Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taiwanese Pizza

Lobster Pizza and Seafood Pizza
I learned some interesting facts recently.  #1: They have Dominos Pizza on Taiwan.  #2: Pepsi bottles look like Pepsi bottles, even when you can't read what it says under the logo.  #3: They have lobster pizza in Taiwan.  #4: They also have seafood pizza there.

And #5:  My little great-niece Livia likes to munch pizza.

Number 5 should actually come as no surprise.  My nephew Daniel, her dad, said his bedtime prayers thusly when he was around age 2: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thanks for pizza!  Amen."

At least his prayers were totally sincere and heartfelt.  And pretty straight forward.

Livia munching pizza she stole all by herself
Lobster pizza, though?  Is it too much of a good thing?  And whatever happened to good old pepperoni?

In addition to strange, non-traditional pizza (although I will reserve judgement until I actually try one - they may be delicious), I also learned that Chinese food can be packaged in amusing ways...

"Good Good Eat"
I have no idea what "Good Good Eat" is.  Obviously it's good; and you eat it.  Perhaps I can get Daniel to elaborate some day.

For dessert, there was also a rare delicacy called chocolate banana pizza:

I am torn on this one.  While I have no problems with chocolate (Yum!) and bananas separately, or chocolate and bananas together, I find it hard to imagine this as a pizza.  I'm not entirely adverse to the idea, I just have to warm up to it, I think.

What do you think?  Lobster pizza?  Chocolate and banana pizza?  Which would you rather try?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stormy Weather

Ominous clouds over Monterey Park
We had a storm sweep through Southern California yesterday.  The entire day was gloomy with occasional showers and sprinkles on the hill where I work.
My former office building
In some places it was snowing and hailing.  It was quite a spectacle here and also quite unusual.  Despite the clouds and a few sprinkles, though, it didn't really rain on me until I got home.  And as much as I love rain, I'm grateful the roads were mostly dry as I drove home in rush hour traffic. 

But around 8:30 in the evening, the heavens opened.  We had a lot of thunder, and it really poured for a while.
Jack wasn't sure what to make of the weather
The thunder scared Jack.  I tried to calm him down, holding him and telling him it was okay.  I tried to explain what thunder was - yes, I am nuts - then finally gave up and just reassured him that he was safe - but he jumped out of my arms and started pacing the living room.  After every peal of thunder, he would start growling!

He was marching through the living room growling at the thunder - and had to check out the window to see what was going on out there!
...he was ready to take on the monster outside!
Of course, it was dark and there wasn't much to see, except that the sidewalk outside was wet.

The little storm passed within the hour, but I was rather proud of my little boy.  He was ready to go to battle, take on the thunder and protect us, no matter what!

My hero.

Monday, February 27, 2012


The dashingly handsome Elder Nils in his new area
 "Boy do I have some crazy news for you guys today."  So, begins the email post from Elder Nils regarding his latest transfer.  He continues that he's looking out his window to see ".. the giant beach of Acapulco, with the 90 degree weather and the giant swaying palm trees.  Yup, that's right.  I got transferred out of Cuautla, and now I'm living in the richest part of Acapulco."

"It was a pretty big surprise for all of us.  I'm now in an area known as Acapulco, Costa Azul.  It's pretty awesome.  I'm here as a Zone Leader for this zone."

More baptisms!  The work continues.
Elder Nils says, "Everything is perfect here!  This area is actually known as the best area in the whole mission.  It's incredible..."
The beautiful azure waters where the Elders don't get to swim
 "The Lord's work is going just great over here.  We're really starting to see some good success.  The ward here is great to us, too."
Panoramic view of Acapulco
And a week later, he writes: "The weather here is perfect.  Well, it would be perfect for a vacation.  It's pretty hot here.  All of the houses are on mountains and hills that we climb all day.  I've definitely been getting in good shape here.  I'm also ridiculously tan."

That's it from our correspondent in Mexico.

Looks great.  It also reminds me: Vacation! I need a vacation!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jack on Canvas

Still (for 2 seconds) Life with Jack
I love my cat.  His name is Jack.  Jack is a sweet, funny guy.  He is very laid back.  When I found him lounging on the Artist's Canvas, I just couldn't resist taking some pictures of him.
Jack on Canvas
Jack is a good kid.  He likes to hang out with me.  He's not very demanding.  For a cat.  That means he only nibbles on my toes when he really really wants something "NOW".  But, being a laid back, California cat, he only does this every now and then. 

Just when he thinks I need it.

