Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Word of the Day

Actually, today it's the "New Word I Hate of the Day". That word is:


TRANSUMERS are consumers driven by experiences instead of the ‘fixed’, by entertainment, by discovery, by fighting boredom, who increasingly live a transient lifestyle, freeing themselves from the hassles of permanent ownership and possessions. The fixed is replaced by an obsession with the here and now, an ever-shorter satisfaction span, and a lust to collect as many experiences and stories as possible.* Hey, the past is, well, over, and the future is uncertain, so all that remains is the present, living for the 'now'.

There was an article in the paper today about "transumers" - as an example there was a picture of a lady who spends $800 a month renting.....wait for it......wait for it.....PURSES. Yes, purses. She spends 10 times the amount my husband and I paid a month for our first apartment on renting purses. That's beyond ridiculous. I don't care how rich you are - spending $800 a month to rent purses is just wrong. Of course, this comes from a girl that just spent $3.99 on a new Sunday bag. At Goodwill.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Twilight Zone

The library in Forks, WA.

While on vacation with Steve this past week, I ran out of reading material. In the middle of nowhere. As we were passing through the town of Forks we stopped at the store to pick up some lunch. I looked over the measly selection of books at the grocery store...it leaned heavily towards bodice-rippers and all things Twilight. Neither appeal to me...so we looked at the other store in town...they mostly ran toward overpriced local authors and guide books (animal tracks, plants, that kind of thing). Again, not what I was looking for. Fortunately for me the local library was only a block and a half away...I was able to scavenge a couple of books for less than $2. Score. It reminded me of finding the local library in Honolulu...and buying reading material there.

I personally have never read or watched anything "Twilight" - so all the businesses with posters and signs in their windows sort of left me cold....except for the message on a motel sign "Edward Cullen didn't sleep here".

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Sea stacks at Ruby Beach.
Hole in the Wall - 1 1/2 mile walk north from Rialto Beach.

The tide pools were awesome.

Ditto the driftwood.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Room With a View

A big tree in the Quinault rain forest. The rain forest aspect of the Olympic Peninsula doesn't get me all excited. It's forest...and it rains a lot. The end. It was pretty, but frankly, being from the Pacific Northwest I've seen a forest or two.
A room with a view. A view of Lake Quinault. We really did like the Lake Quinault Lodge. It felt like being in a time warp back to the 20's or 30's. Franklin Delano Roosevelt stayed there. It looks like a president would have stayed there. In the 20's or 30's. There were no telephones or tv's in the rooms (at least not in the rooms in the lodge - which was where we were). I'm pretty sure the walls weren't all that thick - so having tv's blaring would have been annoying. There was a large common room right under our room - complete with a huge fireplace, leather sofas and chairs, game tables, piano, writing desk, and an armoire that was filled with board games and puzzles. Steve and I played a game of Scrabble. I won't say who won....

A starfish at Beach 4. North of Kalaloch (pronounced : klay-lock). Awesome tide pools. Two thumbs up for the tide pools.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Frat Boy

This is Daniel's first year at EFY. We sent him to the same one that Alex went to - down in Tacoma at UPS (University of Puget Sound). Alex always stayed in the dorms - so I guess I just assumed that would be where Danny would stay. Nope. He gets to bunk at the Sigma Chi fraternity house.

Due to a typo on the the website, check-in was NOT from 9 to 11. It started at 11am. That meant that Danny didn't have any lunch - and lunch was not provided. No problem - I just raided the van and gave him a couple of granola bars, some applesauce, string cheese, pudding and a water bottle. Not exactly lunch, but I was pretty darn sure he wouldn't starve. He called us about an hour or two after we left him. He had gone to the cafeteria and bought himself a hamburger and fries and who knows what else, to the tune of $7. I had only given him $10 spending money for the week. He sounded a bit concerned...He said "what will I do about lunch tomorrow?" I reassured him that the rest of his meals were included.

