Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Young Womens' Camp song for 2014

This year the Dallas fourth ward young women will be going to camp the first week of June.  They needed a song to present to the stake on song night.  We came up with this idea during a presidency meeting.  It is to the tune of Let it Go from Frozen. I am putting it on my blog so that I can reference it again in the coming years.  At camp the girls have an opportunity for so many spiritual experiences. The title Let it Grow refers to growing our testimonies of Christ.

To let all of you non-Texans in on something, let me tell you, it is stinking hot and humid in the summer here.  Camp is held the first week the girls get out of school.  I wish I could say this helps. I can say that when a thunderstorm blows through, and they always blow through at that time of year, the temps drop a little for a short period of time.  But for the most part, there is no relief.  It feels like the part of the ride in Frog and Toads Adventure in Disneyland when the coaster is in hell. So, when you go to camp, you have to psyche yourself  up to be okay with the heat.

Let it Grow

D4 YW camp song 2014

The stars shine bright out at Langston tonight,
Not a young man to be seen.
We’re okay with perspiration,
And we’ve cleaned out the latrine.

The spirit’s strong here
Like the brightest sunny day,
Sisters in the truth
Never go astray.

Just let it in, just try to see.
Be the good girl you always want to be.
Reveal, just feel, just try to know.
Well, now we know

Let it grow, let it grow,
Can't hold back anymore.
Let it grow, let it grow,
Testimony to the core.

Here we stand                                                                                                                        for the right today,
Anchored in Christ.
The heat never bothered us anyway.

Out here in the fresh clean air,
 We finally can breathe.
Our families are back at home,                                                                                                                                        But we just can’t seem to grieve.

It’s time to see what we can do,
To test our limits and breakthrough.
Do right, not wrong, no guilt for me.
We’re free.

Let it grow, let it grow,
We are one with the wind and sky.
Let it grow, let it grow,
On the Savior we will rely.

Here we stand
For the right today,
Anchored in Christ.

We’re grateful for the YCL’s, both one and two.                                                            Grateful for leaders who are loyal, strong, and oh so true,
And now for all the cooks, let’s give them one big cheer.
In four days we’re goin’ back,
But, come what may, we’re here.

Let it grow, let it grow,
And we'll rise at the break of dawn.
Let it grow, let it grow,
To the rod we will hold on.

Here we stand
for the right today,
Anchored in Christ.
The heat never bothered us anyway.
Note...A YCL is a youth camp leader.  The girls are youth camp leaders for two years, hence, a YCL one and a YCL two. They really do a lot of work for camp and serve as wonderful examples for the younger girls. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed

When my big kids were younger I came up with a plan to help them avoid getting into romantic relationships when they were so tender in age. I told my daughter, Megan, that if she would wait until she was sixteen until she kissed someone I would give her $100.  She thought that would be a great way to score some new clothes, so she kept her lips sealed, and on her sixteenth birthday I handed her an envelope with her money.  She paid her tithing, then went down to the mall to spend the loot. She was a pretty happy girl.

I offered the same deal to Jeff.  He kept himself to himself until the Halloween when he was fifteen. With four months to go until he reached the magical age, he went to a Halloween party in the Lake Highlands area dressed as the Jolly Green Giant.  This must have been a real turn-on to at least one young lady, because before the night was through she had green face paint smeared all over her face and Jeff had a little less on his, and he had given up his one hundred dollars.

What to do? I gave it some thought and came to the conclusion that I would give Jeff's money to John if he could hold out. So, if John could be make it until his 16th birthday he would get Jeff's money and his money.  What could a sixteen year old boy do with $200?  Surely he would be motivated to stay pure. Two months before he turned sixteen we sent him to EFY (Especially For Youth- an LDS Youth Retreat) in San Diego, California. The romantic atmosphere proved too much for him.  He met the love of his life and kissed his COW (crush of the week) many times.  He told me about it when I picked him up, claiming that the make-out time was definitely worth the $200 he had given up.  I am pretty sure they broke up about two weeks after EFY.

