  The worms are cooked in the process (and I am betting served up later as an appetizer!).  I am not sure how, but the tiny fibers of silk are fed through a small hole in an apparatus that winds the fiber together.   The fiber is then turned on a spinning wheel of sorts that make large bail of raw silk that looks and feels like straw.  After that, I am not sure of the process, but it is dyed, smoothed out, and then ready to be woven into gorgeous fabrics. 

boiling the cocoons to get the silk
boiled worms and tiny threads being turned into one long string of silk

spinning the silk in the bails of thread

at the restaurant

a view of the garden

an ancient Chinese porcelain table, the pattern was used for inspiration on some of the silks

pond after pond of koi

which way to go?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Boat Cruise on the Chao Phraya River

We returned from Ayutthaya via the Chao Phraya River.  Seeing Bangkok from this view was completely different than when on the street.  The city looks calm and organized-- and the temples are stunning with the river.

several bridges connecting Bangkok and Thonburi

The Grand Palace

Wat Arun

the central tower is 82 meters high