Sunday, December 26, 2010
Anyway, I use to wear a pin on my coat that said, "Get revenge...give fruitcake!", just for the laughs and reactions it got. Now, admittedly, I can't remember the details of how this all started but for about twelve years now my nephew, Kyle Johnson, and I have been giving each other fruitcake, every Christmas. It gets better.......not just giving fruitcake, but giving THE SAME fruitcake to each other, trading off year after year! We have gotten very creative over the years as to how we give it so as to throw each other off at times, but you can bet that that fruitcake is going to show up sometime during Christmas day...count on it! (By the way, we did have to replace it once about 8 years ago because it got ruined but other than that, it has remained the same one.....it's like a Twinkie, that thing, it just won't die!! It's one of those that was bought at a local gas station, made by Hostess!! LOL)
Well, last year I spent my first Christmas in Macchiato and in the midst of lamenting a Christmas far from my family I had forgotten about the fruitcake. But Kyle didn't. It was his turn. So imagine my surprise when I opened a box of gifts sent from home, and the minute my hand touched the little brick I knew exactly what it was and laughed....and cried!!
That being said, this year it's my turn to give the fruitcake. However, Macchiato's heat and ant infiltration proved to be too much for the little Hostess fruitcake and I had to throw it away after many attempts to try to save it.
But.........all is not lost, and the same fruitcake shall be given, just this time creatively, through the Internet!
Merry Christmas Kyle!! Lucky for you I took a picture before it got sent to fruitcake heaven!
Enjoy!! We love and miss you all!!
Monday, December 20, 2010
They are so funny how they pose with him!
He never knows how to stand!
They are very specific though about how they want the photo taken!
So for now he endures Bieber Fever, and is ready for the fad to pass, so that he no longer hears, "Baby...baby....baby....ohhhhh" whenever the kids in the neighborhood walk by the house! Some day, this will be funny to him. :)
Monday, December 13, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
With all the talk lately about TSA and all of their new "patting down" and "super sonic x-ray thing-a-ma-jig" policies, I thought I'd let you know that as we were leaving the capitol city a week and a half ago, it happened to me! I'm not sure what Macchiato's version of TSA is called but as we went through the third set of security tables/scanners/door-way metal detectors the thing went off as I passed through. Now, mind you, it didn't go off the first two security checks and you want to know why? Because I'm a seasoned traveler. I have learned, sometimes the hard way, what belts, jewelry, and other things set them off and I am extremely cautious to avoid wearing them when I fly because, a) It is not worth the hassle and, b) when you have six people to move through security you do whatever you can to make it go smoothly! :) At least we don't have to remove our shoes in the airports overseas! With four kids, that's a blessing, although mine are finally old enough to all tie there own shoes it was always loads of fun when I had to do it for a couple of them!!
Anyway....back to the story....so I walk through the metal detector and I am not lying, before I even knew or could register what was going on this lady is patting all over me! I mean she was quick, I had barely stepped through the thing when she started! There was no asking, no informing, just instant hands all over me! So as I walk away a bit shell shocked I said, "Barry, they just patted me down!" to which he replied, "They did me too!" (Of course they probably couldn't start at the top with him! LOL) I told you all of that because I get a little behind in the news over here, and when I got back I saw some articles on the whole TSA issue and I thought I'd share my experience with all of you, I know, you can thank me later! :)
Not sure what the best solution is, I want my plane to be safe, but I also don't want anyone to be humiliated or taken advantage of, and just so you know, we didn't complain, it really was done professionally, well minus the whole tell you what needs to happen part! We didn't feel singled out, and I noticed that they did it to almost all of the adults who passed through. No, I didn't stay and watch. Because we were talking about what had just happened, we missed our gate which came immediately after that check point, so we had to turn around and come back! Trust me, you are enough of a freak show being six white people on the domestic side, walking all the way back after missing your gate is really fun....at least for those watching! :)
Well, this brings me to the other night. We were sitting around the dinner table laughing, when all of the sudden we hear someone bellowing at our front door. Bellowing. It was loud. It was so loud in fact, that everyone immediately got quiet as we tried to figure out what/who it was! Barry gets up from his seat and goes to the door while Marshall and Campbell peek around the corner to see who it is, well, it's a neighbor of ours. He is a friendly man, I call him an old man, Barry says that he is probably close to his age but has just had a hard life, missing most of his teeth and mostly gray haired. He tells us that his mother passed away and he needed money for something or another. This is a common occurrence, not with him but with many people, usually daily, we just have to see how we are led as to what we do. But I mention this guy because of how the kids described who was at the door to me. They said, "Oh, it's our neighbor who patted dad down when he first met him!" I cracked up because I had totally forgot about "the incident"! We had just moved in when this guy comes walking by wearing the traditional sarong and hat, literally shuffling as he doesn't walk well, and he starts a conversation with Barry. So as they are making introductions I am watching from the porch and I see this man reach out and starting at Barry's shoulders, he takes both hands and pats Barry's body all the way down to about his thighs!! What?! I couldn't wait to ask Barry what he said or why he did that! So when Barry came back I am laughing my head off because Barry didn't have a clue as to why that man did it as he said, "Oh, an American!"
