Friday, November 30, 2012


I believe naming this little fellow Goliath may have been wishful thinking.

Goliath is an Oregon Ducks fan. 
Oregon Ducks Football players
This may be the tiniest Oregon Ducks fan I've ever seen. Even standing on his tippy-toes.

And the cutie-wootiest O Ducks fan.

With the exception of Donald, here, perhaps.

Actually, since I have only been in Oregon a few times in my life, this may be the only Oregon Ducks fan I've ever seen.

I don't know for sure.

But I bet I'm pretty close.

Goliath belongs to a pretty lady named Tina.  She brought him to work one day dressed as an Oregon Ducks fan.  (Now, don't get excited.  This happened in Oregon, so no one was in danger or anything....)

Goliath had his 'O Ducks' stadium blanket with him.

An Oregon Ducks Stadium blanket

He also had on his 'O Ducks' collar.

Here he is showing off his collar.

What a little sweetie.

Thanks to Desiree, our Oregon correspondent, for sharing these photos of the little guy and, um, Go, Ducks!

You Go, too, Goliath!  Please visit us again soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hidden Hawaii

Joyce models the Lime Shaved Ice Tongue
When I heard that my friends Paula and Joyce were heading back to Hawaii for a vacation around Thanksgiving time, I asked Paula if she wouldn't take some photos with this blog in mind.  What she ended up photographing are not the sights we usually see in postcards!  

Especially not Joyce's green tongue!  Aren't you glad I shared that?  Bet it made your day!  

Yup.  You saw it here first, folks.

So, how many of you already knew that shaved ice is one of the delicacies of the islands?  Raise your hands.

Okay, a few of you.

Lime shaved ice.
 It looks pretty wonderful and refreshing, doesn't it?  (Well, maybe not if you live somewhere that's cold right now!)

Canoe ride anyone?
This is a more typical scene.  Everything looks so green.  Let's go canoeing!

Hawaiian Gekko
Speaking of green... Paula caught this little guy zooming up a tree.  He must be a relative of the Mexican gekko who was featured in this blog not too long ago. It's funny how many reptiles have ended up on this blog, come to think of it.  I'm not a particularly huge fan of them, but apparently these little green gekko guys really get around, don't they?

Gekkos inspired this wonderful Hawaiian plaza pavement design:

Gekko patterned pavement
Looking down or looking up, Hawaii is full of wonderful surprises.
Lanterns and lights
 These lamps are colorful.  As are the centerpieces:

Can you name this pink plant?  I can't.
That pink bloom looks like something alien conjured up by the prop department for the original Star Trek series.  ("What is it, Scottie?" says Captain Kirk. "I dinna know, Captain!," Scottie replies, "But I'm suddenly feeling like kissing Lt. Uhura!"  "Quick, Mr. Spock, get a reading on that pink plant-thing!" There is a warbling sound as Mr. Spock does a quick tricorder reading of the strange object. "Fascinating, Captain.  It appears to be a sentient life form...")

I love that tablecloth, too.

Of course, it wouldn't be right to post about magical Hawaii without the obligatory postcard perfect scene:

Paula's view from her Maui hotel room
Just another day in Paradise.

This has been your short tour of hidden Hawaii.

Thanks, Paula and Joyce!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meanwhile, back in Iguala

Elder Nils and his companion share a meal
It's been a while since I've posted news about my missionary nephew serving in Mexico.  That's because he hasn't sent any photos since he was transferred away from Acapulco.  Luckily he sent a few on Monday, so I can finally share with you again.

The 10th of November marked Elder Nils' 22nd birthday.  He was lucky in that he got what looks like a truly delicious cake (above).  It's hit or miss in the mission field.  They don't always eat very well, but Nils reports that he loves Mexican food.

He writes, "This last week has been really good.  We've had a lot of fun in our area, and we've eaten a lot of good food.  I mean, what more can you ask for?

"Anyway, so life is going awesome here.  I completely forgot about Thanksgiving.  I think I ate mole (pronounced mole-ay) that night.  Mmm I love mole, that's something that's been interesting to me.  My companion hates most Mexican food, but I love it, yet he's the Latino.  I guess everyone's got their tastes."

