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?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Dragon Lady Wasn't All Bad

What a beautiful day!  We started out the day at the Summer Palace.  Our Tour guide keeps telling us about the wicked Dragon Lady who controlled the Chinese political scene around the turn of the twentieth century.  I bet she was just as conniving as her male counterparts - bad woman.  But she did a great job at making improvements to the Summer Palace.  As we entered the Summer Palace we heard music and saw a dance going on.  By dance I mean a boy ask girl ballroom event.  Deanna and I know a little bit from watching Dancing with the Stars so we participated.  What a way to start the day.  We walked around and enjoyed some of the most beautiful scenery and architecture that we have seen so far.  We saw a peaceful lake with gorgeous boats.  It is a wonderful national park.  As we were walking around we heard more music so we went up a hill to a pagoda to investigate and found about 250 retired people singing folk songs and dancing to a band.  Retirement age here is fifty so the people were not too old but they were having a great time.  The music was simple and the tunes predictable so Deanna and I found ourselves singing along.  One woman could tell we were struggling with the words, so she shared her song book.  To help us along, she pointed to the Chinese characters we should be singing.  I must have done pretty well because a few minutes later Deanna and I were invited to join the ten ladies in the middle who were holding hands and dancing while singing in front of the band.  Our dancing must have been equally as impressive because another woman came up and put garland around my neck and Deanna's neck!

Our guide told us that every day the retired people come to the Summer Palace to sing and to dance.  I love this tradition!  On our way out we stopped at a street vendor's cart and bought a Mongolian princess hat to match the garland.  Does this scream tourist?

Our next stop was a government owned pearl store - it was pretty pricey.  But I did get some face cream infused with pearl powder.  It will make me look even more young and beautiful than I am now.  Wow.  It's going to be unbelievable.

We went to a school to watch a student performance.  The middle school students took turns singing and dancing and doing Kung Fu.  Then I got the idea that we should do something for them.  We decided to sing America the Beautiful.  I was able to convince Darcy, a physics teacher from American Fork high, to lead the music.  Several in the group were able to sing the alto part, so it sounded like we had been practicing for weeks.  We met some really cute second and third grade students who had been practicing saying hello my name is _____.  I love how they were unembarrassed to practice.  Many of the high school age boys are too embarrassed to speak the language they are required to study.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

And She's Buying a Stairway to Heaven

Third day in China and I am missing Mexican food.  We are all getting a little tired of Chinese food.  But the good news is that no one is sick.  So rather than complain, I will be grateful.

Today's tour included a visit to the Beijing Museum of Art and History.  We saw some really beautiful ancient jade pieces and some ornate bronze.  We looked at a calligraphy display but it was hard to
appreciate the beauty of the poetry when we could not read the writing.  Now we know how the illiterate feel.  While at the museum, Deanna had to use the restroom but none of the workers could understand what she was asking for despite her use of several variations such as bathroom, washroom, toilet and restroom.  She really had to go, so I grabbed my crotch and crossed my eyes and was immediately understood.  Some sign language is universal.

We went to a jade factory but everything was so expensive we decided to buy our jade in Hong Kong.   It is pretty funny how we are taken to some really high priced shops every day.  But as Deanna pointed out, "We are a bunch of educators.  Why are they taking us here?"

The Great Wall was amazing.  The drive was reminiscent of a drive through the canyons in Utah.  I asked our tour guide if he skied and he said that he does.  He said that there is skiing about an hour out of Beijing.  He said that it costs about three hundred yen to rent the equipment and to pay for the lift ticket.  That is about fifty bucks.  That sounds like a good deal to me.

Deanna and I got our picture taken in traditional chinese soldier costumes - think Moulan.  The altitude is really high.  I ran out of steam after about a hundred feet.  Deanna helped me to pace myself by climbing twenty-five steps at a time then taking a rest.  We made it up to the eleventh guard house.  But the best feeling of all was standing on the Great Wall of China today.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Foreign Facination

Spotty technology has been a little frustrating, but I am grateful to be able to eventually get on the blog.  Check out Deanna's blog to see how we got beat up by Chinese women last night at

We started our tour at the Forbidden City.  Our tour guide's name was Biyoung.  Everything about the Forbidden City is ornate.  The gardens are beautiful.  With 9999 rooms we were warned not to get lost from the group or we might never be found.  I bought a little emperor's hat for Andrew and I can't wait to take a picture of him.