Who knows maybe he secretly wants to work for TSA or maybe he is retired from Macchiato's version and old habits die hard! Just another day in our crazy life!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Well...I hate to burst your bubble but not all dolphins are Flipper, and I have proof.
And as a little confession here, I am still holding a grudge. I mean, I was the one who picked this little excursion for the family. I set it all up and got everyone pumped up on how exciting this adventure was going to be, despite the three hour cab ride to the hotel on the other side of Bali,(minor detail) this was a once in a lifetime adventure we were embarking on! What's not to be excited about?
I just want to add that the photo was taken days later after we arrived home, initially it was nearly pure black! Let's just say I am glad it was me and not one of my sweet children who were not so convinced this was a good idea but lovingly trusted their mother in their innocence! :) Otherwise I might be writing this up from jail after serving up some dolphin stew! (Just for the record...I would have had Barry do it, no way would I get back in the water with "Damian"!) LOL Seriously, there was no running..er..swimming start he just barely moved, ducked under water and took that so called "bottle nose" and rammed my thigh then resumed position as if nothing happened, he never moved again until I sat on the edge and put my feet in (like the trainer told me to...stupid trainer) and then he went after my feet! Oh, and one last thing, Barry was actually the first one in but the dolphin didn't move, so the trainer tells us that I should go first because they respond better to women, guess I should have had him clarify "respond".
We actually did end up having a great time so all was not lost. But take a little advice and next time you think about swimming with the dolphins, or sticking your children in with the dolphins.....they ain't all like Flipper!
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This year we flew to Bali early and then met the boys there as they flew in with the rest of the campers from Camp Miki. Their camp is always the week before our meetings. It was so weird leaving on a plane without them! But everyone made it there safely and the kids had a blast at camp. Next year Campbell will be old enough to go and she is SO excited!
It was a little bittersweet this past summer because many of our friends from training were here for short term and they will be going home in January 2011. They truly have become family to us and they will be greatly missed. I can't even imagine going to our meetings next year and not seeing so many of them! Sniff....sniff.....such is our life now, full of hello's and sadly, good-bye's!! :(
After our meetings we moved hotels by a better swimming beach and stayed where we did last year and enjoyed a week of vacation at the beach. Niiiice!
Again, boys wanted to surf but the only day we could have there were monstrously strong waves and we didn't want to risk it, in cases like those, we'll stick to boogie boards! We saw friends that we had made the previous year who sold stuff on the beach and one guy found us several sand dollars, the kids loved that! We have quite the shell collection now.
Enjoy a peek into our lives!!
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Logically, it was the best thing to use as a ladder for the repairman!! LOL Are you kidding me? Can you ever imagine such a thing happening in the US? On the upside he put paper over it before he stood on it!! Wow...again, I couldn't make this stuff up, it's hysterical!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
- I never told you all why I ended up not going private with the blog. I found that it would severely limit the number of people who could read it, and in the end when weighing the pros and cons I decided to leave it open for now. I have however, saved all of your email addresses in case I ever need to close it.
- I have noticed since I have moved to this location that I am having trouble speaking my thoughts clearly. I have never stuttered before but am now finding that there are times when I cannot get the words out or the words come out differently than what I think I said. Weird I know, could be culture shock/stress or just a senior moment, I guess time will tell. Here is an example: We were watching a movie and Campbell says, "What did he say?", and in my head I replied with the correct phrase, "You need to learn to play the tambourine." but what came out was, "You need to learn to use a submarine!" What?! Where did that come from? Well....if you know my family, you can imagine the laughter that bellowed throughout our home at that!! On second thought, my mom might call this payback! :) I know this is a silly mistake but this is just one example of many on top of sometimes not being able to start a conversation without stuttering.....yes, in English!
