Footwork…Thai Style

I didn’t think my first blog of my Rotary Wife’s Journey would be a week and a half post of returning home from Indochina.  My vision had always been to blog throughout our trip to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Duon On and Bangkok.

Little did I know that this journey would be defined by something other than the Southeast Asian countries we experienced.  It’s defined by my foot.  My right foot to be exact.

I’ve never had great feet. They are as tiny as can be…ladies size 5.  That’s a 3 in kids and a 35 in non-American sizes.  Back in the day, I was able to buy sample sizes.  But not anymore.  Even Nordstrom carries far less of my size than they used to.  So you can only imagine how excited I was to be in the land of petite feet!  My shopping goal:  NEW SHOES!!!

But shopping for shoes had to wait. I made sure of that.

Let’s start at the very beginning, from my right foot’s perspective. Day 1 – Hanging out by the beautiful pool at our resort on Phuket. (That’s an island of Thailand…get your globe and go find it.) Day 2 – Boat tour to Phi Phi Island and Khai Island.  Great memories, all of which I’ll talk about in another post, Joker Team, monkeys, The Beach, Snorkeling, Motor Scooters, Singha, Wires and Rebuilding, the Smell, Sawatdee ka.

But let’s just say…my right foot took center stage just after snorkeling and just before lunch.

The middle of the boat had an 8” (sized by Mike) deep step down and then back up.  I somehow got excited about a photo I wanted to take. I picked up my camera and ran to the front of the boat, from the back.  Oops…Just plain forgot about that 8” dip. Step down on the outside of my foot. Went into shock I think.

The good news…we had an orthopedic surgeon in our group, Dr. Hal and two nurses and another medical professional.  Much better care than a hospital emergency room in a third world country.  Wouldn’t you agree?

So my foot got perfectly wrapped up each day.  Found a walking stick.  Wore my nun-like Munro orthopedically correct shoes. Elevated at every opportunity.  Iced my foot when it was understood, by the very nice hotel staff,  I needed ice for my foot…not drink…plastic bag please?  Took some strong anti-inflammatory drug that we would need a prescription for in the US…but not Thailand!!  Refused Vicodin.  I wanted a clear head. and created a journey that I never expected on my first big International trip.

Let me show where my foot went!

Riding an Elephant in the jungle outside of Chiang Mai (northern Thailand)

The mountain top of Doi Suthep, above Chiang Mai, to receiving Theravada Buddhist blessings from the monks at Wat Phrathat.

Duon On, Cambodia….a story where my foot just didn’t matter…..

Angkor Tom and Angkor Wat….over 7 miles…Over 14,000 steps up and down.

Rotary International Convention in Bangkok

We’re back home now. A week later. I’ve been to the hospital for an x-ray, received a cane and a boot.  I just heard from my specialist this past Friday.  It’s not good.  Bunch of broken, smashed bones.  Tendon issues.

Damn.  As Mike says, “You really jacked up your foot.”  Yep I did.  And it’s so tough for me to stay down.  I have a household to keep under control!!!  But I’m starting to get it.

So the moral of my first post is…..Yes, I was a stud.  I can’t believe I made this incredible journey, foot and all!  But I’m not a stud anymore.  Time to take care of myself.  I see a hard cast in my future…..I’ll keep you posted!

Sawatdee ka

Southeast Asia…here we come!

I’ve had a few travels in my life that took me outside of the United States.  Mom, Dad and I travelled to Canada when I was 21. Dad took the family and Bill and I to Barbados a year after we were married in 1987. Mike took me to Cabo on a friend’s 40th birthday in 1999.  Otherwise, I’ve just travelled happily throughout the U.S.  I always imagined my first “big foreign visit” to be Europe.  Food, Art, Tradition…. all the stuff we dream of.  So you can only imagine that when Mike got that call asking if he’d accept the Presidency of PWR for 2012/13 how excited I was!!!!   Quick..where’s that International Convention?….Look…2013….Portugal….I am going to get to Europe.  I pick up my phone…call Mike….and he SLAMS THE BRAKES ON ME!!!

