Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hello From Redding!!!

Hello from Redding...I am writing at the conclusion of a wonderful two week vacation that Leisel and I spent with our grandparents in the sunny state of California.
Yes, that picture on the left is a photo of Leisel's grand packing job...(she packs like we aren't ever coming back :)
We are taking this time to soak up as much sun as possible before returning to the rainy state of Washington :) If'n you happen to be in the area, and were to pass a car with two girls sticking their heads out the window, enjoying this awesome weather, that would be us :)

The first few days of our vacation proved to be quite an adventure as Grandma was getting new carpets installed in her was our job to remove all of the gadgets and china from each of her cupboards, along with all of their CDs and DVDs , attempting to keep them in some kind of proved to be quite a process. We started at 6:00 in the morning and our day didn't end till 4:00 in the the time that they spent removing and replacing the carpet, we went through Grandma's kitchen cupboards. After the men were gone, we had to wash all of the china and put everything back. Grandma was a bit dazed through the whole process, promising to acquire her same level of energy after this was all finished....whereas, Leisel and I went to the other extreme and went crazy with laughter. Anything and everything cracked us up...t'was our only comic relief ;)

After it was all finished, we made our way through the maze of furniture to some empty couches, got some chocolate, sat down, and didn't move...we were exhausted ! And though we'd planned on making a trip to Costco to celebrate our achievements, even I was too tired for that. Being utterly worn out, we had Grandpa buy some pizza for our dinner that night :)

Another of our days here was spent at a conference, where Colin Campbell, author of "The China Study", spoke. Grandpa brought us there in an attempt to convert us to his vegetarian and dairy-less ways...but I am afraid that the ice cream we enjoyed later that evening showed that the effects of the conference had not quite sunk in yet...(I have a feeling it will be a long process ;)

Since arriving here, Leisel and I have had anything but a good sleep schedule...our curfew have been getting later and later into the night...till they became earlier and earlier into the morning...ending with a whopping 4:15 (and we had to get up the next morning at 6:30)s...oh well, we were finishing a K-drama; need I say more :) The lack of sleep doesn't seem to have had much affect on us...but that could be because of the invigorating sunshine that replenishes our energy supply. Though a few signs of exhaustion have shown themselves, like when Grandma left Leisel and me in the car for her BSF lesson...when it was time for the public discussion, she came out in the car to fetch us...we were both conked out on the seats. And just the other day, when I went to refill the coffee Kraff, I pulled the hose from the sink to hold it over the Kraff. Well, at one point, as I was pulling it out, I held it over the floor, and prematurely turned on the was at that moment that I realized that I'd truly worn myself out.
We attended a lovely Navy band concert the other day as well...eek, I did sleep for a good part of the first half, but thoroughly enjoyed the second part :)

And not to be forgotten...I managed to survive my first driving lesson with Grandpa. Yeppers, I've never been behind the wheel of a car in my whole life...(In a big family, you gotta wait your turn :) Bout the only thing I've ever driven is our little John Deer tractor and go-carts (and I'm not going into details about how the go-carts went :)
Grandma's mini van was a whole different experience for me...and a bit of a life threatening adventure for others. (Okay, so just a few sharp corners or speeding up at the wrong time) This I knew by the look of the wide-eyed passenger in the backseat, praying fervently  Hopefully by the time I come home, I will at least be an amateur at it :)

Valentines was extra special this year, as we woke up that morning to a card set by each of our places. Leisel and I each had a gift wrapped, and there was a lovely bouquet of flowers sitting there for Grandma. It was my first Valentines gift ever. And we both received a very special e-card from Jonathon telling us how he missed us.
After a refreshing walk, Leisel and I whipped up a breakfast of eggs, potatoes and sausage for Valentines.We spent part of the day at a Rotary dinner...then the next evening, attended a lovely event put on by Grandma and Grandpa's church. 