- I now have a "closed friend". It's true. I have a text message to prove it! One night an elderly man showed up at my door. He was dressed nice and had a file full of papers and asked if I could help him with these since they needed to be filled out in English. I agreed to help and asked him to come in and we corrected the crazy English. This man can speak English and knew that the answers on the questionnaire that someone else wrote were not correct but he didn't know how to correct it. Anyway, we have had several meetings relating to paperwork for his company and he sent me a text saying that he can see Barry and I becoming his "closed friends". That made me smile!
- I have begun a study of the Manual with "J" and several other national women who are like-minded. They are beautiful women inside and out and I am looking forward to getting to know them better and improving my language in this area.
- We leave in three days to the capital city for two weeks of training. The kids excited to be staying during the weekdays with some friends of ours who we were in training with at the farm, "P" and "J", and then with us on the weekends. Everyone is also excited because they will get to see other friends who live there and also get treats like Chili's and Krispy Kreme!
- As of today we have completed half of our term! Wow!
- We have now completed James 1-2:18 in our memorization! I and all four kids are doing great and can quote them smoothly and yet it seems to have created a bit of sp*r*tual warfare. I think someone doesn't like them learning the basics of living out their faith! For the first time in their lives they started fighting with each other daily, it was crazy! We confronted them about how what we are doing is not liked and that we need to lift up that we stand firm and do what is right. The last several days have been better. The CEO is faithful! Please continue to talk to the CEO on our behalf!
Well, I am going to close this with a few snapshots from a recent trip to the grocery store...too bad I can't post the smell with it!! :)
Live eels! This is what they use for a relay game during there festivities, kids carry them from one bucket to another......fun for the family! Barry likes picking them up....they have plastic bags you can put on your hands and pick out your own...uh...thanks!
Last but not least, remember to keep talking to the CEO as the death tolls continue to rise from the tsunami and the volcano, there are many survivors displaced and suffering!!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Notice the volcano on the banner, it represents Mt. MerapiThe volcano in the background
I thought these last two shots looked like very similar areas. So very sad.
Just in case you did not see this on my FB page, here is part of an article that was written after the first three eruptions. I wanted you to get a picture of the belief system so prevalent in Macchiato:
"Among the dead from Tuesday's eruption was an 83-year-old man named Maridjan, who was entrusted by a late king from the nearby city of Yogyakarta to watch over the mountain's unpredictable spirits. He had refused to leave his house high on its slopes.
The discovery Wednesday of his ash-covered body, reportedly found in a position of Isl*mic prayer, kneeling face-down on the floor, rattled residents who for years joined his ceremonies to appease the rumbling giant by throwing rice, clothes and chickens into the crater.
Many people paid tribute to Maridjan on Facebook and Twitter.
"I'm more afraid than ever," said Prapto Wiyono, a 60-year-old farmer from the mountain village of Pangukrejo. "Who's going to tell us what's going on with Merapi?"
Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, the stakes are high - Souls of men.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Yes, that's her...it really is Justine! Oh, sorry you must be talking about the other lady, yes that really is Kirstie Alley! This is an old shot, about 4 years ago. Back when Barry was working part-time for United Airlines we were able to travel quite a bit and often in first class, and one time she and I were seat-mates in first class on a flight from LAX to Oklahoma City. Crazy huh? She was super sweet and very talkative, shared her magazines with me and chatted about her children and redecorating her home. However there is also one other thing that she did and that is why this picture is included in this post.
She gave me a bottle of vodka. You know the little bottles that they have on the airplanes? Well, she had gone to the restroom and when she came back she asked for two bottles. When the overly eager male flight attendant obliged while winking at me (what was that for?), she handed one to me and said, "When you get off this plane, wash your kids hands with this, it is a great disinfectant and planes are just so nasty!" then she followed that by saying, "I used to always keep it around my house for disinfecting until I noticed it kept coming up empty, I guess it's not a great thing to have in your house when your housekeeper is an alcoholic!" (insert laughter here) So here I am, holding my bottle of um.....disinfectant and trying not to bust out laughing because this whole scenario is just crazy! I mean right off the bat it's a bit awkward. Like when you sit down, I obviously know who she is, she obviously knows I know who she is, and yet how do you break the ice? "So how's Ted Danson?", "Been to Boston lately?", "How about that talking baby movie, that Travolta is something, huh?", "Wow, some guts you have, going on Oprah in just a bikini!" Uh-no, those were not going to work. And I wasn't even going to touch on the subject of Jenny Craig lest she suggest it for me! So, what jewel of a conversation opener did I come up with? Well, fortunately she began the conversation first, so to fill in the gap and to express interest I mentioned that I saw Nate Berkus remodel her kitchen on Oprah! (Don't judge me, I am a sucker for any kind of makeover show! LOL) Anyway, since that time that little bottle has stayed tucked back in a corner of a cabinet at my mom's house as a funny memento of that trip.