Steve and I continued on our way south, then west, then north...to Lake Quinault. We're staying at the Lake Quinault Resort for the next two nights, where we evidently have wireless internet. Our room is on the second floor - the first big window (and little window) with green shutters to the right of the chimney. We have a gorgeous view out over the lake. The Lodge is pretty vintage - but in a recently refurbished way. The stairs creak like the dickens - I'm glad our room isn't right by them! I'm looking forward to a good nights sleep tonight.

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going well still. The weather is still becoming more uncomfortably hot. They say it`s the rainy season, but I`m not really impressed by it, it`s raining the same as any other part of the year I think. But it probably also depends on location.

I got an old tire from the mission home and patched my bike tube near the end of last week. I`ve been riding a spare bike in the mean time. Unfortunately when I went out this morning the tire was flat again... I`m at a little bit of a loss regarding it right now. I`ll probably temporarily steal the whole back wheel from the spare bike for a while and procrastinate dealing with it :P.

I put some cockroach traps out last Monday, they caught 1 so far. We know there`s another hiding in the laundry room, it got a way by crawling into the washing machine and we haven`t seen it since. We have some Boric Acid powder stuff to put in places they crawl in order to dehydrate them and kill them.

Next week I may or may not have a chance to send an email. We`re planning on heading up to Osaka next week. A couple weeks after that we may go to Kyoto for Gyomatsuri, a fairly big festival I hear.

Well that`s all for this week I guess. Take care.

Elder Andrew West

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I'd like to wish a happy Father's Day to a couple of the greatest dad's that I know...my husband and my dad.

I learned early the value of work from my father - he taught us to "put our shoulder to the wheel". I may not have always appreciated the hours spent weeding the garden, mowing the lawn, roofing the house, canning vegetables, folding laundry, washing dishes, laying tile....but I did learn not to be afraid of hard work. I truly appreciate that "can do" attitude.

At first glance my husband doesn't seem to have that much in common with my dad - but don't be fooled. Steve can also put his shoulder to the wheel. I sometimes give him a gentle (or not so gentle) nudge - such as ripping up the carpet in the living room...so he can lay new flooring, but he gets the job done too.

Thanks guys.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Painting Process

First: Go to Home Depot and angst over the color choices for about half an hour (or more). Dither a bit. Waffle some. Finally narrow it down to one. Finally. Then try and find the paint department guy to mix it up for you. Good luck with that.

Second: While you're waiting for your paint to mix, look through the brushes and rollers. Buy more roller covers than you need.

Third: Get home and realize that your paint roller (the handle part) is over at your daughters house. Go and get it.

Fourth: Open the can of paint and gasp at the gosh awful color that doesn't look a bit like it did in the store. The next step is a leap of faith. Start applying it to the wall.

Fifth: Shudder as the color goes on. You wanted a light color - NOT white! More leaps of faith required to continue.

Sixth: As the paint starts to dry it looks patchy and horrible. Leap again (faith-wise) and apply a second coat.

Seventh: Now that it's dry you can admire your fine taste in paint. How could anyone ever doubt your fine color sense?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

For the next 12 hours....

a couple of pictures from the first procedure...the upper endoscopy.

Do not:
  • drink alcohol
  • drive
  • operate machinery
  • make critical decisions
  • do activities that require coordination or balance

The whole procedure was pretty much painless. I felt more like I was at a day spa (not that I've ever done that). The nurses were very easy to get along with - and the one nurse there that I know personally came by to give me a bad time. The recliner that I was initially placed in (for the "pre-op") was comfy...and I got a heated blanket. When I was escorted back to the procedure room the nurse draped me in a blanket and and then guided me by the elbow - I felt like royalty. The drugs they gave me in the procedure room were awesome. Totally. I slept like a baby - with no memory of the procedure. (Yea!) Waking up in the recovery area was easy - a cup of cranberry juice and some crackers and we were out of there. The most painful part of the whole thing I can honestly say was the blood pressure cuff.