So, one kid was left.  Joe has had the promised blessing of three hundred dollars hanging over his head since he was seven years old. He promised me that he wouldn't be foolish like his brothers. But I know that the promises a seven year old makes sometimes fall by the way when the hormones start to flow. I came up with an addendum to my plan to make it interesting and fair to Megan who was never in line to reap the reward from her brother's weaknesses. I told Joe that if he kissed anyone before he turned sixteen that I would give the money to Megan, because she truly earned it.  Megan had visions of a new Coach purse. Joe was not going to give her the satisfaction.  When Joe came to stay with her for a few weeks during the past two summers she would introduce him to all of the cute young things in her ward and arrange for Joe to get acquainted with the California beach babes. The temptations were high, but Joe has stayed strong, and today he got his envelope with his hard earned money. His friend Claire agreed to pose for this picture with him.  I think it turned out great!

More good news...Joe has his first date planned for Saturday night.  One of the cheerleaders from RHS has invited him to be her date for dinner and Jump Street party. I am so happy he is going.  He knows several of the kids who will be there and I am sure he will have a good time. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

On a Precipice, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I am sitting on top of the world right now.  The Utah State legislature is poised to pass a bill next week that will open the adoption records of those adopted prior to 1941.  In 1941 the legislators in Utah voted to seal all adoption records for one hundred years.  They made the sealing of the records retroactive to all adoptions ever contracted in the state.  Next week they will vote to open the records they had retroactively closed because there was no contract or guarantee to the birth parents prior to 1941 that their names would never be disclosed.

My mother was adopted by a loving family in 1938.  She had an enriched childhood with wonderful parents.  They did all that they could for her.  And they had to do a lot.  My mother would qualify for special education services if she were a child in today’s schools.  She had a severe speech impediment, as well as other learning difficulties.  As I got to be an older child and a teenager I realized that she had problems processing language.  Every time I said anything to her she would ask me to repeat it.  The smarty pants teenager that I was caught on to this, so every time I talked to her I would automatically repeat myself. Then she would ask me to repeat myself again, and I would roll my eyes and say whatever I was saying a third time.  Fortunately, I grew up a little and became kind again.  I trained myself to be patient with her, and I would help her  write letters and I would help her  communicate with other people.

She never wanted to know who her birth mother was.  She was afraid that it would dishonor her mother and father, and somehow, she would lose her rights as their daughter.  My grandmother wasn’t worried about it.  She was okay with her meeting her birth mother.  But they are gone from this earth now. So I am sitting on this precipice.  What could possibly go wrong?

I always knew that I would someday look at the adoption records and that I would make contact with my mother’s natural family. I was under the impression that I would be doing it when I was 78 years old, because that would be 100 years after the adoption.

When you are the child of an adopted parent you really don’t have a lot of answers.  Do I have a history of breast cancer in my family? How about a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, genetic anomalies?  I can tell you about my dad’s side, so I have half of a medical history.  My mother died from complications of osteoporosis.  She had the body of a 100 year old woman when she died at age 70. Was that because of lifestyle, or was that an inherited predisposition?

My sister, Deanna Caringella, took a 23 and Me home DNA test around Christmas and she just got her results last week.  Her results showed many cousins on the east coast so that got my curiosity up again about my birth grandmother.  Why was she in Utah in 1938?  Where was her family?  What did she do after the birth? 

After Deanna told me about her results I put forth another effort.  I called the predecessor of the original adoption agency that handled my mother’s case in Utah on 1938.  I was able to contact the correct person to help me. He was able to look on his computer and to find the file.  He pulled it up and agreed to look for any medical information that he might be able to give me.  As he was reading the file he said things like, “Oh, wow! Oh my goodness.  Well that was an easy adoption.”  I am not sure what he meant by those comments.  I am seriously jealous that he could read the file and that I can’t.  And, to no one’s surprise, there was no non identifying health information available in the file, not even the height, weight, or hair color of the birth mother.  When you think about it, it was 1938. The adoption records were not sealed. There were not extensive medical questioners that the birth parents filled out in preparation for the 100 year dearth of contact or information.  The natural parents were young adults and many health problems don’t present themselves until people get older. I learned from the adoption papers that are in my sister’s possession that the natural father signed the adoption papers and that he attorney had to drive to Weber County from Salt Lake to get the notarized signature of the birth mother. The cost of that errand was and additional ten dollars tacked on to the price of the adoption.

