Christmas for Jezzy

Christmas came early this year to our family. One of the Jezzy's presents--yes, we give gifts to our dog; sad--was a Zhu-Zhu pet, a hamster. You press some buttons, and it will drive around and make noises. Jezzy was initially less than thrilled with this creature, but she eventually warmed up to it.

101210 Jezzy's Christmas Present


Last weekend we had some snow. It wasn't much, and it didn't last long, but it was certainly more snow than we ever saw in Thailand. The kids thought it was a perfect excuse to get out and play, and the dog went right with them.

101204 Snow

101204 Snow

Best Gingerbread House

Here was my favorite house, one of Ann's creations:

101202 Gingerbread House

Ginger Bread House

Decorating ginger bread houses is a family tradition in our house. Ann bought several kits, and she and kids got to work one evening recently.

101202 Gingerbread House

101202 Gingerbread House

Snake in the House

We came home recently to find a snake in our kitchen. It was just a little guy, a small earth snake, maybe 6 inches long. The irony is that we lived in a tropical country for 21 months and never even saw a snake, then we come back to America and within 5 weeks have one in the house:

101130 Snake in the House

This reminds of the last time we encountered an earth snake, back when we were in Richmond:

081030 Emmy and a snake

Jezzy chillaxes

What does a Yorkie dog do at the end of a long Thanksgiving Day? She chillaxes by watching the dog show!

101125 Jezzy Watches TV

We had a great time with family for Thanksgiving this year; Jezzy was a hit with the cousins, especially young Maddie.


We live near the entrance to Durant Park, so we occasionally take walks along the trails and around the lakes. Though not a very clear shot, here's one that highlights the beautiful colors of the leaves a couple weeks ago.

101119 Trees in Durant Park

Kiteflying on Wrightsville Beach

I bought a small kite a couple years ago at Kitty Hawk Kites and brought it with us to the beach. It flew pretty well, but the wind blew the kite so that it was right in the sun. That made for some pretty interesting facial expressions.

101112 Kiteflyer on Wrightsville Beach

Surfer at Wrightsville Beach

The waves weren't too high--it's the east coast after all--yet they were high enough to tempt some surfers on the day we went to Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington, NC. So I tried my hand at a few shots. I really could have used a 300 or 400mm lens.

101112 Surfer on Wrightsville Beach

Jacen's web site

As part of computer class, I'm teaching Jacen to set up a web site. His first site,, was created with iWeb on our iMac.

Birds on Wrightsville Beach

We spent part of a day playing on Wrightsville Beach, just east of Wilmington, NC. I managed to catch a few shots of the birds scavenging a meal:

101112 Wrightsville Beach

101112 Wrightsville Beach

101112 Wrightsville Beach

That 200m lens really came in handy here, though I could have put a 300 or 400 to good use, if I had one.

Fowl at Greenfield Park

There's a 5 mile walking trail around the lake at Greenfield Park (in Wilmington, NC), which we walked. Along the way I saw these birds, a napping duck and a fishing heron:

101111 Duck at Greenfield Park

101111 Heron at Greenfield Park

No swimming

While in Wilmington, NC, we spent one morning at Greenfield Park. It has a decent-sized lake in the midst of it which has this encouraging sign:

101111 Sign at Greenfield Park

Video of the Walking Street Market in Chiang Mai

Jacen took some footage of our favorite market while in Chiang Mai, and he recently made a short video out of it. Enjoy!

The Walking Street Market from James Garriss on Vimeo.


While in Wilmington, NC, we went to the Burchetta Glassblowing Studio and Gallery, where they give demonstrations and even lessons on blowing glass. Unfortunately their furnaces were down for maintenance, so we didn't get to see any glassblowing. So we looked at their gallery, which has many nice pieces.

101111 Burchetta Glass Blowing Gallery

In this picture, direct sunlight is coming into the gallery from the opposite direction and shining on/through the glass pieces. It was so bright that it effectively blinded everything else in the picture. This effect was not done via post-processing.