Truly the hardest part of this whole thing was the prep. Clear liquids only - all day yesterday - and then 36 Sennokot tablets. Even that part wasn't nearly as traumatic as I expected. I was pretty hungry by the time of the procedure - but hey, I lost 4 pounds over the last couple of days...how spa-like can you get?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Am I Blue?

It's "clear liquid" day for me. Yippee. So far I've downed about a quart of blue stuff (Powerade mixed berry), and one cup of chicken broth.

In 20 minutes I will take the first half of the Sennakot pills (18 of 36...yes, those are the correct amounts).

I will probably be spending copious amounts of the rest of the day in the euphemism.

The good news is, and I have this from reliable sources, tonight is the hard part...tomorrow is way easier. Evidently the drugs I'll get tomorrow will be making me feel just fine. Better living through pharmeceuticals-that's my mantra for the day.

And now the only movie I've ever seen that features a colonoscopy....Ghost Town.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday and Marcy.

Yesterday was one of those perfect summer days we get here in the Northwest. Sunny and 70'. It was a lovely day to be out on the town. And Marcy and I were...out on the town. Things did start off rather bumpy due to inexplicable problems with my van. It was possessed, then it died. Luckily Nathan didn't need the car AND he was willing to come and get us. Also luckily we were just here in town. In the same parking lot as a craft store...It would have ruined our day to have had the van decide to die elsewhere. We were able to get everything done on our list.

Bead Store. Check.
Goodwill. Check.
Lunch outside at the marina. Check.
Sunny day for lunch. Check.
Jewelry making. Check.
Hair dyeing. Check.
Movie watching. Check.

Mischief managed. Check.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going well here in Japan still. But I`ve already said that before. Things out of the ordinary include cockroaches and bike problems (Well that one`s not so out of the ordinary). Up to this point in my mission I`ve had the pleasure of not dealing with or worrying about cockroaches. Unfortunately on Wednesday night we found 2 nice big cockroaches in our study room. One of them was placed under a cup with a little bit of dish soap (I guess that kills them) the other made a nice run for it through the apartment stopping to hide behind stuff like the shoe rack, as if that would stop us. We pulled all the shoes out and made a nice mess of the entry before forcing it out from behind the shoe rack. Unfortunately it managed to dart into our bedroom. It made it under the bed momentarily before being pulled out by a hanger or cardboard tube. It too met the same dreary fate underneath a cup with a little detergent. We`ll probably go out and buy some cockroach hotels/traps today, they`re only 5 for $1 I think.

The bike issue started Wednesday night when my bike suddenly got a punc while we were riding by a train station. It was raining that day. We ended up walking the 45+ minutes back to the apartment just in time to plan for the next day and get ready for bed. The next morning I quickly patched the tube but the tire (The rubber outer part) had gotten ruined by rubbing up against another part of my bike on the way home. There was another old tire on the balcony that I used instead. It was a little iffy looking but I didn`t want to buy a new tire $25-$45. On Saturday I decided the tire was a little too iffy and that I should get a new one. Unfortunately the bike shops didn`t have a cheap one in stock of the correct size so I figured I`d wait until Monday. Well Sunday morning on the way to church the tube got a punc again. The old tire hadn`t been able to handle another day apparently. This morning I ran to a member`s apartment with another missionary in order to borrow an old missionary`s bike. On Friday the other missionaries in my apartment are going to the Mission Office and will pick up a spare used tire from there hopefully. Until then I should be fine.

I don`t tell you these things because I`m depressed or anything but simply because I can`t think of much else to write you other than we did missionary work last week.The picture is out of one of my two grammar books that I try to study from daily. I pick one grammar out of the book a day, study it in the morning and try to use it throughout the day. Dokoroka is the grammar I`m working on today.

Oh yeah. I didn`t transfer and neither did my companion so we`ll be together until mid-July when he goes home. I imagine I`ll still be in this area until September but I`m not sure.

Well take care and good luck.


Elder Andrew West.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer is finally (almost) here.

Seminary is over...

Graduation for Alex is over...

EvCC finals are done....

Danny finished all of his classes...

Reservations are made...