There was only one little glimmer of hope from the conversation. The worker at the adoption agency told me about a bill in the Utah legislature.  He didn’t hold out much hope for it.  So I googled it. It really looks hopeful.  In the few days since I started following house bill 256 it passed committee by a very large margin, and will go up for a vote in the full house late this week.

My imagination is going a little wild.  What will we find when we look in the file? Will there be a joyous reunion, anger, denial, or apathy? Whatever!  The result will be better than not knowing. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Texas High School Football Rant

The date is quickly approaching.  Tomorrow it will be a full year since I updated my blog.  I hate for that to roll up on side bars, so, out of pride I am breaking down to write something that has been on my mind.  I probably should spend a couple of months catching up on all of the fun we have been having over the last year, but that will come when I have more time.  Yeah, right...

Joe has started high school and has moved up to freshmen football.  Many of his buddies have dropped out to participate in other sports.  But Joe-verload has decided that this is his sport.  He is a big kid.  He is about 5' 11" and weighs 190.  He is not the biggest kid on the team.  Far from it.  Several boys weigh 250.  The freshmen are divided into two teams.  The Gold team is comprised of the smaller boys and the Purple team is made up of man-sized children.  Joe is on the Purple team. 

Joe's team lost the first game, but managed to break two bones of players on the other team.  Our quarterback ended up with a concussion.  This is a rough game.  When I have watched professional or college football I haven't been very concerned about the injuries.  To tell the truth, my biggest concern was how the injury would effect the outcome of the game or of the season.  As I sat on the bleachers watching the ambulance cart the kid with the broken leg away I had a change of perspective.  This could be my kid.  How could we incur all of these injuries for a freshmen football game?  And then there is the big question.  Why do we continue to do this?   Are the lifelong injuries these boys are going to experience worth the joy of the spectators? 

I have other concerns about the football environment, but this is Texas, and I know that my opinions will not change anything. 

Last night Joe came to me at the end of the day and told me he had been thinking a lot about football and had decided that he liked it more than ever, and that he wants to get better and prepare to play varsity in two years.  Clearly, we are not on the same page.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago, 9-11 Remembered

It was a beautiful fall day.  I remember waking up and feeling happy because the Texas summer was finally waning and we were getting highs in the  low 90's instead of the 100's.  The kids were all in school, even Joe, who was a 3 year old preschooler.  I busily got the kids ready for school that morning, making lunches and yelling out the motherly threats that help motivate kids to remember to take their lunches and get out of the door on time.  I had GMA going on in the back ground.  John should have left early because he was in sixth grade and Mrs. Long encouraged the kids to get to school thirty minutes early to get started on math for the day.  He knew that the more he did at school, the less homework he would have.  But he was a little slow that morning and he was watching TV when the report cam on that there was a problem at the World Trade Center.  At the time that he left for school the News reporters didn't know what had happened.  The reporter was guessing that maybe a bomb had gone off.  Jeff and Megan were at Richardson High School for marching band practice.  Bob was getting ready to go to work.  I looked at the TV and noticed that GMA was covering a breaking story about an airplane that had crashed into the World Trade Center.  They were interviewing witnesses who had seen the airplane.  I remember that people were being evacuated from the building that had been devastated and from the adjacent building.  I remember thinking it was overly cautious to evacuate that building.  I didn't know what to think about the crash.  I knew that the WTC had been the target of terrorists groups in the past,  but it was hard to believe someone would run a plane into a building.  I was really hoping the plane crash had been the result of a pilot having a heart attack at the exact wrong time.  I got Joe dressed up in some patriotic clothes that I had purchased at Target on clearance after all of the summer patriotic holidays were over.  He looked so cute wearing his American red, white, and blue.  I was giving him some cereal for breakfast and we were sitting at the table watching the little TV.  We were watching the first tower burn and I was explaining to him that someone might have gotten sick and hit the building, but not to worry because the firemen were trying to get all of the people out of the building.  That was when the second plane hit the second tower.  I remember Joe looking at me and saying, "Wooh!"  That was when I knew that it wasn't a mistake, but that NYC was under attack.  It was very surreal.  In my entire life I had never truly imagined that America would be attacked so openly.  We always took the fight somewhere else.  I know some people were afraid.  I wasn't afraid.  I was mad.  I didn't think that the whole nation was in danger, just NYC.  The terrorists always had a a problem with New York City, especially the WTC.

