Monday, March 30, 2009

Road Trip!


In less than 3 hours Danny and I will be leaving here to pick up Steve on our way to Portland (by way of the Scout office). We'll probably leave Everett around 4 or 4:30 - a little too early to pick up dinner. That means dinner somewhere around Olympia. I think I ought to Google some options there - whenever we stop in Olympia we end up at Costco. I'd like to try something different.


Where do you stop to eat on road trips?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Man in Japan

This past week has been pretty good. Streeting has been really good these past few days, we`ve been able to talk to a lot of people. The weather warming up really helps with that.

Anyways, I don`t have much time for email this week so this may be a little short. But Saturday was great. In the afternoon I went over to Okamachi for Ishikawa`s baptism. About 16 missionaries ended up coming, which is way more than normal. Sister Ishikawa is really old and recently her back has been getter really bad. She had to sit in a chair during the baptism. We tied a string around the bottom of her dress and attached a cushion to the back of the chair with a string. Afterwards Sister McIntyre asked if we had her tied to the chair ;P. Elder Ito, my first companion performed the baptism. I kneeled behind her chair in the water and after Elder Ito said the prayer we both gently pulled her back into the water. It was hard to get her all the way under though, I ended up putting my hand on her head at the end and just quickly pushing it underwater. Afterwards I had to quickly change clothes and run out to the parking lot to catch a ride with President McIntyre to another baptism. After that baptism Elder Bahr and I were feeling really fired up and even though we had to head straight home we were able to teach a few people and set up an appointment. It was a great night.

Are the cherry blossoms blooming yet? The Cherry Blossoms are beginning to bloom. I think they`ll be at their best in one week. I`ll try to take pictures.

How is the language coming? Do you dream in Japanese? The language is coming along. It`s amazing how much more I can understand now than I could when I first came to Japan. I may have had parts of some dreams with a little Japanese but I rarely remember my dreams well enough to know.

Easter Package Requests:

A print out of the family cook book. You could do 2 or 4 pages per page.

A print out of my family pedigree going back 10 generations or so.Don`t bother putting those in sheet protector books, I can buy those for cheap here.

More return address labels. Also some sending address labels but without any name on the sending labels (Same address). One of those cheap mp3 players we have lying around the house.

Well I have to go now. I pray for you all.

Love,
Elder West.

Fastish Sunday

Totally gratuitous picture for Keira in response to a conversation we had in regard to the grossness of the "Pedi-egg" commercial.



Question:
Is 4:45 p.m. too late for a nap? (For me!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday is a Muddy Day

Danny came up to me and said, "will you make sure Dad doesn't take a shower while I'm in the shower?" ....umm...nope.

On the one hand - kudos for going camping, in spite of the rain. On the other hand - lots of wet, muddy clothes to wash. And shoes to dry out. And Scouters to shower. Our hot water heater will be getting a workout today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Break


Tomorrow is the last day of school/seminary before spring break! The possibility of MAYBE getting 8 hours of sleep a night is making me slightly giddy. The past two months I have not slept clear through the night more than twice. And those were both in the last week. I've been getting by on the reduced quality and quantity of sleep - but not cheerfully. I plan on sleeping as much as I can over the next 8 or 9 days (well, nights). I'll probably be at Keira's for 2 or 3 of those nights - but I know for a fact that Jonah's bed is plenty comfy - I should do just fine.


The couch at Casa Dominguez isn't too bad either, but there I run a risk of a child waking me up early to make some French toast.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One of These Things is Not Like the Other


I think I will periodically post some pictures of my wrist - so I can track my progress. Wish me luck.

Range of motion - right hand - I can bend my hand back nearly 90'. Left hand - that's as far back as it goes. Hmm. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me. I can bend it forward 30'-40' - that's just a little farther than it was in the cast. Still "clicks" when I rotate it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cast Off

Here we go again.
Percoset. I'm loving it. Much less pain this time.
A bit crusty around the wrist.
Well, it's off. And surprisingly not stinky. Sore, yes. Stinky, not so much. I'm to see how much movement returns in the next week or so, and if I'm concerned at all I am to call next week and set up some physical therapy. I think that's pretty good incentive to work on it myself this week.