I am cautiously optimistic that summer vacation is here.

Ye Olde Warde Party

Our ward had a "Medieval Times" themed activity last night. We were divided up (before coming) in to 4 different teams. Our family was on the red team. After eating dinner the tournament began.

Unlike the other 3 teams, ours seemed, at first glance, to be the weakest - and possibly the smallest.

Looks can be deceiving.

Steve came in a respectable 2nd in archery. Our Young Women's team won "Feed the Peasant", both the junior AND senior primary teams won their obstacle courses (I think). Alex and Danny cooperated (I know, they cooperated?) to win the swordsmanship contest. I came up with 2 items for the random "Who has this item" (I had a $50 bill and dental floss...).

My favorite contest winners were for the "couples" activity. It was a little rough and tumble - so Steve and I didn't sign up - we got the missionaries to do it. I so totally wished that I had brought my camera. One Elder galloped his "horse" to the other end of the gym to save the "damsel in distress". When he got to "her" he had to grab the sheet on which "she" was sitting and drag her back to the other end. Priceless.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Alex is (sniff) Growing Up.

The last time I took Alex in for a physical was about 2 years ago. It was right around the time he turned 16. I held him tight while he got his shots...and then again when he had blood drawn. He was literally drenched in sweat from fear.

I was dreading the thought of mission shots...but our little boy is growing up - he got a shot, a TB test and had blood drawn. All without me even there.

Awesome. Those aren't Band-Aids - they're badges of honor.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Word of the Day

en⋅nui  [ahn-wee; Fr. ahn-nwee] –noun

1. a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom: The endless lecture produced an unbearable ennui.

Synonyms:listlessness, tedium, lassitude, languor.

The perfect word for summer vacation time with kids. Instead of saying "I'm bored", you can have them step up their vocabulary with new phrases such as: "I'm suffering from ennui".

I just like the way it sounds...on whee.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

It`s good to here from all of you again. I`m glad to hear you`re all doing well. I remember how much I disliked the High School Graduation when I had it, it was way too long. Oh well, at least it`s over for you for now.

Things are going well for me here still. This week is transfers, the calls come tomorrow. I doubt I`ll transfer but my companion could, probably won`t though.

It is heating up here still, it`s currently at the point where you sweat slightly inside without doing anything unless you have a fan on you. It`s nice when it`s cloudy but I`d rather have heat than rain as a missionary.

The end of next transfer is when I hit my year mark as a missionary. Wow. Can you believe I`ve already been gone that long? Well... I can, but still it seems a little strange. Anyways that does mean I still have one year to get to the point where I want to be before going home. I`ve only been in Japan for 8 months now and have 14 months left in Japan. That makes me feel better.

I`m really happy to be here serving in Japan at this time. I`m sure I`ve already said that in the past but it`s still true. The other missionaries I`m serving with are great. No one`s perfect but they`re all pretty good. My favorite missionaries are still my room mates from the MTC. I`m sure they`re all awesome missionaries even though I rarely get to see them or talk with them.

Well I`m going to cut this week`s email short, sorry about that.


Elder Andrew West

PS. Is there an Elder Tani serving in one of the Marysville Wards? He`s actually originally from Hirakata, my last area.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Seminary Graduation

High school graduation didn't include refreshments.

We just got home from seminary graduation. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so massively better than high school graduation that I couldn't help but be impressed.

My favorite highlight was when one of my freshman students (Halden) played a number on the organ. And he played it just the way I like it. Loud and fast. I knew I could count on him. He really is quite talented - he has actually played on the Tabernacle organ and the organ at the Conference Center. He promised me that someday when he is a famous organist he will dedicate a piece to me - "In honor of my freshman seminary teacher...who likes her hymns loud and fast"....or something like that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

That's a lot of empty seats to fill...
There's Alex - next to last row about the 7th from the left (he's just this side of a short kid)

See that lighted area near the top of the picture? That's where we were sitting. Yup, nosebleed section.

