Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Photo Shoot

Winter Wonderland.

The Ransom home, after a bit of snow.

Self-timer success...the whole fam!

On our best behavior.

The idea behind 'Alikat'

A stocking for all.

Bailey, the wisest of the Ransom's.

I spy Betty Boop!

Our decorated living room.

Christmas eve dinner.

Alison and her pup, Jake.

The frosty driveway.

Alison and JD, my soon to be brother in law!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Last Minute Holiday Steals!

As many of you may know, I am often both impressed and amused by the latest technological products. I suppose in all honesty, I’m intimidated by some of the products out on the market today, and find myself saying, “why didn’t I think of that?”

On a recent trip to St. Louis, I was reminded of my tech interest/ignorance when I stumbled upon my favorite piece of in-flight literature, Skymall Magazine. Skymall has everything you could ever want and nothing you would ever need. Nearly 250 pages offering you the most innovative, sleek products…the majority of which you would have to try with earnest determination to actually incorporate into your everyday lifestyle.

With that being said, I thought I’d take a moment to share a few of my favorites from Skymall’s December issue. I do this for two reasons. Firstly, I enjoy the being a source of wisdom and knowledge for my blog audience. Secondly, I write in the hopes that Santa might be reading.
The number one Skymall product, as rated by Smaps is….

The Marshamllow Shooter:
This clever pump-action device shots sweet, edible miniature marshmallows over 30’, and- unlike other marshmallow blasters—it comes with a LED sight that projects a safe beam of red light to help locate a target for accuracy. The easy to refill magazine holds 20 marshmallows (or foam pellets, not included) for fast, nonstop action. Barrel and magazine are top-rack dishwasher safe, and the back of the box includes a target for practice. $24.95


Also, some noteworthy honorable mentions:

THE AUTOMATIC MARSHMALLOW BAZOOKA: (along the same lines as product #1, with slight variation)
This battery-powered bazooka launches edible, full-sized marshmallows up to 40’. The integrated microprocessor allows you to launch up to five marshmallows in 60 seconds without manual pumping. Simply load a marshmallow into the chamber, wait for the LED on the reticle to illuminate, and pull the trigger to bombard your mark with confections. $49.95

A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, this is the world’s only swim mask that has an integrated waterproof digital camera, eliminating the need to carry an underwater camera, keeping your hands free as you swim. The 5 MP camera can operate to a depth of 15’, making it ideal for use when snorkeling or swimming in pools. The mask’s eye pieces are made of tempered glass and have integrated crosshairs that allow you to line up shots easily. $99.95

I don't know about you all, but I would be one happy camper to find any of the above hidden under the tree. So, what do ya say? Ehh?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Looking to Thaw

I wake up in the morning to sunshine streaming through the cracks in the blinds. Beneath the slivers of illuminating light are pockets of pure blue, revealing a perfect, cloudless sky. Sensing what must signify warmth in the air, I hop out of bed, grab my robe, and head to the front door. I allow my face near the windowpane and immediately feel the cool, crisp air drift towards me. This isn’t the heat rush I had hoped for, but I drop my guard just as my instincts take over. I open the door and step out on the front porch. Without a moment’s hesitation, my entire body tenses up. Each nerve ending becomes sensitive to the mere whisper of the wind. My eyes begin to water profusely, and before long, my entire face becomes a source of liquid runoff. Human bodies operate in sync with patterns in nature, and this very notion reveals itself through my body's attempt to balance. While my eyes and nose continue to pour, my mouth completely dries up. I choke on the crispness of the air, and my lungs stop short of indulging in full breaths, for the very act of doing so freezes me entirely.

Whenever I complain about the cold weather, I’m met with unsympathetic responses. “You’ve grown up in New England, you should be used to this by now.” I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t think a lifetime here could ensure that I would take comfort in the bitter cold. It’s been two months now that I’ve been living back in New Hampshire, and as each day passes, I find myself slipping further into hibernation. If you saw me now, you would never know that I once possessed a great love for the outdoors. Spending time hiking, biking, and swimming outside gave me a rejuvenated energy. Now, though, my outdoor appearances have become scarce, and my fresh air fetish has been reduced to infrequent and involuntary outdoor occurrences. As if in hiding, I dart from car, to store, to bank, to restaurant. Not even my shadow can be seen, for my feet out-step the grace of its silhouette.