We have cuddle time every morning.  Of course, cuddling eventually turns into playing, which usually means thrashing my arm time... luckily for me, I wear a wrist brace to bed at night, because Jack really thrashes it into submission.  After said cuddling and subsequent thrashing, we get up and get some breakfast.

Actually, we have a pretty good time together.  He's good about getting his picture taken, too.  He's used to it, by now.  He'll even wait patiently for me when I yell: "Hold that pose, Jack!  I'm going to get the camera!"

I couldn't resist playing a bit with his image on the canvas.

So, here is Jack, as ART:

Jack as ART
 I love his ferocious whiskers.  I call them his moustachios. 

He looks pretty wild in that third picture.  Like the attack cat he could be, with some military training.  Thai warriors used to train their Korat cats to ride into battle with them, perched on the shoulders of their armor.

I think that's a pretty cool image. 

I, personally, would not like to meet even one small attack cat in battle.  Not even a sweet little guy like my Jack.  I think he could turn into a lethal weapon if he had to... so would be assassins beware! 

Not that there's a lot of those guys around my house. 

Thank goodness.

But you never know...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hurray for the Mani-Pedi

My old, tired feet getting a new lease on life
My friend Rose gave me a treat on Saturday!  We spent the evening together and Rose treated me to a pedicure and a manicure.  I have to say I had a great time.  It was a terrific stress reliever!  

It was also fun to catch up with what's going on in my friend Rose's life.

My good friend Rose
Rose has a lot going on in her life.  I happen to think she's a SAINT.  I enjoy her company.  She is thoughtful and very kind.  

Hannah, from Vietnam, made my poor feet feel great
Our "date" for mani-pedis was much appreciated and therapeutic!  I highly recommend it.  I love having "happy feet"!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A New Life

This beautiful lady is Alexandria, our newest Ward member.  Alexandria was baptized on Saturday.  Here she is in the Relief Society room right before our Relief Society meeting on Sunday (Sister Ibey is at the piano).  We are so happy to have Alexandria as part of our Ward Family.  She is a wonderful, warm person and we are having fun getting to know her better!

Alexandria's full name is Durgys Alexandria.  She tells me she doesn't like her first name.  Her mother named her, and Alexandria has no idea where the name came from.  Now I'm curious to find out the origin of her first name!  I think it's unique, much like Alexandria.

I think it's so wonderful to witness the change in a person as they gain a testimony and are baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Through a modern prophet, God has restored knowledge about the plan of salvation which is centered on Christ's Atonement and fulfilled as we live the first principles and ordinances of the Restored gospel.

God is our literal Father in Heaven.  He loves us. Every person on earth is a literal son or daughter of God and a member of God's family.  Jesus Christ, the son of God, is our Saviour and Redeemer.

The Book of Mormon is evidence of the love of God for His children.  Hand in hand with the Bible, it shows that God speaks to His children.

Alexandria put the powerful (and completely, wonderfully, audacious) promise in the Book of Mormon to the test.  (See Moroni 10:3-5)  She found out for herself that the church was the correct church - the Restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth.  The Holy Ghost became the cornerstone of her faith, as it has been mine.

Good going, Alexandria.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Guess What Mom Did With Your Room...

Christian and his mom with the new piano
Dear Elder Nils,

Guess what your mom did with your room!  Mom made your room into her piano room.  She teaches piano, you know, and your room just needed a door to the entrance hall to make it really convenient for her students.  Your grandfather helpfully provided the door on his last visit.  You can blame him, too.

See, you just can't leave the house for a year on a mission and expect things to stay the same.  Just don't take it personally.  

It's not like they're in a conspiracy against you or anything.  I'm not really sure what they did with all your stuff.  It's probably stuffed into Linnea's old room with all her stuff.  Good luck with that.

PIano lessons
Don't worry.  They've got a few more bedrooms; you'll always have a place to sleep.  Just don't freak out when you get home.

That's the news for this week.

We love you, Elder.  Work harder!

Your Family

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hiking with Fred

Visiting Kenting Forestry Preserve in Taiwan...

Fred, at 2 years old, off on a hike in Taiwan
 On a recent trip to Taiwan, Daniel took the family to a wilderness hiking area.  Fred had an accident with travel sickness in the car, and had to spend some of his time in his diaper.  He later took off on his own personal hike sans pants.  You can do that when you are two without social repercussions. 

Just Fred and his shadow
 Fred just took off, and Daddy had trouble keeping up! 
Big steps are daunting for a little one, but he managed these

And he did these, too
 Fred's father said he took off for nearly 20 minutes on his own.  It was quite a hike for a 2 yr-old!  On the
way they ran across this sign:
What to do in case of a melt-down at the nearby nuclear power plant... Yikes.
Little Fred traveled far...
..and traveled wide

Mom and little sister Livia were thrilled to see Fredrik come back safely.  Especially Livia.
Liva was overjoyed to see her brother again.  She thought he was a goner fer sure...
A scenic marker along the trail.  Translated it says: "Fred was here."