A Farewell to Arms...



Since this is the last day (I hope) for this cast I let my seminary students sign it at the end of class. They want me to keep it - we'll see. I suspect it will be rather 'ripe' - after all, it's been over 7 weeks since this arm has been washed. I shudder whenever I think about that. The cast is pretty cool - I highly recommend the "glow-in-the-dark" option if you want to impress kids. Since they signed the cast I can now read their names in the dark. I may have to keep it for a little while just so I can show it to them. Then I'll toss it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Leonhard Paul Euler


You say "you-ler", I say "Oy -ler" (but only because Alex put me wise to the pronunciation). He would have to be classified under "People that I'd never heard of before, and now wish I hadn't".

Evidently as Mozart, Bach or Beethoven are to music, Euler (Oy-ler) is to math.

Daniel was using Euler's Formula today in math...but I'm guessing it was a simplified version (Is there such a think as Euler's for Dummies?) - because it was basically a series of "plug and play" math questions - all relating to figuring out shapes of polyhedrons. I don't really mind that so much as the upcoming series of lessons relating to figuring out volumes of said polyhedrons. Figuring out areas of circles wasn't too much fun, and now we get to look forward finding out volumes of various prisms and cylinders. Humph. I'm guessing the answers won't fall under "glass half full or half empty". I'm going to blame it on Euler.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Man in Japan


Dear Family,

My companion got transferred to a different area last week. My new companion`s name is Elder Bahr. President did surprise me though by sending an additional 2 missionaries to this area. So we now have 4 Elders in the house.
Well, I guess I`ll review this past week quickly. Last Monday we taught a part of the Plan of Salvation to an investigator. The bishop was there and it went really well. We`re teaching her again tomorrow.
Tuesday was Transfer Call day and Elder Goodey`s Birthday. We visited a few people in the morning. Had to hurry back and eat lunch quickly before having a lesson at 1 PM with a 17 year old High Schooler guy. We actually taught him again this morning.
Wednesday was mostly spent cleaning the apartment, packing, and waiting for Sagawa to pick up Elder Goodey`s luggage. One of our nice investigators dropped a cake off for Elder Goodey`s birthday.
Thursday morning we went down south to Tenmoji and met up with all the Elders who have transfers happening. One of the Elders coming to Hirakata is Elder Campbell who was a room mate at the MTC, it`s always fun seeing people who I know from the MTC. In the afternoon when we all got back home we spent a few hours planning, I had to tell them about everything going on in this area so it took a little while. Afterwards everyone else put together their bikes. We had to visit the Bishop that night but unfortunately Elder Bahr`s bicycle tire had a punc and he had to fix it a couple times before it worked. We got to the Bishop`s house at about 8:15 PM without incident but when we started heading home Elder Bahr`s tire suddenly went flat again. We ended up walking all the way home.
Friday after study time we went to Asahi (A bike store) and they fixed Elder Bahr`s tire. Afterwards we headed south and introduce the new Elders to an investigator. We had dinner at a member`s house that night. Unfortunately the address I had gotten from the records was old but fortunately they had only moved a couple blocks away. We got a little lost on the way home but it was alright.
Saturday afternoon during lunch we made some brownies and took them to our neighbors afterwards. We also visited the ward mission leader that night.
Yesterday was really good. Church went especially well. We visited a couple right after lunch and had a good discussion with them. In the evening we dropped by to say hi to some a nice couple. The wife is chinese and they have a cute little kid.
I actually got a call from the Okamachi Sister missionaries (My first area). Someone I taught there might be getting baptized this Saturday and I have permission from President to go. I`m pretty excited about that.
I guess I`ll answer a few questions now.
Where and when do you get to watch general conference? We watch conference at the nearest Stake center, probably an hour away from here. They broadcast it in Japanese the week after General Conference actually takes place. They have a seperate room where we can watch it in English thankfully.
Is it cherry blossom time yet? It almost is. Depending on where in Japan. The cherry blossoms are probably going to be in about a week or two I imagine.
Are you wearing out your clothes yet? Somewhat. A few socks have holes. A couple pants have tears. We don`t wear our suit jackets during the day except for special occasions or church from around April to September. I`ve actually gone through this winter wearing 3 long sleeve white shirts. They`re going to be retired when I go back to short sleeve shirts.
Well that`s it for this week. Please write. I haven`t gotten any mail for over a week :`( take pity please.
Love,
Elder Andrew West.

