Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trying to Beat the Heat

It's gonna be another scorcher today. It's 11am and the thermometer on my deck reads 103'. That may not be the true temperature, but it's hotter than yesterday, and that's enough for me. We don't have air conditioning (few people up here do), so that means we have to find other ways to survive. Here's a few options:
  • go see a movie (any suggestions/recommendations?)
  • hang out at the grocery store. I guess I could go and do laps around Fred Meyer.
  • go for a drive -with the ac turned all the way up.
  • go to a beach....which would involve a longish drive.
  • go to the church property - which is 10 minutes away.

Guess which one I chose for today. Yup. We're heading to the church property. Located on the banks of the Stillaguamish River. We're meeting Stephanie and Cory there in about an hour. Nathan invited some of the singles branch...

Shall we gather at the river? (it's too hot to dance, so we'll just sing and tap our toes)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Word of the Day


[en-er-vey-tid] –adjective

without vigor, force, or strength; languid.

As in:
Due to the excessive heat this week, I am feeling completely enervated. Yeah, it's too darn hot.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

I trust that all of you are still doing well. I`m doing pretty well for the most part. Though this last week has been pretty busy for me. My previous companion Elder Stufflebeam went home last Thursday which means that most of the first half of the week was spent packing and doing other last minute things. On Wednesday night we took out over 10 bags of garbage and put them on the side of the road (That`s what you`re supposed to do here).

There is one unfortunate thing. I think since last Monday or so we`ve been encountering a cockroach daily. And if you see one cockroach... We`re really working on cleaning the apartment all the way but there`s not always a lot of time. We spend most of our time out proselyting, eating, studying, and sleeping. Cleaning time is pretty rare. Fortunately with transfers and new people in the apartment cleaning might get done more often. It`s really not hard when everyone cleans up after themselves.

Cockroach encounters. In the morning Elder Kunihiro heard a weird noise and then saw a cockroach fall out of the top of the closet onto my luggage. It laid there playing dead but we didn`t trust it so grabbed our cup dedicated to capturing cockroaches and got it before it flipped back over and made a run for it.

During the middle of last night Elder Capener was half awake and had grabbed something squirmy in his hand. He wasn`t really thinking at the time but didn`t want it in his hand so he was going to open the door and throw whatever it was out the door but was to lazy to do so, so he just threw it at the door. It quickly darted back under his futon and that`s when he actually realized it had been a cockroach.

Our first night together just before we were about to start nightly planning Elder Imai saw a cockroach, we spent a few minutes trying to catch it but it was tricky so we gave up and planned. We did get it later that night though.I`m training this transfer and my new companion is Elder Imai from Hokkaido, Japan that`s the north part where it gets really cold in the winter. He`s a good missionary and we`ve really been working hard together. I`ve really been trying to be the best example I can be and things have been going well. We gave out a Book of Mormon before getting off our very first train on the way home. I really expect this to be an extra good transfer.

Well I am going to try to clean the apartment more today and hand write a few letters to those who wrote me so that`s all for this e-mail.

Elder Andrew West

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer Day

I think we must have had a Pioneer Day picnic every year when I was a kid. For a while it was always out at the church berry farm. The true mainstay was Brother Opager's home brewed root beer. It just wouldn't have been the same without that root beer.

I especially remember the games one year. They had "Find the Needle in the Haystack", climbing a greased pole, and catching a greased pig. I was not old enough for the pole or the pig, but I was the right age for the needle in the haystack. I don't remember if I found the needle, but I do remember looking for it. The "haystacks" were pretty small - a foot or two tall and 3 or 4 feet around.

Good times.

Dreading the Dentist

Why would anyone grow up to be a dentist? I can understand being a doctor or a nurse...but a dentist? No one (that I know) enjoys going to the dentist.

We went to our last dentist, Dr. Jacobson, for 14 1/2 years. I really liked him. He was kind. He was gentle. His office didn't reek of dental office, he had the best selection of magazines, I never had to wait more than 5 minutes. He retired last month. Two weeks later I lost a crown. Now I have to see a new dentist.

I sort of wish you could have try-outs. Put an ad in the paper and then a bunch of dentists would apply to be YOUR dentist. You could see ahead of time if you actually liked them, or if they were scary.