Our Elder Nils posing for the camera
"We went down to a small town called Huitzuco here.  It was really cool... the cool thing about the place is it's all huge and really spread out, with a bunch of farms in between.  We would travel by hitchhiking.  Riding on the back of trucks. It was pretty fun; met a lot of interesting people doing that."

Walking through the streets of this town, Elder Nils saw a traditional wedding party.

Mexican Wedding Serving Platter
by Gorky Gonzales
He writes, "The bride was riding on a donkey, and her husband was pulling her through the streets, while there was a huge parade behind her complete with mariachis and dancing people.  Apparently it's an Iguala tradition."


I would have loved seeing photos of that!

It's not all fun and games, though.  He writes, "I've been attacked by so many dogs in the streets that I dunno if I can look at a dog the same.."

Poor baby.

In spite of the dog problem, it sounds like Nils is having an incredible cultural experience, in addition to the spiritual experiences he writes of.  There will be another baptism this coming weekend.  He has baptized many good people in the course of his missionary experiences in Mexico.

I can't believe he's coming home after the first of the year.  Those 2 years have really zoomed by.

Just a month or so to go!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys in the California wilderness
 These photos are all courtesy of my co-worker and friend Danika.  It seems these birds roost on a stretch of land that her grandfather owned years ago.  Danika and her mom caught them on camera for us.

Tommy posing for the camera
 These guys are beautiful, aren't they?  Well, in their own special way.  They seem a little silly as the gobble and waddle through life, but we can't hold that against them.
A side view
For those of us that might never have seen a turkey in the wild, it's kinda fun to see them like this, don't you think?
Gobble, gobble!

Why did the turkey cross the road?
Looks lonesome...

Thanks to Danika and her mom for sharing this true glimpse of real America!  There's nothing more American than a turkey.  That's why Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird.  

Our cute (and tasty!) wild turkeys lost out to the American Bald Eagle in that battle many years ago.

The American Eagle

Would we be a different country today if the turkey had been chosen as our national bird?

Ask me again when I'm not stuffed full after Thanksgiving dinner and left-overs!

Monday, November 26, 2012

We Gave Thanks

Teddy Bears Ben and Jim enjoying their Thanksgiving
I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving weekend - wherever you might be in the world.

I sure did.  Here in California, I had my fill of all kinds of yummy food and good company.  Which just tasted all the sweeter because I didn't have to cook.

Back in Virginia, those intrepid, well-traveled Teddy Bears, Ben and Jim, also enjoyed a great Thanksgiving feast.  They were kind enough to send this photo commemorating their special day.  Thanks, guys!

Next stop, Christmas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

A Typical Thanksgiving Dinner... just like mom used to make
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of those truly all American holidays which most everyone in this country seems to celebrate, regardless of their religious persuasion or ethnicity.

What's not to like with a nice, quiet day devoted to counting blessings, eating a lot and visiting with friends and family?

Thanksgiving dinner is a really great feast in the old-fashioned sense, usually with turkey being the main dish, but often including ham and seafood and everything else you can think of.  Pretty basic components of this meal include cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.

What else you may include, whether it be veggies, casseroles, salads, fruits, you-name-it - depending on your own family history and preferences -  is pretty much up to you.

I have some great memories of Thanksgiving feasts growing up.  I've even cooked a couple of feasts myself through the years.  It's labor intensive and exhausting for the home cook - but certainly appreciated by everyone who enjoys it.

Thanksgiving dinner is usually followed by pumpkin and mince meat pies for dessert.  (However, I'm finding it harder and harder to find mince pies, for some reason.  Perhaps it's the area I live in, as it is predominantly Hispanic. Any thoughts on that?)  And football.  It's not Thanksgiving without football.

Well, that's generally speaking.  Not at my house. My house is a football free zone.  That's because I control the TV remote at my house.  Hallelujah.

But I've heard other folks are really into the Thanksgiving plus football scenario.  So, in fairness, I just felt compelled to mention it.

We've come a long way since the first pilgrims had a big feast with the native American Indians so many years ago.

Painting by Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris, 1932 / Library of Congress
The original Thanksgiving was a feast to say thanks for a plentiful harvest and new friends in a new world.  I like the idea of having a day to be thankful.