“Honey, we go the year before I become President”.  How could that be?  I had no desire to go to Southeast Asia.  But what a difference a year makes.  I’ve studied, studied, studied everything…..politics, architecture, history, art, religion, the people, the people, the people. I’m in love with Thailand and Cambodia.  I can’t wait to smell, hear, see, and touch it. I can’t wait TO TAKE PICTURES OF IT!!!!

Here’s our schedule if you’d like to follow along….

Phuket – Phi Phi Island, Elephant Trek across the island

Chiang Mai – Doi Suthep Temple, Tribal Villages, Dinner at TahNam

Cambodia – Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Sacramento Rotary Water Well Project (more info to blow your mind on this one!)

Bangkok – Rotary International Conference, SHOPPING!!!, MASSAGE!!!!!,  Temple and Palace Tour, Lots of Hospitality Suites, Night Markets, Canal Markets, Dinner Cruise with my honey…..My King!

Stay Tuned as we Travel the Royal Country of Thailand and experience the good of our local Rotary in Cambodia!

Peace!

Karen (FLE…..first lady elect!)

Warm Baked Bread from the Oven…

There’s nothing better to eat than a home baked loaf of french bread.  From the start of our marriage, Mike asked me to learn how to make a really crusty bread.  So I bought a bread machine. Sure the bread tasted good.  But where was the hard crust? So a few years ago, I contacted the master bread maker in our family, Judy.  She has so many different types of flour in her pantry.  She emailed three recipes to me.  I’ve still only made one.  But I continue to make it over and over again.  This bread is so easy you won’t believe it!


I use an old cast iron pan that my mom got as a wedding gift. I never wash it out.  Nothing but my bread is cooked in it.

Speedy No-Knead Bread

3 cups bread flour

1 packet rapid rise yeast

1 1/2 cups Water

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Oil as needed


1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide the dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 loaf


Service Before Self = Fun & Yum

I’m not a Rotarian.  I’m married to a Rotarian.

I’ve surrounded myself with Rotarians.  I’m raising a future Rotarian.

The only meetings I’ve ever attended have been at my husband’s club…Point West Rotary.  I’ve been told that their meetings are the best and most fun.  Today is PWR’s 26th Birthday.

I have enjoyed the beer, food, music and sun at the Brewfest.

I’ve placed myriad bids on items at Festa da Vina.  My family and I have picked up garbage on the American River Parkway.  We’ve also been athletic….softball and bowling.

So why do I love my husband’s adventure in Rotary so much?  Rotary has defined the value of Service Before Self that is lived in our home.  It’s not lip service here.  It’s addictive.  It’s fulfilling.  It’s so much fun!

Last Friday, my twelve year old went “Off Track”.  That means he’s not going to school for four weeks.  The reality is…this is his last “Off Track”  forever.  So we’re going to cram as much in as possible without going anywhere!  I love this time with him.  I get to reinforce our values upon him 24/7 for four weeks!  I have savored everyone of these “Off Track” times!  I get to be the teacher for a few weeks.

Today, Kevin and I ventured into the big city of Sacramento and had a Service Before Self experience.  We’re not doing Rotary.  But the Rotary spirit was with us!  How cool was it that by chance we sat right near Lori Curry, a Point West Rotarian. She’ll even be on PWR’s Directors when Mike’s President!

We attended the River City Food Bank’s 8th Annual Empty Bowls.

We each got to select a bowl made by a local student.  I’m not sure where mine is from.

But Kevin’s was made by a Christian Brothers High School student.  Our bowls were wrapped up by one of the many volunteers working the event.

We then headed to the “Soup Line”.

I had a VERY FILLING Tuscan White Bean Soup and Kevin had a Tortilla Soup.

We had to admit…it was better than the one I make!  Local restaurants, such as Cafe Bernardo, Lucca, and Michelangelo’s cooked up and served their soups!

Did I mention the local school kids that helped serve and clean up?

This coming Saturday, the Elk Grove Food Bank is holding their 3rd Annual Empty Bowls.  They are serving from 11:00 to 1:30 at the First Baptist Church on East Stockton Blvd.

We have our tickets.  Hope to see you there after baseball practice!

http://www.elkgrovefoodbank.org/09htmls/empty_bowls.htm

 

Continue reading

Off Track…The last time

Today is a bittersweet day.  It’s our last minimum day…”Tracking Off” day.  For six years, Kevin has been on a year round schedule.  At 12:30 p.m. today, he’ll be out of school for four weeks.