Party Like You're Six Years Old

Happy Birthday Kaith!
Trevor - fun with science.
Miriam and Sterling - fun with toys.

5 Alarm???

Not sure why the fire trucks were spouting. Nothing was burning. They may have just been cleaning out the hydrant or more likely they were cleaning out their hoses. Whatever. I missed taking a picture of the first truck - just as I pointed my camera the water ceased. I was ready for the second one.

I'm sure it was no coincidence that it started raining just as soon as they finished spraying.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Never Lick the Toad

Daniel, far left, with Trevor in front of him - they are watching the giant African toad hop around. That toad has poison glands on his back, and when he is afraid, it secretes poison, thus- "never lick the toad".
The tortoise was cute.
The Mexican iguana was pretty darn cool looking.
Is there such a thing as a "tame" alligator?
9 foot albino python. Trevor was quite willing to hold in on his legs.
Danny, Trevor and I survived "The Reptile Guy". Trevor was beyond thrilled to get to touch snakes, lizards and an alligator. I kept my distance - if and/or when I get up the nerve to hold snakes it will be when I have two fully functional arms. I'm just saying....


Class Field Trip

The last field trip I went to with Danny was back in January - the infamous skating debacle. We skipped swimming in Feb. - it was clear down in Mountlake Terrace - way too far to drive with one hand. Well...today is the day for our March field trip. It's only 2 1/2 miles from our house - so no good excuse to miss it. Darn it.

Today's activity is a presentation by "The Reptile Guy". I am not making this up. I am also not planning on touching the snakes. Considering what happened at the last activity we went to, I'm playing it safe. Let's just hope they don't turn off the lights and some reptile gets interested in my glow in the dark arm...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Word of the Day

dogs⋅bod⋅y 
 [dawgz-bod-ee, dogz-]
–noun, plural -bod⋅ies. Chiefly British Slang.

1. a menial worker; drudge.
2. a worker who has to do all the unpleasant or boring jobs that no one else wants to do

Origin: 1810–20; orig. a junior naval officer, earlier a sailor's term for soaked sea biscuits or pease pudding


As in:

I need to go grocery shopping today and will need a general dogsbody. I informed Alex that he had been nominated. Tote that bag, lift that carton.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who You Gonna Call?

Steve made the man at the Sprint store very happy last night. He replaced all five of our cell phones. It's all my fault.

My cell phone developed a crack in it last summer. It still worked, and I pretty much hate going to the phone store, so I nursed it along as long as I could. This past week or two it became terminal. I dropped calls by simply turning my head. All the time.

What started out as replacing one phone escalated. Scope creep strikes again.

Happy Birthday Dad!


I would just like to remind you that 71 is a prime number...that's right, you're still in your prime.

With love and best wishes,

Debbie

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Elder West is in the second to last row, 7th from the left.

The picture was on President McIntyre's blog, along with this:

"On March 11, 2009, we held an all mission conference in Ibaraki, Osaka for about three hours and welcomed Elder Snow of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Evans of the Seventy with their wives to our mission. I did not have the picture when I made the last post so I waited until I could post it. So this shot is something special as we do not have all the missionaries together at once very often. This is the Japan Kobe Mission! It will be hard to see every one's faces, but all the missionaries are there. I think if you can count them there are 104 missionaries plus 2 stake presidents our visiting authorities and their wives and Sister McIntyre and me. Each missionary will get a nice print out of this picture when they return home."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cautionary Tales

Danny's literature lesson today was entitled "They Should Have Listened: Three Cautionary Tales in Poetic Form".