Wish me luck. I'm off to see the dentist.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Brotherhood

David came for a visit...just after he was in the triple roll-over accident. He left yesterday. We really enjoyed seeing him - since he moved to San Francisco we haven't seen him too often. The last time we saw him was back in October when Steve and I flew down to San Jose for a weekend - and spent a day in San Francisco with David and Xuehui (his girlfriend).

Danny especially enjoys having his big brother visit...okay, all of his brothers are "big brothers", but David is his favorite BB.

I think I have erred somewhere in my child rearing - most of my children are procrastinators when it comes to packing for a trip. David is no exception. About 1/2 an hour before it was time for him to leave he started gathering his stuff up. We still haven't found his iphone charger...but we did find his cap and sunglasses.

It was nice to have 4 of my 5 boys together. And 3 out of 3 grandsons. That's quite the brotherhood.

And now we dance...
(thanks to Keira - and her "Company Way")

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where Were You??

On July 20, 1969 I was over at my friend Lori's house. We saw Neil Armstrong take that "one small step..." on her folks small black and white tv. Even though I was only 9 years old this made a huge impression on me. To me, the moon landing was the biggest thing - of national importance - to happen in the 60's.

Where were you?

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going well over here for the most part. Though I`m afraid the cockroaches didn`t all decide to leave our apartment. In fact over the last few days we`ve seen several. In fact I woke up this morning and was about to fold up my futon like always when I saw a cockroach dart across it and hide under the covers... kimochi ga warui. Anyways we caught that one fortunately. We actually decided to dedicate a cup to catching cockroaches. We decided to do that when we accidentally cut one in half on the rim of the cup.

It rained hard a few times during this `rainy` season but for the most part the rain is fairly light. I actually have started going without my raincoat because I`d rather get a little wet than be hot and miserable.

My companion is going home this week it`s been interesting to see the process as he realizes time is running out and he no longer has time to do everything he wants to. I already have too many books and may have to leave some behind when I go home but that`s not stopping me from collecting them at the moment. We don`t have any weight limits until the flight home to America.

There`s a new Japanese Book of Mormon. It has very few changes translation wise, very few. However the nice thing about them is they print them on the scripture paper now so they`re about half as thick. We really appreciate that as we carry them around all day.

One of my apartment mates has been pretty sick this past week and is finally better. Fortunately none of the rest of us got sick, even though we slept in the same room.

We held a pizza party last Friday for family home evening at the church. A fair amount of people came and it turned out pretty good. It`s the second time I`ve made pizza in Japan.

Well that`s all for this week. Transfers are on Thursday. My companion is going home so I expect to stay here and get a new companion. I`ll tell you about that next week. I`m going to end this e-mail now because I`m typing this in an apple store and standing up so the position is a little uncomfortable.

Take care until next time.

Elder West.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

HP and the H-BP

It's tough to see a movie and not talk about it. Not talk about it so that you don't spoil it for others...I suspect most people reading this have already seen the new Harry Potter movie - but I know there are some that haven't - so I promise not to spoil it for you.

I will say this...there's a lot more snogging going on.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wear Your Seatbelt!

David and a friend (who was driving) were in an accident last night. His friends jeep managed a triple rollover on a freeway on ramp. Both are fine - the jeep is a bit worse for wear. I almost didn't recognize David in this picture he took (he's the one on the right). Evidently a lot of dirt was involved. Thank goodness David was wearing his seat belt, and that the jeep has a roll bar. His friend wasn't wearing a seat belt - he was thrown and miraculously escaped serious injury.

This isn't making me feel any more ease of mind about Alex driving.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

There go our insurance rates....again.

I'm not sure who was more nervous - Alex or me. He certainly didn't look nervous. The examiner that he ended up with was a really nice guy (nice people work at the DOL???). He passed just fine....90%. We now have another licensed driver in the house. We've already alerted our insurance company. Believe me, we know the importance of insurance. Each of our first 4 children have totalled a vehicle. We're hoping that Alex decides to stop that trend.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Minus Wall Art...

Yeah, I haven't done anything about rehanging pictures yet...but other than that, I'm done. I think I may wait a few weeks for the "art" - we're going on vacation again in a few weeks and maybe I'll get a few more pictures to chose from.