Steve pretty much had to sprint from one side of the arena to the other side to get these last two pictures (Alex in line and Alex crossing the stage). Yea Alex. Yea Steve.

And here's the Boy Wonder himself.

The Family Robe

Appearing for the 5th time tonight!

We bought this robe for David - back in the day. I think it cost around $30. Every child of ours that has graduated from MPHS has worn this baby. We totally lucked out the year Stephanie graduated - she was assigned to wear red that year (the school colors are red and white). Usually most of the girls wear the white robe (which can be incredibly tacky - depending on what they wear under it). Lucky us. We didn't have to fork out another $30 bucks for another robe.

I had to have Steve haul out the sewing machine this morning - the bottom 4 or 5 inches of the zipper had come unsewn. Easy fix.

I need to make sure I have extra batteries for the camera tonight. One more set of pictures of the family robe. Yea, Alex!

Seminary Breakfast/Final Day!

My class drew and wrote notes to me. Even one or two siblings of classmates wrote a note.

We had a pretty good turn-out. I think we counted about 65 kids - out of a possible 80ish. Considering the fact that it is graduation day and half of the seniors didn't come, that's a pretty respectable showing.

My class. From left to right: Halden, Jared, Olivia, Kate, Preston, Me, Melanie, Heidi, Kate, Derek and Bruce. We had a great year together - quite the awesome group of kids. Now we can all go back to normal human sleeping schedules.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

There's a Dinosaur in my Freezer...

..and he's hiding on the shelf under the Otter Pops.

Today is Stephanie's birthday. I think she's 26. Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday.

A couple of weeks ago I made a space shuttle cake for Trevor - he loved it. I was talking to Stephanie afterwards - I volunteered to make a cake for her. Trevor heard me and piped up with his suggestion. A dinosaur cake. For lack of a better idea, a dinosaur cake it is. I admit that it's not quite up to my usual standard...but in my defense it was nearly 90 degrees in my house last night AND I was running a fever (a reaction to the DPT shot that I had gotten the day before).

And there you go.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Enriching the Health Care Industry...One Appointment at a Time.

I had a physical yesterday. Well, part of a physical. Unfortunately circumstances conspired against me and I will have to return in a couple of weeks for the part that couldn't be done yesterday. Dang. My doctor also set me up for my annual mammogram...as I knew she would. She also suggested I make an appointment with my orthopedist - to answer some questions about my wrist/shoulder situation. And she set up an appointment with a gastroenterologist...since I'll be 50 this year (if you don't know what that one's for, don't ask - you don't WANT to know...trust me).

I also have my regular physical therapy sessions coming up.

Did I mention that Steve made appointments with the eye doctor for the entire family?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

It`s great to hear that you`re all still doing well. I hope those who have a birthday on June 4th are able to enjoy it.

My past week has been pretty good. On Tuesday we had interviews with President McIntyre and received some great advice as always.

On Wednesday Elder Obata and I went on an exchange and just had a really good day as far as proselyting and teaching is concerned. I`m often surprised by the people who stop and talk with us. I`m sure I`ve talked to more different people on my mission than my whole life before my mission.

We helped some members move on Saturday, fortunately they`re staying within the ward`s boundaries.

Anyways, on to other stuff I guess. Congratulations on making it one month on food storage. I hope you enjoy a lot of fresh produce and non-powdered milk among other things tomorrow. If it were me I`d buy some chocolate milk to celebrate :P. Unfortunately good chocolate milk is hard to find and expensive in Japan. Oh well, the sushi is a lot easier to find here :).

The weather is getting warmer still. It`s not too hot most of the time but the humidity makes it a little uncomfortable sometimes. Oh yeah I forgot to mention last week I got to go to a fireside hosted by the BYU Wind Symphony Orchestra. They were originally going to have it up in Ibaraki but because of the swine flu they ended up doing it in this stake instead.

Well I guess that`s it for this week. Really not much to say I guess. If you emailed a recipe for regular pancakes and a recipe for waffles I`d appreciate it. I don`t think those recipes are in the family cookbook.

Elder West.