Loved it.

The first was "Rebecca" by Hilaire Belloc. subtitled "Who Slammed Doors For Fun and Perished Miserably".

The second was "The Story of Augustus: Who Would Not Have Any Soup", by Heinrich Hoffmann. Yes, he died also.

The third and final was "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out", by Shel Silverstein. She met an awful fate.

Daniel's assignment, after reading those, was to compose his own cautionary tale - either in prose or poetry.

What would you write a cautionary tale about? (I'm a living embodiment of a cautionary tale right now) .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Man in Japan


It`s the end of the transfer but the calls come tomorrow so it will be a week until you find out where I`m going. But chances are I`m staying and my companion is leaving.

This past week has been pretty good. Last Tuesday we had another dinner party thing with some non members. We made sushi. I even sucked some shrimp brains out before throwing the heads away. We put things like squid, tuna, shrimp, cucumber, ikura, green onions, spicy herbs, salmon, and avocado in the sushi, all raw. I still feel fine a week later so I probably won`t die of food poisoning.

On Wednesday we had a whole mission conference. Elder Snow of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy is touring the missions in Japan right now. President Evans of the Seventy was with him as well. It`s probably not surprising to hear but when members of the Seventy speak to smaller groups (As opposed to General Conference) they tend to be especially interesting, probably because everything they`re saying is directed to things we specifically need to do. But most of what was said probably doesn`t matter to anyone reading this email so I won`t go into detail.

On Thursday we taught a lesson to a new investigator who is an aroma therapist I think. Unfortunately she actually lives in a different area so we`re going to have to switch her to the other elders. On Saturday we taught a lesson to some kid we found streeting a couple weeks ago. I think his parents may be less-active members, but it`s hard to know for sure.

One of the pictures is from a few weeks ago making Gyoza (potstickers) from scratch. The other is the sushi last week.

I got your letter with the pictures of the food storage. It looks pretty impressive. I expect it will be full by the time I get back.

If Dad either took care of my taxes or sent me the stuff it would be appreciated. I don`t remember exactly when all that stuff is due but it would be appreciated if you let me know.

As far as school when I get back goes I`m not exactly sure yet. Right now I`m thinking BYU or one of the Washington Universities. According to my calculations which may be wrong, maybe I already said this, I should get home around August 5th 2010, probably. I don`t know how all the application stuff works. When`s the earliest one can apply? It would be sort`ve nice not ending up worrying about not having enough time to communicate and apply before the deadline. If you had BYU, and the two? Washington State colleges nearest (Near being a relative term) our house (I can never remember which is which) send their catalog/info to me I could tell you more.

An Easter package? I wasn`t expecting that. I think the Distribution Center sells (Maybe online) little plan of salvation puzzle things and has a Japanese one, that would be nice. The hot chocolate mix was good, as was the tomato soup. I can now make pretty good tomato soup from tomato juice (Which they sell here) so I`m alright as far as that goes. If you copy the pictures off the SD card (don`t bother erasing them though) and send it back I can send new pictures to you on it eventually. Besides that I don`t know for now. If you sent one of those cheap little Mp3 players from Christmas a few years ago it would be useful.

Well that`s it for now I guess. Thanks for writing :).

Happy Birthday Grandpa Hanna and Kaith!

Love,
Elder Andrew West.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Barber of M'ville

(Danny's new haircut)

I can now add barbering to my list of things that are possible to do one handed. It won't go down in history as my greatest accomplishment, but it's not too bad either.

And now we sing...



Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleep Over

Since Cory is out of town for a couple of days I volunteered to have either Kaith or Trevor come spend the night. Yesterday was Kaith's first day of public school - so the lot fell to Trevor.

I wasn't planning on having him sleep on the couch in the living room - but he seemed happy enough to sleep there. I walked by him a few minutes ago and he said "I had a good nights sleep." I covered him up and told him that the night wasn't over yet. I suspect he will be up any minute now.