The lighting in my bedroom is so poor - especially on a cloudy day like today (I'm not knocking the clouds...yea! rain!). I'm just saying that it's tough to get pictures that show what the true colors are.

Our Man in Japan

This week is Elder Andrew's one year anniversary!

Dear Family and Friends,

I trust that you`re all still doing well for the most part. I know there are some who aren`t and I pray for you.

It`s almost been a year since I started my mission. July 16th is just a few days away. Time has been flying by for the most part and the transfers do get shorter and shorter, and a little longer and then shorter again.

You mentioned that Alex will be doing his driving test in a few days, I wish him luck on that. Surprisingly I still remember my driving test, I did fine but I missed one point when backing out of an alley because while I did stop before the sidewalk I didn`t come to a full stop again after the sidewalk before backing out... Just a warning :P

Have you been coping okay with summer heat/rain? It hasn`t really been too bad. The rain has only been really bad a couple times. Most of the times it rains if I weren`t a missionary wearing a white shirt, suit pants, and carrying a back with books I wouldn`t bother using a jacket or umbrella. Though seeing someone without an umbrella in the rain over here is rare, sometimes they have them for the sun too. Instead of sunscreen sometimes it`s umbrellas and really long gloves.

Did you get your bike issues fixed? Yes. I broke down and just got myself a couple new cheap tires. My hope is that they`ll last me to the end and if they don`t I`ll throw on my old ones for the last transfer. My new tires aren`t as wide as my other ones and are more like street tires which makes riding a little nicer, though they do have less traction.

When are the next transfers? Next week on Thursday July 23. My companion is going home so chances are I`m staying here but I don`t know who my new companion will be.

It`s funny that your ward conference was yesterday because mine was too.Well I think that`s all for this week. Take care for another week please. :)

Elder Andrew West.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This Year's Model.... the same as last year's and the year before - even the color is the same.

Alex is a cheap kid. And easy. When it comes to clothes - including shoes. He is not overly concerned with style. For the past 3 (or so) years he has opted for the same exact shoes. I don't mind a bit - he makes them last an entire year - and then he keeps the old pair for lawn mowing/yard work. This year's pair of Sketcher's came with optional black laces. I'm not sure if he's quite ready for that...

we'll see.

Butterflies Aren't Free...

...they run $3.99/yard.

I didn't plan on making new curtains for Miriam yesterday. I didn't plan on buying fabric for her windows. I DID plan on making new curtains for my bathroom.

I went to Joann Fabric on Wednesday morning - I was looking for some fabric to go with the new paint color. I didn't find anything that I loved...but just as I was about ready to go the butterflies caught my eye. Miriam has butterflies painted on her bed and she loves I sort of had to buy it. Then make the curtains. Then take them over to see how they looked (also to see if I made them the right length...never a given).

So what did I do about the bathroom curtains? I recycled a white linen curtain that has seen many iterations around my house. It works just fine and I was able to make a 3 1/2 year "Fancy Nancy" happy with the money and time I saved. Totally worth it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Painting Myself Out of a Corner

silverware : dish washing
whites : laundry
bathrooms : painting

I've been procrastinating the day....putting off until tomorrow...hesitating to gird up my loins and finally paint my bathroom. I've wanted to get it done since I discovered Miriam in my bathroom painting her naked body with toothpaste - and finding out that my walls were the same color as toothpaste.

I really don't mind painting. I don't even mind edging. I'm not crazy about having to do both. Bathrooms are the worst. The best thing you can say about painting a bathroom is that the acoustics are great. Usually bathrooms are too small for more than one painter in it at a time. It takes a long time to do the edging - because it's practically ALL edging. It can get a bit lonely painting a bathroom - and I've painted my share of them. I painted Stephanie's bathroom...twice, two of Keira's bathrooms and, of course, my own. There's pretty much nothing worse than hugging a toilet in order to paint behind it. Oh well, one more coat and I'm done. For now.

Sleeping In

I slept in this morning. I rolled over and looked at the was after 5:20am. I leaped from my bed, got dressed, dragged a brush through my hair, grabbed a notebook and my purse and ran outside...where my ride was waiting.

It's tough having to get up early in the summer. Especially when my husband isn't home. And I had the grandkids over for hours yesterday evening. Tough. Real tough.

I did make it to my 6:00am seminary training meeting on time. In fact, we were a little early.