Perhaps in time, my body will adjust to the brutality that has become of the winter days in New England. But for now, I will continue to sleep through the nights, bundled in overcoat and long underwear, and hope that the morning’s rays bring not only light, but warmth.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pantene Pro-V partners with Apple to release the first-ever line of “Wi-fi Shampoo Products!”

In a surprise announcement, Pantene Pro-V announces it has just struck a deal with tech giant, Apple, to release an innovative line of wi-fi hair care products. While details have not been fully disclosed, both companies have stated that the new line of products has emerged as a direct response to consumer demand. In a recent interview, one Pantene spokesman was quoted as saying:
“In today’s age, 24-7 internet access is crucial for businesses and individuals to flourish. Except for the quickly disappearing Mom n’ Pop-type shops, most businesses and schools are equipped with wireless capabilities. From hallways, to basements, to outdoor venues, the wi-fi revolution has transcended every imaginable boundary, with one exception…the bathroom.”
Until now, that is.
About two years ago, Pantene and Apple met behind closed doors to sign a $1.7 billion dollar deal to support each company’s market research teams on a scheme entitled, “Groundbreaking, Earth shattering, Never-before-been-seen-or-heard.. Research.” The culmination of this research invoked particular “findings” which the two companies hold to be universal truths. Their product development was largely based on two such findings…
First: The majority of working professionals do, in fact, wash their hair.
And second: The majority of these hair-washing, working professionals check their email.
Recent polls suggest that the number one problem Americans are concerned with is inadequate wireless access. And the second biggest problem Americans face? A lack of full-bodied, silky shampoo products.
In light of these discoveries, Apple and Pantene Pro-V secured a $7.1 billion dollar deal, thanks in large part to financial assistance from the U.S. federal government. The money has been used to create a full line of shampoo bottles featuring customized, built-in wireless devices. While many liberal fanatics are calling the deal an outrage and a ‘ludicrous waste of government resources’, the two companies don’t appear to be phased by the bad press, dismissing those remarks as being “malicious, slanderous,” and as one anonymous Apple spokesman says, “not surprising coming from a group of dirty hippies…they don’t even use shampoo!!”
Aside from moody Democratic Fundamentalists, the majority of Americans seem excited about the new products. But everyone’s wondering, how exactly does wi-fi shampoo work?
Simple. The shampoo cap, once unscrewed, reveals a miniature touch-screen interface. Once activated, the screen immediately displays an internet homepage, designed by each company’s web developers. A keyboard can be found on the back side of the bottle, where the shampoo’s label would normally be found.
Water resistant and entirely sud-proof, it looks like this new multi-purpose shower companion may well represent the future of American convenience, and a solution to the connectivity conundrum.

Responding to last-minute client emails has never been so easy, with the new
Pantene Pro-Vnet!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Around Town

Mt. Monadnock-
Here are a few pictures from a hike up Mt. Monadnock, located about 45 minutes from home. Ths is the second most climbed mountain in the world, and as a result, is one of Keene'e three claims to fame. What else is Keene internationally renowned for?
- The Keene Pumpkin Festival! www.pumpkinfestival.org for more information
- Downtown Keene is featured in several parts of the 1995, not-quite-award-winning film, Jumanji, starring Robin Williams!

That might be it as far as Keene's notoriety goes. But no doubt, we are a proud people. Keene, New Hampshire may just be the nation's best kept secret...

Quechee, Vermont
The following photos were taken at the Quechee Gorge in Vermont. I took a trip to visit my sister in White River Junction, Vermont, and found this 'hideaway' about 20 minutes from her home. Some die-hard Vermonters have stated that the Gorge is "the Grand Canyon of the East." That's an exaggeration, to say the least, but still a beautiful spot. Good access to easy hiking trails as well...Next time I'll bring the dogs!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

America’s Most Wanted: The Pumpkin Edition

Listen up, Americans. If you haven’t turned on the radio in the last couple weeks, or haven’t been to a grocery store recently, you probably have no idea that the United States is in the midst of a crisis. A crisis of epic proportions that will leave you in wide-eyed shock once you discover the culprit behind the mess.


What would happen if China ran out of moon cakes on Chinese New Year? What if the whole supply of India’s fireworks disappeared before Diwali? Chaos. Mayhem. ANARCHY. You get the idea…

Having no Libby’s on Thanksgiving has sent a devastating message to the American people: that the recession, global warming, and Iraq are NOT the only issues which we should be concerning ourselves with at this time. Its two days before Turkey Day and the people of this country want to know just one thing… “where the hell is all the Libby’s?!”