...good morning Trevor.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Viva la Revolution!

I love technology. I'd rather drive an automobile than a horse drawn buggy, I'd rather throw stuff in the washer than rub dirty clothes up and down on a washboard. I'm no Luddite.

Today's history lesson was about the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I got a kick out of the section that talked about the rise of the iron industry - and showed a picture of Ironbridge. 4 years ago Steve and I walked across that bridge. It seemed to still be quite sturdy - although it is only a pedestrian bridge now. I'm not sure if it owes its sturdiness to the iron it was made from or the hundreds of coats of paint.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sick Day


I'm not sure that Danny appreciates having school at home when he's sick. Or when it snows. Public school students stay home on those days...he's already there. And since he's here he may as well work on his classes. Sick or well, snow or.....?


Danny looks like a poster child for Kleenex today. Poor kid. Get well soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Science Tuesday

Hot water vs. cold water.


  • Two cups of cold tap water.
  • Place one in a container.
  • Add hot water to container.
  • Add one drop food coloring to each cup and observe what happens.
  • Add more food coloring, one drop at a time as desired.
  • stop adding food coloring. stop. please stop.

Danny is finishing up a unit on energy today. Unlike some of the other units we've covered (chemistry comes to mind), this unit didn't get particularly harder as it went along - a lot of it was review from prior years. Some of the harder chapters were earlier in this unit. It was rather refreshing to end on an easy chapter. The only problem with that is going to be studying for the unit assessment - we had a lot of equations earlier that may or may not be easy to remember. And a lot of scientific terms. A bazillion of them (how's that for scientific?).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Yodobashi store



Dear Family and Friends,
Thanks for all your letters and emails. I hope all of you are doing well. I`ll start out as usual by describing this past week. (I always have to reference my journal/planner to remember what happened)

I went to Yodobashi (An electronics store) last Monday and used my gift\points card. It was hard to find something there that I wanted. They had a lot of cool stuff but as a missionary most of it is worthless for me at the moment. I ended up buying a wireless speedometer for my bike and a bike light to replace the one that was stolen my first transfer. I`m crossing my fingers that they don`t get stolen.

Tuesday it rained/snowed which was sort`ve annoying. I wish the weather would make up it`s mind and either become warm and stay warm or stay cold so that I would know whether to dress warm or not.

On Wednesday we stopped inside a grocery store to grab lunch and came across some American lady who`s a member. Apparently her husband works at Mitsubishi and is here for a couple weeks for work. Unfortunately for her she can`t read Japanese and bought something that said grape juice or something in English. She realized after she started feeling weird that it had an Alc. 6% on it and that it was alcohol so she stopped drinking but was already a tiny bit drunk. Anyways be wary of what you drink :P.

In English class I talked a little bit with a couple of the students about how they quit smoking. (Neither of them are members). One of them stopped once but apparently started gaining a little weight and his wife told him to start smoking again :O, he ended up having to quit a second time. The other one quit when he started doing karate and realized he was having trouble breathing. Smoking is very common here unfortunately.

On Saturday we met with a kid going to Provo for school at the end of the month. He`s going to study English. I don`t think he`ll get baptized here but I think he will when he goes to Provo.

Yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. Giving talks is getting easier and less stressful but I`m still always a little nervous, which doesn`t help when giving a talk in a foreign language. To prepare for the talk I practice giving it to myself a few times and write down a few key points in English. I shared a scripture which I was able to read fairly fluently when practicing but because I set the scriptures on the podium which was too far from my face it was hard to read the kanji and furigana, I`ll make sure to hold it in my hand next time.

Alright now on to some random stuff I guess.

From what I understand gambling for money is illegal in Japan but you wouldn`t guess it from all the pachinko parlors (They seems almost as common as Starbucks in the U.S.A.). Apparently after winning the little metal balls from the pachinko parlor you have to go right next door and turn them in for money. I don`t really know any of this for sure though.