A flower on the beach near Fort Fisher

I found this flower growing in the sand near Fort Fisher. Anyone know what it is?

101110 A Flower on the Beach

The Bridge to Terabithia

Our family watched The Bridge To Terabithia last night. While a bit weird at times, it was overall a good movie. It's an especially good choice for parents to watch with their 8-12 year olds, as there are many opportunities to discuss how a Christian should respond to situations in life, especially to those who mistreat them. Watch this movie and speak the Gospel to your children.

Jacen's post on Fort Fisher

Jacen had to write a paragraph about Fort Fisher for school. Here's his work:

Fort Fisher was a Confederate fort built in the year 1861. It was constructed near Wilmington, North Carolina. Its sole purpose was to protect Wilmington from Union fleets, because Wilmington supplied Confederate General Lee with essential supplies like clothes and blankets. Its protection was 20-40 sand hills, a wooden palisade, a large connection of bunkers, 3 mortars, 5 siege cannons, and 47 other cannons. The fort was destroyed in the year 1865 by an amphibious assault. The remains of the fort were later used as an anti-aircraft training facility. Many of the sand hill remains were destroyed so that a runway could be built for the emergency landing of targets. Today, Fort Fisher is a historical site that tourists at Wilmington can visit.

The marsh near Fort Fisher

Between the fort and the Cape Fear River was this beautiful marsh:

101110 The Marsh behind Fort Fisher

A palisade at Fort Fisher

There were two amphibious assaults made upon Fort Fisher in Jan 1865. The second succeeded in part by the luck of the uncoordinated timing. The main assault was by sea, which drew all the attention of the Confederate defenders. But the secondary assault, which come from the back side of the fort via the Cape Fear River, was late, thus it found the sally port relatively undefended and broke through, which eventually led to the taking of the fort.

Here is a replica of the palisade near the sally port, looking onto the Cape Fear River:

101110 Palisade at Fort Fisher

A cannon at Fort Fisher

Here’s one of the cannons used to defend Fort Fisher from the attack of the Federal armies during the Civil War.



This is a test. I’m posting this to my Blogger blog from Mac Journal.

After dorking around for a bit, I judge Mac Journal to be a total failure regarding Blogger. You can’t preview posts, nor can you insert HTML snippets for things like pictures on Flickr. Useless.

An anchor at Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher was a sand fort built by the confederates during the Civil War to protect Wilmington, NC, which provided supplies to General Lee's army. In 1865 it was the site of the largest naval bombardment--58 federal warships participated--in history until WWI. Here's Emmy sitting on one of the anchors at the fort.


Our Dog is Thai

Our Yorkie, Jezzy, is a Thai dog, even though we've taken her to America. To help her remember her roots, Ann bought her a couple of traditional Thai outfits.

101015 Jezzy is Thai

101015 Jezzy is Thai

Given how much colder it is here in Raleigh, she's gonna need them!

Our Helper (And Friend)

For the last many months, Phii Maat has been coming to our house once a week to help Ann cook and clean. She's been a wonderful blessing to us. Not only is she a hard worker, she's also been kind and friendly, loving on the kids, and even trying to make friends with our dog (though not with much success). We said a tearful goodbye last week and took a few pictures to remember her.

101012 Phii Maat

101012 Phii Maat

Playing in the 'hood

The evenings are fun times in the neighborhood. The kids come out for an hour of play time. Here's Jacen and Emmy playing frisbee and riding a bike.

101010 Frisbee

101010 Biking

A grilled pork restaurant

There's a particular style of restaurant that is very popular with Thais. It's called muu ga-thawt, which literally means grilled pork. The basic idea is that you grill your own meal at the table. This style originally only served pork, but now has beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, or whatever. A new one opened not far from our house--all you can eat for 99 baht ($3)!--so we went and tried it out. The kids loved being able to grill their own meat and boil their own cabbage and noodles.