Well, pumpkins, what’s your deal?

While certain tree-huggers have blamed the lack of pumpkins on environmental reasons (“just a bad harvest” my ass), members of Homeland Security tapped into the Pumpkins’ communication lines to discover the truth behind the matter. What they discovered was a bitter, resentful Pumpkin collective. The Pumpkins were overheard recording an angry speech, presumably to be aired on Pumpkin Patch Podcast for the American public. The following was transcribed from the conversation:

“We, the pumpkins of the United States of America, wish to hereby announce a temporary strike. We have worked tirelessly to provide U.S. citizens with only the finest, purest pumpkin for the past couple hundred years, and while it’s no secret that people in this country enjoy our smooth texture and nutritional properties, we have not once received the credit we deserve. We feel strongly that Americans have lost touch with the nature of pumpkin picking and eating, and consequently, have abandoned their tradition and cultural roots. We are boycotting our support for Libby’s this year, as we are saddened by Libby’s ‘survival of the fittest’ policy. Libby’s uses only the best and brightest of pumpkins, throwing out perfectly delicious pumpkin equivalents with, albeit, somewhat aesthetically-imperfect qualities. OUCH Libby’s, and OUCH Americans for crying a river when your beloved Libby’s can’t be found on the shelf. What happened to Americans tilling their own soils, and baking their own pies from scratch? …….If you’re lucky, you will hear from us again, but not until next season. Till then, why don’t you do as the Pilgrims and Indians did, and make your own goddamn pie!!”

Immediately after their statement was released, conservative groups all over the U.S. declared war on all pumpkins, stating that “Anything and anyone who questions American principles, values, and ideals should be considered a terrorist- or at least a quasi terrorist- and should be detained accordingly.”

My thoughts? I hear you conservative America, I really do. But if pumpkins are sent to Guantanamo, how will we ever rectify the problem of pumpkin shortages in the future? I believe that we should ban together, and help President Obama devise the most appropriate method to handle the pumpkins in a just and humane way, and assure that this be the first, and last time, Americans go a Thanksgiving without Libby’s.

Happy holidays everyone…
Give Thanks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Oh hello, it’s me again.
While I do enjoy a good “blog alias,” for the time being I’ll reintroduce myself as the owner and author of this blog, Ms. Katelyn. For those of you who don’t know, I returned back to the U.S. about 2 ½ weeks ago, after a long stint abroad. I know I haven’t written in a while, but I’m thinking better late than never to get this going again.

For starters, here's a bit of what I wrote after one week back at home.
Enter week one. I suppose it’s about time I write, in part to answer the question suspending high above my head: “how does it feel to be back home?” To this, I would suggest that the question be restated in the negative. How doesn’t it feel to be back home might be easier to answer. It had been 10 months since I last stepped foot in the U.S. Ten months…which at times felt like an eternity. I wish I could compartmentalize my memories better and categorize the late Mae Sot evenings searching for Thai tea and trying to out-bike the monsoon- from the three rupee, packed-like-sardines-bus rides in Chennai. To my dismay (or fortune, I am not yet able to say), these past ten months suddenly feel as though they’ve been shrink-wrapped…dramatically reduced so as to fit inside the confines of home, here in New England.
It’s weird that after only a few days of being home, nearly a year’s worth of experiences feel so small. They are no longer part of the present. Like a laconic short story or a scrapbook, they can only be reenacted in my own head. Any common traveler will tell you the same thing…that there are numerous, invaluable and inexplicable things that occur out on the road which just can’t be put into words. Precious moments of time where you are afraid to blink because you might miss out on the essence of a new place. If only photos and words could express these moments in their finer details, in the very way my memory, albeit subjectively, strives to capture them.
Home signifies a comfort that I think I could search for the whole world over and never find anywhere else. Home to me is a million of the small, taken for granted pieces of assurance and familiarity that occur every minute and every second of the day. The seemingly irrelevant, otherwise unnoticed “small things” that anyone who has left home, and returned, is familiar with.
Have I learned a lot in this last year? Undoubtedly, my answer is yes. I’ve never been one to sit down and identify life lessons from an experience, though maybe I should try. Instead, I tend to look at the bigger picture. Did I meet amazing people, learn a new language, help out a good cause, fall in love, and come home alive? YES. For me personally, it’s been a journey well worth the ride.
I don’t have plans to go anywhere soon. For the time being, I am going to concentrate on finding a job, as well as re-discovering my inner American (I no longer have a twang in my slang).