I put Joe in his car seat and started driving him to school.  I turned on the radio to listen to the account of what was going on at the WTC.   I was listening to Kid Kraddic on 106.1.  He had someone on a phone and on the air actually in NYC who was at the scene describing how people were jumping out of the buildings and landing on those below.  He pulled the plug on that, thinking it was way too graphic for his morning audience.  Almost as soon as he hung up on the WTC horror, he announced that an airplane had just crashed into the Pentagon and that there was one more plane out there.  He also announced that the American government had failed its people that day.  So now it wasn't just an attack on New York City, but on the American government.   Everyone thought that the next plane was heading to the White House.  I dropped Joe off at preschool and headed back home.  I had a Spring Creek PTA board meeting to go to.  I got in a few minutes late due to my driving duties.  I asked if everyone knew what was going on and they did.  Karen Holburn, our PTA president at the time was getting text updates every few minutes on her phone.  I remember she announced that the south tower collapsed.  A few minutes later a plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.  We had no idea why a plane would crash there.  Then a few minutes later she announced that the North tower had collapsed.  The principal, Carol Allen Tool came in and told us that the teachers had been instructed not to show anything on TV to the kids and not to talk about it.  I don't know why that rubbed me the wrong way.  I mean, sure, they could pretend like nothing happened that day at school, but surely the kids would find out when they got home.  The trouble was that when the kids got home we had our TVs on and the broadcasters kept showing the crashes over and over.  Some kids got confused and thought more and more planes were crashing into buildings.  So the solution was to turn off the TV and turn on a video if needed.  As acting CFO of Silver Cinemas, Bob had to turn off the TV at the office and remind the employees that they were being paid to work that day. 

I knew that life in America would never be quite the same.  I knew that we would never feel as secure as we felt on 9/10/01.  I had a feeling that this would be one of those events that would change the reckoning of time for America.  We would say things like, since 9-11...because of light of 9-11...And I knew that we would finally have to address the big troubles in the middle east for which there are no good solutions.   I knew there would be a big war and that many more people would lose their lives.  I knew that America would have to stand together.  I felt sorry for my kids who would have to face these new realities for the rest of their lives. 

I talked to my father about it and he questioned if the terrorists knew that 911 was the number you dial in case of emergency.  He wondered if it was coincidental.  I assured him that it wasn't coincidental, but a "cute" gimmick for them.  We would always remember 9-11.  It would roll off the tongue.  I still question the reasoning for the attacks.  Were they thinking they would gather converts to Islam by bombing us?  Why can't they send missionaries out like everyone else?  I was amazed that there seemed to be a rash of Islamic converts at the time.  I will never get that.  Several of Megan's Islamic friends were upset about the terrorists' Islamic roots.  It is no wonder that America tried to stay out of the sticky Middle Eastern problems as long as it could.  I wish we could turn back the clock and go back, but, as the saying goes, the horse is already out of the barn.   