When you first sit down, a guy brings a bowl of coals and puts it on your table:

101007 Grilled Pork

Then he puts the metal grill on top and pours water around the edge (for boiling):

101007 Grilled Pork

While that heats up, we go to the buffet, ignoring the flies, and select some meat. Then we grill it, using only chopsticks:

101007 Grilled Pork

Here's Jacen and Emmy happily grilling away:

101007 Grilled Pork

Now that's a knife

My father wanted a hand-made bowie knife, so this is the one we got for him. It was made at Piak Bowie Knife, which is located just east of Chiang Mai. It's bigger than it looks in the picture; the blade is 8.75 inches long.

101004 This is a Knife

More Music at the Sunday Night Market

As I have mentioned before, the Sunday Night Market can be a musical place. Here's a couple pictures of contrasting musicians, one an elegant lady (part of a 4 person band) and the other an overly made up young girl (going solo):

101003 Sunday Night Market Musician

101003 Sunday Night Market Musician

Food from the Sunday Night Market

As we prepare to leave, we are revisiting some of our favorite spots. One is the Sunday Night Market here in Chiang Mai, a great place to buy food.

Here's a new item: Hot dogs in waffles. Regrettably, it's almost impossible to find American-style hot dogs here, so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy this.

101003 Sunday Night Market

Grilled sticky rice:

101003 Sunday Night Market

Goodbye Futon

I don't think Jezzy wanted us to sell our futon. It was the one soft spot in the house that she was allowed to nap on.

100927 Selling the Futon


One of the best things about living in the tropics are the flowers. It takes almost no effort to grow the most beautiful exotic flowers. Case in point: Here are some orchids growing in my front yard. I didn't do anything beyond water them and occasionally add some fertilizer. I was sorry to have to sell them.

100926 Orchids

100926 Orchids

More From the Umbrellas Factory

A couple more shots from the umbrella factory in Borsang, east of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Looking through the spokes of some unfinished umbrellas:

100925 Umbrella Factory

The inside of a pink umbrella:

100925 Umbrella Factory

Umbrella Factory

Last week we went to Borsang, east of Chiang Mai, to do a little shopping. We went to an umbrella factory and watched them make umbrellas, mostly from bamboo.

This guy has a piece of wood that spins along its horizontal axis, while he cuts out sections with a large knife and other tools. I wonder how many cuts has from his work.

100925 Umbrella Factory

This lady is string together the "spokes" of the umbrella, which are made from bamboo.

100925 Umbrella Factory

This lady is adding a layer of cotton over the spokes. On top of this will go the "sa paper," which can then be painted or colored.

100925 Umbrella Factory

I blogged about umbrellas once before.

Book Review: Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook

Hayes and Holladay's "Biblical Exegesis" is very introductory book on, well, exegesis. The first chapter is the best, giving a clear explanation of what exegesis is and why it's so necessary; it's perhaps the best explanation I've read. The majority of the chapters are an overview of various forms of criticism, textual, historical, grammatical, literary, form, tradition, and redaction. The final chapter gives a sense of how the forms might be used together. Though the book overviews these forms, at 132 pages it obviously doesn't give the reader enough info to actually use them for exegesis; it truly is a beginner's handbook. Hayes and Holladay certainly have a less conservative view of the Bible than I do, yet their lack of depth is the primary reason why I can't really recommend this book. If you're interested in any of these forms, it would be better to find a book that can teach you how to do them.

Note: The Amazon link above is to the 3rd edition; I have the first edition.

Jacen's Cloak

From their studies in Medieval history, Jacen elected to have a cloak made. It's supposed to be a monk's cloak, but it (conveniently) also looks like a Jedi's cloak.

100917 Jacen's cloak

100917 Jacen's cloak

Emmy's Dress

The kids are studying medieval times for history, so Ann hired a seamstress here Chiang Mai to make her a medieval dress. Here's the result:

100917 Emmy in Medieval Costume

100917 Emmy in Medieval Costume

100917 Emmy in Medieval Costume

100917 Emmy in Medieval Costume