Megaphones/speakers on trucks and cars aren`t too uncommon. Garbage trucks always have some music playing on them, probably to let people know they`re there. There are also Kerosene trucks, bread trucks, trucks that pick up couches/bikes and stuff for a fee, political trucks, and others that either play music or have someone talking with a megaphone/speaker.

Vending machines here are more advanced than ones I`ve seen in America, at least in Washington. They have cold and hot drinks in them. Sometimes instead of a can/bottle they have a cup that drops down and then is filled up with your selection.

I asked 2 English Class students what a traditional Japanese breakfast was/what they eat and I got these answers. One just drinks milk for breakfast. The other eats toast, salad, egg, ham, and milk. The traditional breakfast is supposedly Rice, Miso Soup, and fish.

What is the Japanese word for Burrito? γƒ–γƒͺγƒΌγƒˆ which is pronounced as Buriito, it sounds pretty similar.

I`ve decided to make more of an effort to send pictures. The picture with this email is from the Dinner Party thing a couple weeks ago. We all made Gyoza from scratch. (Similar to potstickers). It was pretty fun. Tomorrow we`re doing a similar thing but making sushi.

Well that`s all for this week. Thanks. :)

Sincerely,

Elder West.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Proud Parenting Moments


Alex gave a 5 minute talk in Sacrament meeting today. I love it when kids give talks that I had no hand in writing or editing. The only help I offered was 2 or 3 times on Saturday I asked him how his talk was coming.


Danny also stood up in Sacrament meeting... to be sustained to be a Teacher. Which meant we got to stay after while he was ordained.


Nathan is subbing for me in seminary on Wednesday.


That is all....
I guess that's not all...Nathan just told me that he gave a talk today also.

It's not spring yet!

The good news is: I think it will melt soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dancing in the kitchen

Danke Shoen, Darling, Danke Schoen.
Thank you for all the joy and pain.

While sitting in the hospital 4 weeks ago waiting to get my wrist set I remembered that my ipod was in my purse. I even had a headphone splitter and Steve had his own headphones. We both giggled at the lyrics to Danke Schoen.

It's nice to see that I am making progress in healing. I have my ipod plugged into my speakers in the kitchen...when Danke Shoen started playing this morning Steve and I started dancing. That wouldn't have happened a week ago.

So now we dance.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Do Not Adjust Your Set


It's probably just as well that this picture turned out blurry...it is a bit gross. I'm not sure what to call it. Arm dandruff?

A day and a half after getting my shorter cast my arm started to look like it was a snake getting rid of its old skin. I've been wearing long sleeves to cover it up - partly so I don't see it and start picking at it and partly so I don't shed all over the house. I took that picture yesterday - thankfully the peeling isn't quite as bad today.

Just one more thing to look forward to when I get my cast off. Pain and scaly arms. Yea.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lay-off Notice


My "ladies maid/valet" got his lay-off notice this morning.

With my new and improved, shorter, lighter, glow-in-the dark cast - I am now able to do those few things that were beyond me.

Fortunately for Steve I have a great severance package.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

14

Danny turned 14 yesterday-we celebrated with subdued pomp. At about 4pm I put a cake in the oven....at around 5:15 I frosted it. Had it not been "Funfetti" frosting there would have been no embellishing of the cake. After getting my cast changed earlier in the day I was pretty much not in a creative mood. Lucky for us Grandma sent him his birthday balloon - which ended up being about 4 feet long after he blew it up. Nothing says "party" like a big balloon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yes, It Glows In The Dark!

My glow-in-the-dark cast..and its reflection in the mirror.
I have a video to show in seminary tomorrow...I may have to leave the lights on...my awesome glow in the dark cast may be a bit distracting.


I had considered taking some Percoset before my appointment. I wish I had done more than consider it. When the guy took the cast off I felt like my wrist had just been broken. It's a good thing that I don't run to swear words, or Danny and Steve would have gotten an earful. A little fierce grimacing, a little foot stomping, a little sweat, a little nausea...and I have a new, much shorter, cast.

Note to self. Take a Percoset before my next appointment.