At the top of the hiking trail - all kinds of shops for the tourists

Taiwanese kids filming their antics in the park
Mom and Dad finally found the closest thing to a clean, dry pair of pants - swim trunks!
Fred finally got some pants on!
You're stylin' there, Fred.  Glad you had a great hike.  Thanks for sharing your adventures with those of us who will never be able to visit Taiwan!

Happy President's Day Holiday!  Have a great day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Premier Tonight!

The Cast of Whittier Community Theatre's latest production
Tonight is the opening night for the community theatre's new show, Office Hours.  This is a comedy written by Norm Foster (see post of February 8th).  This show is being produced by Richard DiVicaris and is directed by Susan Marx.  It features the talents of: Julie Breihan, Candy Beck, Andy Kresowski, Justin Murphy, Todd Prather, Rosalva Reza and Steven Sullivan.

Ticket prices are reasonable and can be purchased by calling the WCT Reservation line at (562) 696-0600, through their website  at, or at the box office. (Again, for more details, see my earlier post.)

Community Theatre gives ordinary people, like you and me, a chance to develop their talents in a positive environment.  The Whittier Community Theatre has the distinction of being the oldest continuously performing community theatre west of the Mississippi.

Come join us for a fun night out!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Theatre in London

Wicked at the Apollo Victoria
I wish I could say these were my photos of a fabulous theatre weekend in London a few weeks ago, but alas they belong to a dear friend.  I'm afraid he had the fabulous theatre weekend, and has graciously allowed me to post them here.  I'm just the one who is pea-green with envy.
That delightful musical Mamma Mia is still playing at the Prince of Wales theatre in Leicester Square 
It's been many years since I attended the theatre in London.  I remember a wild night seeing Les Miserables and then dashing off to catch the last train to Sittingbourne.  We laughed a lot that night.   
The 39 Steps at the Criterion
 I love England.  I've spent some wonderful times visiting there.
London girls in the cold
I suppose visiting London in February has its drawbacks, like snow and ice and cold.  Still, it looks like fun.  And that kind of weather just makes indoor comforts seem cosier.
Piccadilly Circus and the Eros, or Angel of Christian Charity if you prefer, statue in the snow
You can just see the lights from the London Theatre behind the monument (above).  In the summer this area would be covered in tourists.
Big Ben in the sunshine before the storm
Hope you enjoyed this mini-vacation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some Actresses are just born!

Maren designed this summer theatre in her backyard all by herself
 Watch out, Hollywood.  Give this one a couple of years and she'll be stealing hearts all over the globe!

This is my little friend Maren.  She is a budding actress.  She loves to perform for her friends and family.  Last summer she decided her back yard needed a theatre.  She asked her mom to hang the blanket up, to create a proscenium.  She thought of this idea all by herself.  She is an enterprising young woman at four years old.

I can't wait to see her at 20.  She'll be a force to be reckoned with.

I think she's a pretty cool little girl.  I just had to share her sweet face.

How can you not love this great face?
 Star Quality.

That's what it's called.

Some people gots it - some, not so much. 

Maren's got it in spades.  You go, girl!  Love you!

Maren's beautiful mom and little sister
We'll just have to wait and see if Maren's little sister has the same performance gene.  You never know!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Exploring Hidden Talents

My friend Jill recently moved up to the Pacific Northwest. 

While there, she has been exploring her artistic side by taking an art class.  I think she has been rather successfully developing a latent talent for painting.  That first picture is my favorite of all of them.  Which one do you like best?

 I think it's fun to explore one's talents by taking a class totally removed from our normal life. 

As someone once said, everyone is an artist at age 4.  We tend to lose our creativity as we get older.  Taking a class can often open up channels of creativity that have been closed or bottled up for years.

Jill says she has been having lots of fun with the class.  I think she shows promise!
Have you tried something new, something out of the ordinary, lately?  Something that pushed your horizons?

Don't be afraid to try something new, whether it be painting, playing a musical instrument or learning a craft of some kind.

It's never too late!
You might discover a new talent, or just have a really good time.  I think having an unexpectedly good time is one of the joys of life.
 It can not only be a lot of fun.  But you might discover a talent you didn't know you had.

I always knew my friend Jill was an excellent writer, but I had no idea she could paint.  According to Jill, neither did she!

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!