Watercolor on my crappy watercolor paper

Happy Birthday Jackie

Fudgy chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache frosting

Carrot walnut cake with cream cheese frosting

Jackie & Jim Lawson

I introduced you to my family a few posts back when my dad had his 83rd birthday. Today is my mom’s birthday and she is turning 84. I’m sure she doesn’t want me to tell her age, but I think she looks great—they both do!

Happy birthday, Jackie. I made you two cakes so you can decide which one to have—fudgy chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache frosting or carrot walnut cake with cream cheese frosting or better yet, have a piece of both. I would definitely try both and when no one was looking I would sneak a little extra of that delicious cream cheese frosting.

It's a blast

I saw a beach shack with a sign that said paddletrainer.com, so I stopped in to see what it was all about. It sounded like great fun and a great workout. So, yesterday, I rode my bike to the beach and slapped down my 200,000 rupiah for an hour lesson to learn Stand Up Paddle Surfing. 
I was pretty good at standing and paddling on the flat water and even as we went further out into the waves I could maneuver over the swells and remain standing. I am fairly strong, have good balance and I have skied, kayaked, windsurfed and even board surfed as a kid (but that was a million years ago). However, I had a much harder time getting a handle on looking over my shoulder for waves, paddling to catch the wave, crouching and continuing to paddle hard with the wave and then jumping into surf stance. I only caught two waves so surf stance was really not an issue. Oh well, it was only my first time and I'm going back tomorrow.

Christmas in Bali

Our only holiday decoration was this bouquet of flowers I clipped from our tropical garden and stuck in a water glass. Quite beautiful sitting on the low coffee table with late afternoon light streaming in. 

It is the rainy season—musim hujan, now in Bali, so the days are mostly overcast and very hot and steamy. Hujan sehari-hari, it rains almost everyday. We awakened on Christmas morning to dry air, clear blue skies and a gentle breeze. What a wonderfult gift. A six mile walk on the beach and then grilled fish at the water's edge watching the sunset. A perfect holiday!


Jamu is the ancient Indonesian art of herbal healing. I discovered jamu at the market in Klungkung last weekend and have since read a few books. It is quite an interesting tradition of inner and outer beauty that is based on natural ingredients in different combinations to cure and prevent every disease known to man. The ginger or Zineberaceae family are the stars with Turmeric being the superstar of jamu. Along with close to 1,000 other species that are used in the preparation of Indonesia's traditional medicine.

Jamu gendong

This is a jamu seller. Most jamu gendong have clients and set out early in the morning and late in the afternoon to deliver their products. At a traditional market you will see it being sold along with everything else. After becoming aware of jamu, I started to notice a few jamu gendong around Sanur. I chased this jamu gendong, who delivers on her bicycle, down the jalan (street) the other day. She got away, but not before I snapped a photo as she raced to her clients.

The Balinese Republican

At the Ulu Watu temple they tied sarongs around our waists because we were wearing shorts. When they found out we were from the USA they wanted to talk about how happy they were about Obama being our president. We hear "Obama bagus" from just about everyone. They did point to this guy and said he would have voted for McCain. I said "Republican?" and he smiled and gave me the thumbs up. I think he may be the only Balinese Republican on the island.