I have 2 weeks until the next meeting. And yes, I'll probably sleep in on that day also.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No One Honked

Steve is off at Scout Camp this week. With the van. That means I get to drive the car around town. The car Nathan usually drives. The car Nathan takes to YSA activities. Like the one last night.

A friend of Nathan's decorated the car last night. I didn't realize it until I was looking in my rear view mirror to back out of the garage.

I felt like I was heading off to a revival instead of Fred Meyer. Oh least it was a sort of uplifting message...kind of...okay, okay it could have been worse. "Just Married" comes to mind.

What messages/signs have you had written on your car? Besides "Just Married".

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

Another two weeks have come and gone. Sorry I didn`t have a chance to email last week.

We had a good Zone Conference a couple weeks ago in Eastern Osaka (Higashi Osaka). We learned about and practiced gleaning specific principles from the scriptures. The chapters we used were John 4, Acts 8 & 17, Alma 17 & 18.

Happy Birthday Grandma West, and to anyone else who has a birthday this year that I forget about just reread this email and apply it to yourself by inserting your name in it please.

Last week on Preparation day we headed up into Osaka City. My companion is going home in less than 3 weeks, July 24, and wanted to pick up souvenirs and things for his family. We bought an all day train pass, only about $8.50... I say only but now that I think about it that is a little expensive. hmmmm... living in Japan throws your perception of money off since everything here is so expensive. Anyways we went to a few different areas since we had the train pass and then walked through the biggest outdoor shopping mall(?) in our mission. I`ll take pictures next time I`m in one so you can get and idea of what their malls are like.

The rainy season did start to show itself this past week. I`ll admit that Wednesday Evening it rained really hard and we got soaked, along with all the people riding their bikes with umbrellas (They do this instead of wearing jackets) The wind along with your movement make the umbrella pretty useless, at least that`s how it looks to me.

Next week I may or may not be able to email. We may be heading up to Kyoto for some Summer Festival, but we aren`t certain yet. I`ll try to write a few people letters today, thanks to everyone who writes.

With Love,
Elder West.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


We never go anywhere to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. Except for occasional vacations. But when we are at home on the 4th, we stay home.
Up here on the ridge we have a great view of all the fireworks that everyone spent a fortune on.

I limit Steve to about $30 for fireworks. Yeah, that means we have rather wimpy fireworks, but on the other hand, no one lost an eye...or a finger...

After the thrill of holding sparklers, we spread a blanket on the front lawn and watched Steve, Danny and Cory set off our fireworks, and more importantly, we watched all the cool fireworks our neighbors set off. And they were much more generous with their fireworks budgets than I am.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Indepedence Day

In the spirit of the 4th of July....and of all-American traditions...

...what's your favorite summer movie?

Friday, July 3, 2009

"C" Food Dinner

Chicken, canteloupe, corn on the cob, cheese and croutons on salad...

"C". It's what's for dinner.

We spent a few hours over at Stephanie and Cory's house today - helping them with more projects around the house. It was a hot day. We were tired. I told Steve as we were leaving that I wanted to stop at the store - so I wouldn't have to do it tomorrow (4th of July). We headed over to Fred Meyer. Danny and Steve headed over to the fireworks stand in the parking lot. Alex and I went in the store. The lovely air-conditioned store. I asked Alex what he wanted for dinner. "Something cold", he said. I agreed that cooking was not something I really wanted to we managed to find stuff for dinner that required a minimum of cooking.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The DOL stole my life.... least 3 hours of it that I'm never gonna get back.

Yesterday Alex and I headed over to the DOL (department of licensing) around 1pm. He was #406. They were currently serving #333. We took off for about an hour. At 2pm they were up to.....#337. After doing a little mental math we determined that there was no way in heck that his number would be called by 4:30.

This morning we left the house around 8am. Arrived at the DOL at about 8:20. There were already at least 50 to 75 people lined up outside - waiting for it to open at 8:30am. We finally escaped around 11:15am.

At least half of the people waiting were there to get their EDL (enhanced drivers license). I suspect that if we didn't live in a border state the wait wouldn't have been nearly so long. Those EDL's were pretty labor intensive. I think I'll stick with a regular driver's license and my passport. They'll accomplish the same thing...without all the wait.