So we were on a field trip.  The best thing about this field trip is that I am not in charge.  Our tour guide and his photographer kept counting heads and making sure we took potty breaks.  They get us where we need to be when we need to be there.  It is great to be a kid again.

One man in our group is an African American who runs an after school program for troubled youth in LA.  We noticed that he and his mom were being sought out by random Chinese families for photographs.  He was unsure why he was so popular, then I pointed out to him that he was the only Black man in the Forbidden City.  He was pretty good natured about it and thought that Beijing would be a great place for a black man to go who suffered from self esteem issues.  His mother failed to share his good humor.  This didn't stop mothers from placing their children in front of her and getting pictures anyway.

At Tieneman Square, Deanna and I decided to turn the tables.  We found two outrageously dressed teen aged boys and took our picture with them.  Everyone else in our group thought this was a great idea, so they got pictures too.  I bet those boys had quite the tale to tell tonight in their blogs.

We went to Dr. Tea for a tea ceremony.  Our tour guide arranged for several herbal teas to be served.  My favorite was a fruit tea.  I never realized that certain teas have medicinal powers.

We next went to the Olympic Park and were given some free time.  This is where Deanna and I were walking around looking at the sights when we noticed a woman walking with us who wanted to take our picture, so we stopped and posed.  She then indicated through gestures that she wanted to take it one step further and get a picture of us with her husband.  When we each put an arm around his shoulder, her teenaged daughter doubled over in a fit of laughter.  I am SURPRISED that Chinese teens are embarrassed about their parents too.

Dinner was Peking Duck with many side dishes.  I am grateful that we brought some salt packages from the LA airport.  My biggest complaint about the food is that I can't get a cold drink.  All of our beverages are served at room temperature with no ice.  I am dying for a big gulp.  I bet if 7-11 came to China they would be life changing.  If the street vendors would carry coolers full of cold icy drinks I don't think I would even stop to barter.  I would pay whatever outrageous price they initially offered.  China, are you listening?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

They Don't All Look Alike

A twelve hour flight in coach isn't so bad on Air China, but then again, I didn't have too much of a problem with the tram at Snowbird Ski Resort.  I got up at least four times to stretch my legs.  I was able to walk around for about ten minutes each time I got up.  Deanna and I entertained each other by acting as interpreter when ever any announcements were made in Cantonese.  I feel kind of sorry for our traveling companions tomorrow.  They might not find us as hilariously funny as we find ourselves.

We went to a few little shops close to the hotel today.  Today is our day to rest up and adjust to the new time.  I stayed awake all day today with the solemn hope that I will sleep through the night.  For about three hours, Deanna and I did not see one other caucasian.  And if anyone is worried that the Chinese are training up all of the kids to speak English you can put aside your fears.  Very few people we spoke to could understand us.  We resort to gestures of  international understanding.  I just hope I never have to try to get some toilet paper.

We found a noodle house his afternoon and we found that the owner's brother could speak English enough for Deanna to feel comfortable that she wasn't going to get poisoned with MSG.  Keiko was a twenty-five year old semantics student from north of Beijing.  He hopes to study Spanish in Spain and is hoping to get a visa.  I told him I would be his facebook friend, but he said facebook doesn't work in China now.  He is the fourth child in a five child family.  He told us that it is possible for couples to have a lot of kids in China but that it is very expensive.  He ordered for us and all of the food was delicious.  There was a spinach dish with nuts that turned out to be the insides of peach pits.  He said they were a special kind of pit that was not bitter.  We had chicken wings, garlic chicken and a noodle dish with eggs and vegetables.  We provided the entertainment for the entire restaurant by eating noodles with chop sticks.  Yes, people got behind us and moved closer so that they could get a better view.

I will have to post pictures when I get back.  Not all sources on the internet allow blog access.

We saw a group of teens doing a flash dance or maybe just practicing for a flash dance.  We watched them and clapped for them.  We were the only ones to express our appreciation for their efforts.

Friday, April 8, 2011

All My Bags are Packed

Yesterday I left Dallas to go to LA.  It was my birthday so I got to have a special birthday party with my favorite little guy, Andrew.  He took me to the Cheesecake Factory.  We had a great time and he was very well behaved.  He allowed his mommy and daddy to go with us.  I think it was because he is just a little to young to be driving.