It has been really nice for Leisel and me to be able to give Grandma some what of a break during our stay here...making meals and such...though how much relaxing she does with me banging around in the kitchen, I don't know. She's still getting used to the noise level that comes along with having a Nae-Nae around *grins*
I've also been able to make some desserts for Grandma and Grandpa that wouldn't normally not sit around there house...and am learning that Grandpa's one weakness is chocolate cake, and Grandma can never refuse anything with caramel or lemon in it.

Other than that, we've been taking it kinda easy round here, running the normal trips to Raleys for groceries, playing intense games of aggravation in the evenings, pleasure shopping with Grandma, and taking beautiful walks on the Sundial bridge. We're looking forward to seeing everyone again. And in fact, one of my first days here, after we'd gotten out of the grocery store, the first thing I looked for in the parking lot was a big white van...needless to say, it wasn't there :)... But we are right now enjoying the wonderful times and memories made with our Grandparents and taking in some awesome sunshine!
(Though I have already warned Jonathon that the number of freckles I have acquired since arriving here almost renders me unrecognizable...Leisel will have gotten the nice tan :)
Well, I think that accounts for the lack of posts in the last two weeks...till next time everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Daddy, Snails, and Thailand

We are all extremely glad to have daddy back from his one week stay in Thailand. Our family is like a one man working machine, and with one part missing, it doesn't quite function properly. Sadly, Dad has another trip planned for sometime in March, but we'll make up for it with plenty of family time in between trips. I decided that I'd post some of the pictures from his trip...and his recent interesting experience with snails :)

For those of you who don't know my Dad, one of the first things that you should realize about him is that he is anything but adventuresome when it comes to his food...He is the kind of man who shudders at the thought of any other meat than beef, chicken, or Salmon sitting on his plate, who goes to China and doesn't venture  beyond pizzas, who requests that his meat be deguberfied in the cooking process (the procedure of removing the stringy purple veins from the chicken :) ...and this very same man, my daddy, is sitting there in the picture above, with that little green blob on his fork...and eating his very first, and VERY last meal of escargot :)
....I know, it took all of us back home a while to digest this fact, and even longer for him to digest it.
After his team had finally "convinced" him of the normality of a snail on the dinner plate, he sorta consented...and the next thing he knew, he was brought a small sample of escargot. After trying and trying to cut a small chunk off the tiny green ball, so he could just nibble at it...he finally gave up and stuck the whole bloomin' bite into his mouth! I said, it was definitely his first and most probably his last encounter he'll ever have with Escargot! ;)

While in Thailand, Daddy was able to take a Long-Boat tour....  

He traveled through canals that meandered through parts of Bangkok.  Many of the homes along the canal are dilapidated and strewn with garbage. It wasn't obvious to Daddy, whether this is typical of Thailand or uniquely characteristic of the areas that he traveled through.  Regardless, he found it culturally instructive and a good reminder of how blessed we are to live in the U.S.A.

He also visited one of the many Buddhist temples that are throughout the city of Bangkok.  Thailand as a whole is heavily Buddhist.  Daddy said that many of the people who were visiting the temple at the time seemed to be actively engaged in worship of some kind and openly praying at various points throughout the temple.  He said, in many ways it was sad to watch, knowing they were desperately crying out for help to a supposed 'deity' that was powerless to help them and offered no solution for their ultimate problem of sin.  It is like the passage in Isaiah that speaks of men who create an idol out of wood and worship it ...and burn the remainder of the wood to warm themselves.

It says in Isaiah 44:10-17 (Quoted from NASB):

"10 Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? 11 Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame.
12 The man shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary. 13 Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. 14 Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

Here's a view from his hotel room on the left, and the picture of the hotel on the right. He was taken care of pretty well while he was there...but I think that he was ready to get back home again. And Mom was just as anxious! We tease her that when daddy is gone, she hibernates in the den...waiting for any news by way of chat, skype or phone...but we're only joking...for the most part :)

P.S. I had to get a lot of help from daddy for this post seeing as how I wasn't there myself, so part of the credit goes to him :)