I have never looked upon these weeks as a blip in my schedule.  Instead, I cherish them.  I look forward to them.  I plan the hell of out them!  But most importantly, I’m with my son 24/7.

He golfs with my girls on Thursday.  Sometimes he just heads out to the other nine and plays by himself.  He orders milkshakes and chili and soups and hamburgers from Mary and John.  He knows our membership number.  I feel it the following month financially!

This time is my opportunity to give him 100% of me as a parent.  I’m focused.  But trust, me ….I’ll be ready for a break in four weeks!  I’ll joyously welcome school back. I love teaching Math and Art in Mrs. Houston’s class, working one last trimester with Stone Lake’s Student Council kids, walking around campus and constantly hearing “Hi Mrs. Cendro!”  from smiling precious faces I’ve watched grow.

So this morning, I’m deep cleaning the bathrooms and getting the house in shape.  It’s his birthday weekend.  I’m totally going into domestic goddess mommie mode!

Why does he do this to me?

I’m a pretty smart girl.  I probably could have been a doctor if only I could stand the sight of blood.  Blood, bones sticking out, eyeballs swollen make me really queasy.  I’m fortunate to have family (my sister) and friends (Emily) who will watch over my injured child when the going gets rough.

The going got rough on Tuesday. My darling almost twelve year old son came home from school with a VERY swollen right hand. In the past, I would have taken a quick peek and waited until another adult came in the door for their diagnosis.  But not this week.  I was a very brave nurse.  Why you may ask?  Well let show you what has toughened me up.

  1. Age 15 months…fell out the second story window onto the driveway.  He bounced.  Outcome: He punctured his lung.  He healed immediately.  He ran and played once they took the wires off him.  Thank you Emily for taking care of me.
  2. Age 2…while playing in the living room, decided to ram side of head into the corner of the coffee table.  Thank you Jana for looking at the wound and advising ER.  Outcome:  Stitches.
  3. Age 3…on his birthday….the new Spider Man webs weren’t working.  They didn’t hold him to the upper level of the play structure.  Outcome:   Broken left wrist. Blue Cast
  4. Age 5…while at the motocross track with his Uncle Ricky and riding a bicycle, he lost control and ran into a rope fence.  Outcome: Rope burn across his face.
  5. Age 7….not an accident…we discovered a small cyst on his leg….in reality it was a tumor and absessed into the size of a golf ball.  Outcome:  Emergency surgery and a big divot now.
  6. Age 8  … the peaceful year
  7. Age 9……rammed his thumb into the pole while playing tether ball.  I waited 2 weeks, and then finally took him to the doctor.  Outcome:  Broken thumb.  Orange and Black “Halloween” Cast
  8. Age 10…..fell off skateboard.  This time I didn’t waste anytime.  I got him to the doctor to find out it was only sprained.
  9. Age 11…..Tuesday….four square game resulted in jammed hand.  Outcome:  Broken finger/hand.  Glow-In-The-Dark Cast

Thank you Kaiser South Sacramento for taking such good care of my baby for all of these years!

Welcome to my Rotary Journey….a wife’s perspective

I guess this feels a little old fashion.  Writing about the journey of standing by my man as he becomes, is, and celebrates HIS journey as PWR’s President 2012/2013.  I’m a pretty independent feminist. I’ve bumped my head on that glass ceiling…..even crashed through it once!  But here I am in 2011.  Wife, mother, business owner, community volunteer, terrible but fun golfer…as my twitter page says.

The day of Mike’s announcement was pretty exciting for our family.  Rotary is fundamental in our raising of Kevin.  Sorry PWR’ers…you’ll see alot of Kev…..my orders.

I felt my first OMG….they’re asking us to do something… this past week.  Mike came home and asked me if we could host a Fireside Chat.  Please rotarians…I’d love to host you in my Elk Grove home but…(a) Why would you want to come to Elk Grove? (b) Why would you want to walk into a house filled with Kevin stuff (there’s currently a trombone, baritone, legos, unicycle and scooter in my living room) ? and (c) Sorry….you’d also have to help me fold laundry.  So sorry Jennifer…..we’ll host in 2019 when Kevin’s in college and my furniture is not so lived upon.