Today we did a some last minute shopping.  I decided to return my luggage to Costco and get a lighter weight set.  If the weight of the luggage takes up 1/3 of the total allowed weight, how am I ever going to haul the treasures of the Orient back to Dallas?  Megan and I went to some high end stores looking for high end handbags in Santa Monica today so that I would be prepared to recognize the good stuff in Hong Kong.  


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Twenty Questions

It has been about a month since I updated my blog last.  Fortuantely, my sister tagged me in a game of blog tag, so I have the perfect reason to update.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family?

I have had pets, but currently we are petless.  I know my position that animals are fun, but don't merit status as family members, will be unpopular.  But I came to this conclusion after our first dog died.  We got another one and the new dog was just as good as the first dog.  People, true family members, are not interchangeable.

2. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?

I would want all of my children to be happy and to be living the very best life that they possibly can.

3. What is the one thing most hated by you?

I hate spiders, snakes, and rodents.  I know I have listed three things, but they all stand in equal low regard.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

First,  I would pay my tithing.  Then I would hire a really good financial planner and would spend the interest earned on world travel and a beach house in Malibu, which would be remarkably close to Santa Monica where Andrew lives.  I would keep a pony for him so that we could have something really fun to do together.  Of course, everyone else can come and visit me too.

5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?

I think that the last time it took 2 1/2 pounds of Sees Chocolate.

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?

I think loving someone is more blessed.  You can't control other's love for you.  You can usually get over it if you are not loved.  But the very act of loving others fills my heart with joy!

7. What is your bedtime routine?

Family prayer, brush my teeth, check my email, check facebook, read blog updates, say my personal prayers,  Watch Jimmy Kimmel until I fall asleep.

8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?

The first time I met Bob I was laying on his bed kissing his toy moose.  My friend Traci Kern and I were helping her boyfriend, Jeff Cline move into his apartment at the beginning of sophomore year at BYU.  Now that I think back on it,  I must have been really working hard if I was laying on  Bob's bed.  Bob walked in and fell in love.  Well, maybe not love.  But he must have been intrigued.  I was pretty surprised a few days later to find him studying in the library the first week of school.  He just didn't come off as the type of person who felt the need to study, so I was intrigued.  You have to know what kind of a nerd I was to find studying to be a turn on.  Bob turned up the heat by buying me a salad at the Cougar-eat.  Our first date was to the movie My Bodyguard.

9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?

I would watch Shawna Erickson put together a musical production.  She always does the best work.

10. What kinds of books do you read?

I like many different genres of books.  I go through phases.  I think my weirdest phase was Russian tragedies.  I loved The Hunger Games series.  I love a good murder mystery.  I love Steven King, but I keep a sharpie handy to edit out all of his foul language so that if anyone after me reads the book it has been cleaned up. The most recent book I read was The Life Of Pi.  My main problem with reading is that I can't put a book down once I get started.  To me a book is like a bag of chips.  No matter the size I feel compelled to eat the whole bag at one sitting. 

11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?

Still blond.  I haven't seen any gray yet so I may be like my Grandma Stockam and never go gray.

12. What’s your fear?

Of course, I am afraid that another one of my children will die.  I don't personally know of anyone with a worse record.

13. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?

Not likely.  Visiting outer space has never been on my must-see list.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor?

Married and poor.   Been there, done that, not too bad.  There is always hope that finances will improve.

15. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

I go out and get the paper and read it cover to cover and do the Sudoku.

16. If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?

I already feed him garlic and onions to cut down on his appeal to any outside parties.

17. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?

When I was 13 I really wished my name was Gwen.  I have gotten over it.

18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?

I think that almost everything is forgivable with time, no matter how horrible, but darn it , I can't forget anything.  Remembering helps me to be careful to protect myself and those I love.

19. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?

I think I would go for Greek food everyday because it is so garlicky and flavorful.  I love that restaurant Little Greek at Campbell and Coit.

20. Who are you going to tag in this game?

I am tagging Caiti Leataua, Linda Fisher, and John Muir! Just cut and paste the questions and fill in your own answers.  Caiti and John, you need to change question 8 to Describe your perfect first date. and question 16 to If you could change one thing about your mother what would it be?  

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.