God has certainly given us everything!  That's a lot of stuff to be thankful for.  I could start listing things, but there just isn't room enough in this blog space to put it all.  The biggies:  friends and family (and that includes my Jack cat).  Those are my biggest blessings.  But I'm also blessed to have a roof over my head, enough food to eat, a car that runs, and a job to go to every weekday.

My sister-in-law just posted this to Facebook and I think it bears re-posting:

Have a wonderful day and fun feasting, wherever you may be.  Remember to take a moment to thank God for all the blessings you have in your life.

Just a heads up that there will be no blog post tomorrow.  And maybe Friday, too.  It's a National Holiday on Thursday, and I intend to spend it eating myself into a turkey-induced coma... just kidding.  I think.  Maybe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Coyote Cafe

The Famed Coyote Cafe
One of the joys of life is being able to go out to a nice restaurant every now and then, and enjoy a good meal.  The Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is known for a famous chef, Chef Eric DiStefano, and its wonderful cuisine.

Apparently, their customer service, however, needs a little work.
The main course - Mesquite grilled Filet Mignon
Shiitake Poblano Potato flan, Tempura Asparagus, Herb Glacage and Veal Jus
I have two friends who were recently on vacation in New Mexico.  As one of the "must see" places in the area, they had included time for a meal at the famous Cafe.  Back home again, as my friends recounted their recent experience there, they grew quite animated and could only talk about the horrible service they received!

Isn't that sad?

My friend David said, "It was one of the worst dining experiences, ever!"  And being that he is well-traveled and has been to fine restaurants all over the United States and Europe, that's saying a lot.

Sweet Mexican White Prawns
I usually try to keep this blog positive, but I couldn't help myself from writing about this situation when I heard about their experience. It's funny how bad attitudes and unprofessional behavior marred what should have been a most delightful dining experience.

According to my friend, he had booked reservations through  almost two months in advance of his trip to the Santa Fe area.

However, when he and his friend entered the restaurant, they were first told they didn't have reservations at all!  Upon insisting they did, they then were told they had reservations "at the counter".  David assured the hostess that she was mistaken.  He had made the reservations himself.  He did not have reservations "at the counter".  They had asked for, and wanted, a table.

The hostess then reluctantly said, "Let me see what is available."

Blueberry Cheesecake with Meyer Lemon Cream
My friends wondered what the problem was, as they looked around and only saw two other couples in the entire restaurant at the time!

They were finally seated at a table by the entryway, where the door to the outside was open.  It was a cool night in the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and my friends are California boys.  They were cold!

After the waiter had brought them their beverages, my friend asked politely if they could have another table, as it was too cold sitting by the entryway with an open door.  It was cold enough that neither of the men had taken off their overcoats.

At this time the manager came to the table and stated flatly that there were no other tables available and the table they were at "would have to do".  Teeth chattering, they repeated that they would not enjoy dinner if they were cold.

"Well, when you walked in off the street, we were already booked up!" was the reply.  My friends were dumbfounded.

"We didn't walk in off the street," my friend protested for the third time.  "We have reservations!"

Organic Strawberry Mango Shortcake
 with Basil Ice Cream, Marscapone Rum Cream and a Pineapple Reduction
"I'm aware of that," the manager replied incongruously, "but this is all we have available, and it will have to do!"


My friends looked around them again, and there were still only two other couples dining in the entire restaurant.  "No, this table is not acceptable," my friend reiterated forcefully, getting more upset by the minute.

As the manager walked away, the hostess suddenly reappeared and said, "There is one table available."


They were then shown a tiny booth in the corner, that wasn't even set for dinner service.  They sat down only to find it was a tight squeeze.  These are average-sized guys, by the way.  David relates, "we had our overcoats with us, but no one offered to take our coats, although there was barely enough room for us, and definitely not enough room for us and our coats!"

He goes on to say, "The rest of the service was extremely slow and fragmented; we didn't even know who our waiter was.  Courses were not brought out together, and we had to wait for a spoon to eat the soup.  It was deplorable service."

Then a large group came in and filled the area in front of them.  After that, they couldn't see past the crowd and were largely ignored until the group sat down to eat.  After a long while, the wait staff finally brought them their check for the over-priced food.  (We're talking more than $80 USD per person.)