Monday, September 5, 2011

Greek Yogurt and What to do with It

I love Greek Yogurt. It is thick and creamy and tastes like a cross between cream cheese and sour cream, without all of the calories. In fact, most diets allow and encourage yogurt. But it is expensive. I decided that I would just go ahead and buy it for myself. I would buy a quart. If I ate about a half cup a day it should last for 8 days. I really like to eat it with fresh fruit, especially blueberries and raspberries and a squiggle of honey. But I noticed that my container of yogurt ran out way before the 8 days were up. Then I saw the problem. Joe had sampled Greek yogurt at Costco. He doesn't have the portion control skills that I have developed. He would fill his bowl with about a cup or more of yogurt at a time! I confronted him. I told him Greek yogurt is concentrated so he only needs half of what he thinks. No change. He countered that he was really hungry and the lady at Costco told him it was really good for his body. I told him to add fruit to stretch his yogurt, but he said he only liked it with honey. Finally I told him that Greek yogurt is an R rated food. Only adults have the wisdom to eat the right amount and to appreciate it. You can imagine how that went over. I needed to ship Joe off to military school or figure out a cheaper source for my new found favorite food.

I remembered that back in the mid eighties I had friends with home yogurt making machines so I started researching and discovered methods and recipes without special equipment. I have tried it a couple of times and it is really good and really easy. You don't need a yogurt maker, but you do need an instant read thermometer(available at Walmart or Target), a cooler, an electric blanket or throw, and 9 pint sized mason jars with lids. I like to use the wide mouth jars but it really doesn't matter if you use the standard size.

Greek Yogurt

1 gallon of milk-skim to whole, whatever your preference
Enough powdered milk to make 1 gallon of milk(don't add the water)

1/2 to 1 cup of Greek yogurt to start the culture

Put your milk in a large pot. Add the powdered milk. Notice that I haven't told you exactly how much powdered milk to use. You need to read the instructions on the powdered milk you have. You might even add a little more powdered milk. The more powdered milk you add the thicker the yogurt will be. This is called fortified milk. It is a double strength milk. Heat the milk to 190 degrees, The heating chemically changes the milk. If you skip this step or don' heat it adequately you will get a stringy and slimy yogurt. Now the yogurt has to cool to 120 degrees. Yogurt cultures grow between 110 and 125 degrees.  Under 110 the yougurt culture doesn't grow.  Over 125 and the culture is killed. If you want to speed the cooling you could put the pot in the sink surrounded by ice. When the milk gets down to 120 degrees take out 2 cups and mix it with the yogurt. I use a wire whisk on this step. Then put the milk-yogurt mix into the pot of milk and whisk until the yogurt is completely incorporated. At this point you can pour the milk through a cheese cloth or a thin tea towel to take out any grains or grittiness that has entered the milk during the heating and cooling process.

Next, fill the jars with the yogurt infused milk. Put the lids on the jars and screw down the bands. Put all of the jars into a cooler and throw in the electric blanket. Set the electric blanket to high. Allow this to "cook" for 14 hours. Next, put the yogurt in the fridge. You will want to wait about 12 hours for the yogurt to cool and thicken up.

The yogurt will stay good for at least 4 weeks in the fridge. Make sure you keep 1 cup of the yogurt to start your next batch.

So the cost of this yogurt is the price of a gallon of milk and the price of the powdered milk. In Dallas at this time the cost is about $4 for 9 pints of the best Greek yogurt you have ever eaten.

But what to do with all of that yogurt if you don't have a thirteen year old boy around? I made some Mango Frozen Yogurt last night. It was so good, just like the kind at Tutti Frutti. I will post more Frozen yogurt recipes when I try them.

Mango Frozen Yogurt

2 C Greek yogurt

2/3 C milk

1/2 C sugar

2 T honey

2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and chunked

Put the mango chunks, milk, honey and sugar in the blender and process until smooth. Add the yogurt and process until well blended. Place in the freezer or fridge for about an hour to chill. Pour this into an ice cream freezer and let it run for 20-25 minutes. Perfection!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Its A Small World And Bentley Is In It

Confession time.  I follow the Bachelor/ Bachelorette.  I am not proud of this but I just can't keep myself from watching the train wreck that is sure to happen under the reality show premise.  I am not the only one.  My neighbor who is well educated, runs everyday, owns a cool black Labrador, and is still employed in this economy also follows the Bachelor/Bachelorette, and he is a guy!  And, is it politically incorrect for me to surmise that he is not gay because of the wife and kids?  Every Tuesday we greet each other and talk about the show and what happened and what we think will happen.  And he is not my only friend with this obsession.  Y'all know who you are.