Now, come with me to 2010 when I live in a country where the groceries I want are not always available. One of them being vanilla. You know, you need vanilla for a lot of yummy foods and it is disheartening when you cannot find it. So one day while lamenting my lack of vanilla-ness. Several of the ladies here mentioned that they make their own! What? Who knew? So what do I need? And the answer was, some vanilla beans and a bottle of....you guessed it, vodka! So they tell me that they usually buy the vodka in the capitol city or in Bali and that you can also find the vanilla beans in Bali. So that was my plan, next year from Bali I would bring home the goods and become a vanilla connoisseur! However while I was on my Ladies retreat (blog coming soon on that one) we were waiting to fly from Batam to our island when we noticed they have chocolate! Not just any chocolate, but Hershey's, Snickers, M&M's etc. So while stopping to buy some....what?....It was for the kids, of course :) "J" noticed that they had duty free vodka so she would be able to make her vanilla! So she asked if I wanted to get some and I mentioned that I didn't have any vanilla beans to which "L" piped up and said she had plenty to share! So off I went to buy my bottle of vodka....and it felt weird! Just saying! I hesitated to blog on this for fear of judgement but I figure everyone uses vanilla and it is all made out of the same stuff so..... Here are some pictures of the process:
Well, at least it wasn't in a brown paper bag!
Getting ready to mix the concoction
You have to slice the vanilla beans longways and then make slits cross ways then open it up a bit, and on a side note if any of you do this, the vanilla beans take up more space than you think and so as I put the beans in the vodka spilled over, so you might want to pour a little out...please don't drink it!
Last step, you place the vanilla beans into the vodka and let it sit in a dark place for a few weeks and wallah (how do you spell that anyway?), you have vanilla!
This is it on week two, and as you can see it is turning into vanilla, yay!!
So the next time you go to Wal-Mart, Crest or visit Mexico (which is by far some of the best vanilla in the world) and buy your vanilla...be thankful!!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Okay, remember when I said that I couldn't believe some of the stuff I packed in our crate and why I didn't pack others? Here is a most vivid example of how I was NOT thinking when I went through this process. Did I pack my beautiful set of resin pumpkins that had words from the Manual about giving thanks carved into them? No. I am moving into a M*sl*m country so I pack the Precious Moments turkey that is holding a sign to "Eat Ham"!! Seriously? I couldn't make this stuff up people!! If you don't laugh you will cry.....and it is pretty funny in a sad pathetic kind of way!! LOL
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Doesn't that just crack you up? They were so funny learning how to do the "hook 'em horns" upside down!
While a friend of our goes to the States for 6 months we offered to teach his English class, so once a month we will meet in our home and discuss America, teach idioms, customs, and things of that nature. The only rule the class has is that you can ONLY speak English, so needless to say, this is right up my alley! LOL Talking and making sense without having to calculate every word is just so....freeing!! Of course I realize that for them this is more of a struggle, we have switched places, and boy am I far more patient with people learning to speak English now!! No more giggles at mis-steps, well.....okay, a few giggles at mis-steps but you get my point!! :) I love that we had to explain "GO OU", they didn't understand what the "Go" was for!! Gotta love and embrace the differences in languages!! Lots of laughs were had here today and I loved every minute of it!! BOOMER SOONER!!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Well, these pictures are hard to look at, no wonder most of these homes and businesses have very little that seems nice or clean. Can you even imagine having to deal with this in your home or work on a regular basis? Life here is so hard for them, it just breaks your heart.
Four days later when Barry was taking me to the Sanders before I flew to my retreat, it had poured all night long and into the morning when we were to leave...I think the geese should have been a sign of what was to come!
Notice the old ladder, they had placed several of these markers in the road to warn drivers of large holes.
Just so very sad to see, there were no wet vacs to be used here, you just have to wait for the water to go down, with rainy season just starting I think this is only the beginning for them!