Friday, October 29, 2010

Then and Now

THEN: Only 4 months ago my kids were camping in the area and we were taking pictures of it's beauty and admiring the tufts of smoke coming out of the top, it seemed so pretty.....back then.

Notice the volcano on the banner, it represents Mt. Merapi

The 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 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 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 thankful!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

I LOVE Fall. That being said, it is ridiculous how much of my fall decorating items I did not bring over here. I mean very little. My mom sent me some things last Fall so that helps but I really am lacking in this area. So going through "Fall" in a country that has no Fall, therefore, no Fall decorations, has been a little depressing.

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

Camp Rock...lahoma!!

This is proof that the whole world is celebrating OU's victory over UT today!! Or at least it is proof of what happens when Barry leads an English (ESL) Class the day after OU's victory over UT!! Is it merely a coincidence that their national flag is red and white? I think not!! Someday we will talk them into putting a Schooner in the middle of it!! LOL

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

Water: The Ugly

(If you haven't started with "Water: the Good", you may want to begin at that post)

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.

This was the street leading to the Whitaker home the night of the flooding!

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!

As we turned from our house and approached the main road we began to see what we were going to have to drive through! All of these homes and businesses had been flooded out previously also!

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!

This is a carpenter's shop by our home.

Another local business, I think they do wood and iron works!

Here is a type of mini-mart (Called a "warung" *wah-roong*) almost every home has something to sell. Poor little girl, but she was sure having fun!

A local car wash business

Continue your talks to the CEO that they will experience and know their One True Hope!!

Water: The Bad.....

(Might want to start with "Water: The Good" if you haven't read it yet)
Later that evening after supper we had a horrendous rain storm. I can't remember if I told you this already or not, but it rains harder here than I have ever seen in my life and that night it felt like our house was underneath Niagara Falls. It was loud and constant for about 2 hours.
After it had stopped we got a text from the Sanders asking if we had flooded because all three of the other family's homes in our city had! Well, thankfully we had no flooding but we began to seek out how we could help the others and decided to go to the Whitakers home and pick up their little girls to spend the night. They are another new family who moved just after us, and they had been told that the house didn't flood...oops! And the Sanders have lived here ten years and this is only the second time that they have been flooded, it was awful! The third home had a wet vac which helped keep their flood to a minimum thank goodness. Here are a few pics of the Whitakers home, they were able to borrow the wet vac and that helped tremendously, while the Sanders spent all night sweeping their water out! Please have conversations that ask for the flood waters to be held back from them! As you will see, the devastation was not limited to them:

This was a large wet vac and D emptied it out about ten times in the hour we were there and we were still standing in ankle deep water! Notice how dirty that water is...ugh!

Their kitchen where you can see some of the debris that flooded in with the water. They had been out getting groceries and came home to find this! There rugs, flip flops and the girls inflatable chairs were floating all around! Can you imagine?

Those little girls are pretty tough and much to their parents chagrin were all about having a blast in new home/bathtub they had! too cute!!

Four very happy little girls ready to settle in for the night...RIGHT! They were all so keyed up they played for a while even though it was almost midnight when we got them together, but they sure had fun!

Water: The Good.....

So a week ago last Friday, we went over to the Sander's home to help S clean out his water tank. This is something that their children did when they were smaller and so he asked if the boys might be willing to help him.....not only were they willing, they were thrilled to be asked! And as you might note from the pics, we had one little girl who was really wishing she was in the middle of it, literally! :) So the water was stopped and then mostly drained with some left in so they could scrub the gunk off the insides. It took a couple of hours but they got it done and S said they did a great job, he even paid them 50,000 rp ($5) for it! The boys were so excited!

Campbell watching while S gave the boys instructions.

Haddon wanted no part of that whole tank business but slowly came to work on overcoming her fear of dogs, looks like she made a new friend in Rocky!

Campbell, who used to be deathly afraid of dogs was quite content patting Red! She has come a LONG way! Tiny dogs used to send her screaming in terror!

Hudson in and Marshall waiting his turn!

In goes Marshall, he is now a good 3-4 inches taller than me...who told him he could do that?

S took this shot for me, two boys in a tank ready to scrub! Isn't that hysterical?

Scrubbing away on the inside of the tank!

Hudson, taking a breather and Campbell getting as close to the action as she can!

Emptying buckets of water out of the tank, as they cleaned!

Two tired boys, finished, drenched, and happy to help out a family who have become so dear to our hearts!! The CEO has been so good to us by giving us such loving people to be with while we are away from our own family!!