So far this season Bentley, from Salt Lake City, has proven to be the kind of guy no girl should want to date.  He acted charming toward Ashley, but behind her back he would say demeaning things that would just make me want to slap him.  I have had a friend ask me to find one of my Utah friends to key his car.  I think he hits it out of the park playing the role of a jerk I remember dating right after high school.

Tonight I went to Shawna Erickson's 60th birthday party.  It was a fun luau theme and I enjoyed seeing so many friends I have known since we moved to Dallas 22 years ago.  As we were socializing I overheard that one of Shawna's grandsons was named Bentley.  I had to make a joke about it to his mother.  When I started laughing about the Bachelorette she told me that Bentley was actually named after the Bachelorette villain.  Her husband and Bentley had been friends at BYU and had played on the same intermural football team.  Lance admired Bentley as the guy who had it all.  He was good looking.  He got great grades. He came from a wealthy family.  He had a great car.  He was good at sports and had a really cute girlfriend.  And he was hillariously funny.  Why not name your kid after such a great guy?  He believes Bentley is being demonized, that he really isn't that bad of a guy.

On our way home from the party we called Megan (another Bachelor/Bachelorette viewer) to tell her that we had met Bentley at the party.  She thought the story was pretty funny but Megan also has a connection to Bentley. One of Megan's friends used to date Bentley.  She watches the show and is grateful she moved on.

Bentley, love him or hate him, he is the reason for the 7th season of the Bachelorette.

  You might think that BYU is a small place where everyone knows everyone, but the enrollment is over 30,000 students.  Maybe in the Mormon world we just have fewer degrees of separation.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lost in Translation

On our last full day in Beijing we were given a free day.  Our tour guide gave us specific instructions to dilligently watch out for cars to avoid being hit.  He also warned us not to eat anything from a street vendor.  He also advised carrying a card from the hotel so that we could give it to a taxi driver in case we got completely lost.  Several times during the week we had passed by the working Lama temple.  Several of us decided we would love to go to the Temple and back to the Hu Tong.   I was surprised at the number of incence vendors around and in the temple.  There were Buda's after Buda's.  They grew increasingly more ornate and large as we progressed through the temple.  The final Buda was about 250 meters tall and carved out of a single tree - very impressive.

We walked several miles in search of the Hu Tong.  We finally gave up and found a restaurant that looked like it needed customers.  Deanna gave her paper to the workers explaining that she should not be given any MSG.  Amazingly we were able to order and eat a meal without speaking any Mandarin and without the workers speaking a word of English.  No one got sick and we paid the equivalent to about $2.30 per person, including a drink.

We went to the Silk and Pearl Market next.  I bought some tea to decorate some of the handmade soaps I make.  I also bought some jade.  Deanna and I saw some ladies wearing Hard Rock Cafe Beijing shirts.  They were the real thing and we decided that our Joes should have the real thing.  The Australian ladies couldn't remember exactly where it was, but they knew we needed a taxi.

We finally got a taxi to stop, but he didn't understand us, so we had to let him go.  We went back to the Silk and Pearl Market and found a Chinese woman who could speak English.  She was there with her German speaking boy friend.  She used his translator and his computer to look up the address.  She wrote down the "Hard Rock Cafe" in Chinese characters on a piece of paper for us.  We walked about a half a mile away to get a cab.  We were so grateful to be sitting in the cab.  The cab driver took our paper with the address to see where he was going to take us.  All of the sudden he slammed on the brakes and motioned in a mean disgusted way that we needed to get out of the cab.  I thought he was upset that we were only going a short distance and that he didn't want to waste his time.  I tried to argue with him but he kept insisting that we get out.  So we got out and went back to the Silk and Pearl Market.  That was when we saw a rickshaw.  If the taxi driver didn't consider it a good enough fare, maybe she would.  We got in her rickshaw after showing her our paper and she took us about a block down the street and gave us to her husband.  Perhaps we are too heavy, or the way was too far.  We showed the man our paper and negotiated a price of twenty Yuan.  He nodded when we asked him if he knew where we were going.  We felt happy that he was using an electrically powered bicycle on the rickshaw.  I seemed we went down the street for about fifteen minutes.  Then we stopped in front of some seedy little restaurant called Woody's with Chinese characters that I assume meant restaurant.  The driver turns to us and makes some gross eating motion indicating, «here we are».  I shoved the paper in his face trying to tell him he had taken us to the wrong place.  Do you know how hard it is to argue with someone who can't understand you?  We got out.  I wasn't going to pay him, but I felt sorry for all of the time he took, so we gave him half.  When he started chasing Deanna to get more money from her, I shoved the paper in his face again to remind him that he took us to the wrong place.  He finally drove off cursing us as he went.