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Thai Vacation

A couple weeks ago, I took some time off from work to visit the Southern Gulf of Thailand. My partner in crime for this venture was none other than the Lum to my Kat. The Mr. Callum Linton. You all remember him, no? The charming Londoner who courted me during my time in Chennai. Ah, yes...we spent the week doing some very Thai things (reinventing acceptable fashion trends) and non-Thai things (indulging in copious amounts of falafel). All in all, a great week. Featured activities include: "theater swine," briefing with Tokyo, full moons, dehydrated waterfalls, and sunsets. Please enjoy the following pictures from the series "Katlum's adventures: Part II."

Funky hatted duo spotted on Khaosan road in Bangkok.


Saying hello in the telephone booth.

Beautiful rooftop pool at Bangkok hotel. A splurge for these parts (1,300 baht) but totally worth it ($35!).

The city persona.

Stepped off the skytrain (Bangkok's above ground subway system) to discover that we had come at exactly the right time. Tis the season for Japan Festival '09!!!

Callum being interviewed by a Thai teenager regarding his thoughts on swine flu! Hilarious video commentary of this event as well.

Bienvenidos a la isla de Koh Phangan!

Beach smiles.

There's quite a bit of this to be found in the tropics.

View overlooking the island from our motorbike ride.

Matching Singha's.

A British pub on the island...I'll take it!


Hamming it up.

First night's no-frills bungalow, but it did have a hammock!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just a Taste

It’s difficult to return back to something after it’s been abandoned for some time. As precious as it might have been, as familiar as it once may have appeared—over time, the details begin to blur and all I’m left with is a faint silhouette of what once was. A shadow beyond a doubt.
I suppose in part, this is how I feel when I think about returning to write here. A public domain of personal thoughts has to, or should rather, have a degree of credibility to go along with it. It’s all too easy to provide daily accounts of the mundane and routine, that which all of us in our lives experience, no matter where we are on the globe.
I’ll tell you something: it’s quite exhausting being on the move. It’s actually quite hard to believe I first left the U.S. just a month and a half after graduating- already 15 months ago! As always, my perception of time is distorted and I think I could be reborn a hundred times over (in my Hindu life), or reach my ninth life (as a cat) and still not feel comfortable assessing time. In some ways it feels like ages since I woke up to the contradictory smells of India...gentle jasmine pinned against the much fiercer scent of automobile exhaust. Then again, it feels like just yesterday that I was swinging on my hammock in Bali, catching a breeze and planning lessons for tomorrow’s kindergarten class.
With less than four weeks remaining of my time in Thailand, I haven’t even come close to seeing it all. I have spent the past few weekends in Mae Sot being low-key and relatively unadventurous. I have been keeping an eye out on the community, continuously absolved by each and every dynamic that exists in this small place. I don’t “explore” nearly as often as I feel I should. But I must admit, I feel a deep satisfaction each time I let my curiosity get the better of me.
Before I lose the detail of this place…
I ride my bike around the streets of Mae Sot, each section distinguishing itself from the next. The Muslim district is home to some of the best tea stalls in town-“chai” that is a heavenly mixture of freshly brewed tea, condensed milk, and an unforgiving amount of sugar. The enormous, bustling day market with its noises and smells- it never ceases to amaze me. There’s the unavoidable police check points: a constant identity check and re-check and way to remind those who have fled here illegally to ‘behave.’ Of course, it’s not all exotic. There are the farang, or foreigner hang-outs, where Westerners craving some sterile, air-conditioned, English-speaking, “me and my journal time” can temporarily retreat.
A crowded, dusty town encapsulated by a panoramic, green frontier Mae Sot is. A lovely and complicated place that I hope to one day return to.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blog Recession

It seems as though my blog was hit even harder than my bank account during the recession. I have been very busy with loads of work (contract is up in less than four weeks!), bits of traveling, and have had very little time to write. I will do my best to post an update this weekend, complete with pictures!

Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Long live the Queen!