Although their meals were good (not great, they insist), they left wondering if the food made up, in any way, for the very rude way they were treated as customers. The answer was NO. Neither one is anxious to go back again.

Not a good way to run a business, if you ask me, no matter how fancy your chef is. Reading reviews on-line, it looks like this happens at the Cafe more frequently than not.  It's hard to believe you can keep a restaurant's good name while treating people this way.  The dishes look really yummy, but the high prices and all of this arguing would have given me an upset tummy.

If I had received such service, I would have been as perplexed as they were. I would have wondered if I somehow didn't look "cool" enough or if my clothing or demeanor had offended someone, or if I didn't pass muster in some way! Thinking about it, I'm afraid I would have just left and gone elsewhere.

Have you ever had an experience like this?  What would you have done in a similar situation?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Do You Know Who You Are?

Jesus teaching the young women

I ran across this short video that I felt I needed to share with all of you.

I would ask you: Do you know who you really are?

Sometimes we just need a little reminder.

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us 
and we love him...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Puttin' On the Dawg

Trick or treat?
Please tell me it's not too late to share another batch of Halloween photos!  And if it is... well, I guess I'm going to post them anyway (so there!), because I have to share these.

My sense of cuteness compels me!

My niece attended a wonderful Halloween fashion show a couple of weeks ago, put on by a local Virginia Animal Shelter.  I just love these pictures

I hope they brighten your day, too!

She was just a bonny tavern wench...


Jess.  I ham a mighty dragon.  Ju watchin' out.  Hi eat you.  Two bites.  Ruff. Ruff.

Yeh, it's frickin' hilarious.  Can we go home now?

And it's Rover coming down the stretch!  The crowd is going wild! Will he win it?

Yup, I'm stylin'..
On the catwalk?  Whatchu mean? What cat? I thought this was a red carpet?

Rowf!  I'm my mommy's widdle lion.
I sure hope this is not considered animal abuse, because I really love it when they dress up little sweet critters like this!


And have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Man in the Hat Comes Back

Today I thought I'd run a picture of one of the nicest guys on the planet.

You know, so you can see what one looks like... in case you don't have one handy.  (Yes, they do exist!)

This is my brother.  He's a devoted husband, an outstanding father and a fun and loving grandfather.  I happen to think he's great.

So there.

Happy Un-birthday, Jay.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eastward Ho!

My niece and her husband recently moved from Utah to Virginia.  That's a LONG drive.  She sent me this cute photo (above) prior to leaving for their new home.

A Very LONG Drive

While I value teddy bears and their ability to comfort and to cheer us up... I don't think this driving arrangement will quite work.

At first glance,  yes, they are adorable.  However a second glance shows some problems inherent in the system!

For one thing, it doesn't look like the top bear can quite see the road.  For the other, I seriously think they need a third bear to work the pedals.

(Have the Muppets not taught us anything?)

Despite these system flaws, I am happy to report that all the bears arrived in Fairfax quite safely.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

EEZ Peggy!

Peggy, giving customer service a bad name...
Guess what?  I'm not totally done with Halloween, even though Thanksgiving is looming.  I just had to post this hilarious Halloween photo of my friend Peggy.

You know those funny credit card commercials showing a run-down apartment, and one guy - named Peggy - on the phone handling your customer service needs?  I believe this was a nationally run commercial, so if you live in the good ol' USA, you've probably seen it.  The guy has a thick accent, puts people on hold, transfers them to nowhere, drops calls, and when you ask him about your credit card 'rewards' points, you realize that you haven't earned any to speak of!

Well, my friend Peggy is always imaginative when it comes to her Halloween costumes, and this year she really made me laugh.  As she put it, "I just had to be Peggy."

Peggy as her beautiful self
Peggy is no stranger to making folks laugh.  She's done a few performances at a local L.A. Comedy Club, and is quite talented.

What I like about Peggy is that she's always up for anything, is interested in everything, and she's very kind and fun to be with.
Peggy (in the middle of the back row) with her comedy classmates at Flappers
Peggy's birthday is in the month of December, so it often gets lost in the holiday shuffle.  I decided she needed a little spotlight today.  Consider it an early birthday present, Peg.

Thanks for being such a good friend, and making me laugh!