We had to take stock of where we were.  I started looking around and noticed several sexually oriented businesses like the "Love Cellar".  That was when I got mad.  How dare he take us to this nasty part of town!  I had been unsuccessfully trying to hail a cab, but not surprisingly no one would stop.  All of the sudden I saw the rickshaw approaching.  I have never flipped anyone off in my life, but it was going to happen at this moment.  I was hoping that the finger would mean the same thing in Mandarin as it does in English.  I was trying to catch his eye so that he would be looking when I realized it was a different guy.  He looked at me and gave me the worst come hither leer.  Ooh.  No one ever looks at me that way.  At that moment I caught the sign for Woody's in the background of the leering man and a memory stirred.  I have a husband and have had two teenage sons.  I have watched Saturday Night Live.  They had translated Hard Rock cafe an entirely different way.  That explains how we got kicked out of the cab.  That explains why the woman didn't want to take us.  That explains why we got dropped off in front of Woody's Cafe.

We eventually snuck up on a cab driver and hopped in his taxi before he could leave us.  We gave him the precious hotel card and we were home about forty-five minutes later after a ride past the Forbidden City and Tieneman Square.  Back at the Hotel I asked the concierge to interpret what was written on our paper.  He said it was "Hard Rock Cafe" but that it could also be interpreted as "Hard as a Stone Restaurant".  He made further explanations on the name so that if we chose to go back the taxi driver would not be confused.  I guess it is all in the mind of the reader.  Later that night we went to the Snack Street Market where food like roasted scorpions is sold. We stayed long enough to take pictures, but then we hopped in a cab and went to the real Hard Rock Cafe and got the Joes real t-shirts.  The lengths I will go to completely spoil that cute son of mine.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Knockin on Heaven's Door

I can't believe how fantastic the weather has been the whole time we have been here.  Today we started out with a Tai Chi lesson at the Temple of Heaven.   I know there is something about balance and control.  I wish I had either one.  The grounds of the temple were filled with retired people playing.  In America adults rarely play.  That is one aspect of Chinese society that I love.  The older people feel free to dance, to sing, to play shuttlecock, and to play badminton.  It is as if they have worked hard all of their lives, and now they get to have fun.

We made it up to the temple and were only given about forty minutes to explore.  Not enough time.  Deanna and I took a little too long looking around and discovered that Lilly the photographer was assigned to find us.  We were rushed off to the state run silk factory for some really pricey shopping.  The high-end shopping is just not me.

We went to the Houtong district for a rickshaw ride and a home-made lunch.  After so many meals at the government run restaurants, it was nice to have something home-made.  I loved the way the cook put garlic shoots into a chicken dish.  But my favorite dish was the peanuts.  We are all getting pretty good with chop sticks.

It was interesting to see how a family in this area lives.

Our next stop was a flea market.  I thought I would buy a lot, but I ended with a t-shirt and some DVDs.  Deanna bought some great things.

After dinner we went to the acrobatics show.  Everything was interesting, fascinating, and entertaining until they wheeled in a motorcycle cage.  I was able to watch one motorcycle in the big cage ball.  But when the second one entered the cage, I had to get up and leave.  I can't even get away from my issues on the other side of the world.  Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?

About Me

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I am a stay at home mom but the clock is ticking. My husband and I only have one child left at home. I enjoy shopping and finding great bargains.