Yesterday marked the official birthday celebration of her Majesty, the Queen. The Queen's birthday falls on August 12th and is given the status of a national holiday here in Thailand. All week long, people have been celebrating and sharing in the glory that comes with having an official day off of work. Yesterday, Mae Sot was more lively than I have ever seen it before. Hundreds of people roamed the streets, shopped at the day market, and hit up the world's GREATEST carnival.
I was initially skeptical of the carnival, as a few people had remarked that it was "lame" and "for kids only." Fortunately, I decided to ignore such blasphemy and check it out myself. As it turned out, the carnival was loads of fun, and there was nothing (absolutely nothing) childish about elephant shaped carousels and inflatable Spider Man toys.
Enjoy the following pictures taken by both my friend Kelly Christie and me. (The better quality photos were taken by Kelly!)

They look excited now, but those expressions will turn to outright fear once the ride begins.

The ride!

Carnival bingo. Would have loved to try but I still don't know all my numbers in Thai!

Whether or not you know it Ms. Queen, Mae Sot really throws down on your birthday.

Liz, David and I (Small world moment: the second time that I have worked and made friends with people David grew up with)

Grab your rifle and shoot a balloon!

Rambutan woman! I am obsessed with these tasty little treats. One kilo for 20 baht (75 cents roughly) Peel and be merry.

Thawa, me, Geoff. This was from my first visit to the carnival, where I thought it would be a good idea to ride this thing. Expecting it to be slow and creaky, we got much more than we paid for. Strict safety regulations on Thai roller coasters? In your dreams...

Big kids, little boats. (One of them almost sunk his boat-- he was pushing the "big")

Hungry? There's always enough sticks o' meat to go around. Including fish on a stick that is shaped like a panda/rabbit. (???)

**Other highlights included the "nothing scary about it" haunted house and the 30 cent ice cream cones.**

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Check it...

I spent the weekend in Bangkok after my visit to Sangkhlaburi. Was great to finally spend some time in the capital city that I initially bussed right through—enjoy some pics from the trip!

Khao San Road.
A backpackers’ haven. This road is notorious in Bangkok for being a transit point for backpackers traveling in and around Thailand. Situated about 30 kilometers away from Mo Chit bus station, it was a relatively convenient place to check in for my few day stay. The place was more or less what I had imagined—full of dreadlocked hippies and tattooed 20-somethings, Khao San is a dream come true for many wear travelers. For me, it was a chance to unwind, let loose, and indulge in endless people watching. There are several noteworthy bookstores in the area, as well as loads of cheap eats.

Keepin’ it fresh.
For as long as I’m living on this continent, I will continue to give praise to the amazing selection of fresh fruit available here. From the spiky dragonfruits and their sexy shade of pink, to the mangoes so perfect you think they came from Eden itself…the fruit stalls burst with color, texture, and an unbeatable fresh taste.

Ladies Night Out
Going to Bangkok felt like my first time really traveling alone. It was Friday night and the town was hopping. I felt eager to go out and enjoy a different side of the town as nighttime fell, so I ventured off to the first logical place I could think of to do so: the bar. It wasn’t long after I ordered a beer that I meet these girls, Katie and Hannah, both seniors at Manchester University in the UK. We hit it off, and proceeded to experience our Friday night in Khao San as it was meant to be—namely, this included unlimited Song Saem buckets and spring rolls.

Ferry… Bring me to shore!
This was one of the more exciting parts of my trip to Bangkok. On my last day, I took the ferry eastward to check out some of the most famous tourist attractions in the city. For 10 baht (35 cents), this is actually a really good deal and a logical means for transportation. First stop: the Grand Palace!

The following pictures were all taken at the Grand Palace, a complex of several historically significant buildings and temples. The palace was originally built in 1782 for King Rama I. From the 18th century on, it served as the official residency for all of Thailand’s kings. The complex sees thousands of tourists a day, and really is an impressive sight. It’s home to the Emerald Buddha (held inside Wat Phra Kaew) and contains several intricately carved golden towers. It felt really strange for me to be there by myself- nearly everyone seemed to be either on a tour group or with family. As a result, there are several goofy pictures of me standing and posing by myself, taken by one sympathetic, sunburned tourist or another.

Reclining Buddha, or as I prefer to call it, the Lazy Buddha.
My second sightseeing stop involved paying a visit to the infamous Reclining Buddha, house in the Wat Pho temple. The gold plated Buddha is an impressive 46 meters long and 15 meters high. It’s pretty interesting to walk around the entire Buddha, although securing a good viewing point is a challenge. The rest of the temple complex is almost equally noteworthy, having been constructed over 200 years ago and containing more than 1,000 Buddha images in total.