Monday, November 30, 2009

Cartography 101

Either I'm an awesome mapmaker, or I'm really good when it doesn't matter too much where things go on a map. It only took me an hour from start to finish. Yea!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family,

Sorry about not emailing last week, it was a holiday and there was a place to email. The week before I worked on my BYU application and the week before that no email.

So last week, Thanksgiving Day was transfer day. Unfortunately you can`t really plan much on a transfer day. I think we ate gyoza and rice for dinner.

Random things from the past month:

November 11- I was on an exchange with a Japanese elder, one of the contacts went pretty long because he was trying to convince the person to listen without using The Book of Mormon. I finally pulled the Book of Mormon out of the Japanese Elder`s little pouch (I had already given mine away) and testified about it and the restoration of the gospel and prophets. The guy then proceeded to tell Elder Kudo that he had never heard of the Book of Mormon and we should share that message right away. It was a good learning experience.

November 15-17- Our sink drain wasn`t draining much and we ended up washing dishes in the bathroom sink for a while. We poured drain cleaner, soap, bleach and stuff down to no effect. In the end we filled the sink up with water and I think the pressure fixed it.

November 23- Transfer calls. Elder Kimura is transferring to Himeji, the opposite side of the mission. I`m training again. I was pretty surprised by that call, I was expecting to train last time but wasn`t expecting it this time. We ate dinner at a member`s house in the evening. During the meal at one point the husband said `Honey, why`s there a crab in the microwave`. He opened the microwave and there was a whole crab sitting on a plate in the microwave. Apparently one of there kids brought it home. We ended up eating it. It`s the first time I`ve eaten crab brain.

November 26- Thanksgiving. Ate a few day old donuts for breakfast. Some rice and Tonkatsu for lunch. And some potstickers and rice for dinner. I also went to the Mission Home to pick up a new elder.

On the train ride to the Mission home a couple little girls were standing a little bit behind me on a really packed train. When the train finally stopped at a station I heard one of them saying `Nana... Nana...` and the other one was lying unconscious on the floor. She must have fainted. It`s very fortunate she wasn`t trampled on that train. A station worker ran onto the train grabbed her and ran off.

When President McIntyre was telling us who we`re training Elder Imai (The elder I trained a few months ago) and I were the last ones left along with two new missionaries. President McIntyre read off the assignments in a strange way that left us confused. But Elder Imai just was waving them over and so we assumed he had figured it out. Anyways we went over and hugged our new companions and welcomed them and then Elder Price looked at his letter and was reading it and saying `I`m Elder Price right?`. We realized the mistakes and switched companions and hugged again, but it was pretty funny. The missionary I`m training is Elder Johnson. His mom is Japanese and he`s lived on one of the airbases in Japan for about 10 years so his Japanese is pretty good. We`ve had a good few days so far.

Alright that`s it for this week.

Love you take care. I`ll probably be emailing weekly again.

Elder Andrew West.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dancing with the Turkey Brine

When Danny started making the turkey brine yesterday, Rebekah loaned him her apron. She put it on him and tied the sash. Danny was okay with it until the camera came out.
Alex showed support by donning my apron - but Danny was still awfully shy of having his picture taken.

I did manage to snap a couple of pictures with quite a bit of swish. Looks like he's dancing...instead of running away from the camera.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Husband's Double Life

A certified letter came for my husband today. It was from the State of Utah Department of Commerce. ??? Yeah, I was curious. Yeah, I opened it.

Here's an excerpt:

"You may continue to use the title of Doctor in front of [your] name. However, initials of DL (Doctor of Lymphology) and PMD (Doctor of Preventative Medicine) need to be changed. It is in DOPL's opinion that these terms would lead a reasonable person to believe that you are indeed a medical doctor, disclaimer not withstanding. The proposed changes are LS (Lymphology Specialist) and PMS or SPM (Preventative Medicine Specialist)."

The letter then went on to say that the State is seeking a "cease and desist order", and that if this person didn't cease and desist the State would move for civil penalties in the amount of $2,000 per day.

Ouch. $2,000 a day??

The good news is that I'm pretty sure this is a case of mistaken identity...but who knows? Steve did just spend a week in Utah...hmmm. I think I may just have to have a little heart to heart with him when he gets home.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seminnamonary Rolls?

Carefully balanced on top of my thawing turkey...pan #2 of cinnamon rolls. Pan #1 is on a lower shelf - balanced on the eggs.

Tomorrow is going to be a game day for seminary - not only that, but ALL of the freshmen are meeting together. (Cue the roaring crowd). Potentially twenty six 14 year old boys and girls. Always a good idea to have some kind of treat, and homemade is way cheaper than store bought. Two dozen doughnuts would be well over $10. They don't pay me enough to fork out for that kind of treat very often.

I have an awesome, if somewhat undeserved, reputation for my coffee cake (or, as this year's class now calls it, "seminary cake"). It's a simple straightforward recipe - but what makes it wonderful is that I bring it to church hot out of the oven - so it's still slightly warm at the end of class. The aroma of freshly baked coffee cake wafts through the building. Not only does my class love it, but so do my students from last year...Kids from other classes will come in and try and mooch - if there looks like there are any leftovers. I'm a soft touch (plus I don't want to take it home) - so I make sure that all of the cake is gone before I leave.

The same goes for the cinnamon rolls. I don't make them nearly as often (because I have to think about making them much sooner). I wonder if the name "Seminnamonary Rolls" will catch on?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Full Plate

Steve gets home this morning! Yea!!

Thanksgiving on Thursday, as usual.

Black Friday Seminary Bash...what was I thinking?

November 28th through December 2nd: Birthday (Cindy), Birthday(Sherri), Birthday(Sara), Birthday(Keira), oh, and Steve's Birthday (not necessarily in that order)

Christmas season....

Wedding season...

Serenity now, insanity later.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Retail Therapy

It's always a little dangerous when Steve goes out of town. He is never sure what he'll be coming home to. I have been known to totally make-over rooms...from the floor to the ceiling. It's partly a way of coping - and partly just for fun - especially when I can get a sister or two to come and help.

It's just not happening this time. I just don't have the time and/or energy...not to mention money (remember, we have a wedding coming up!) to do a home make-over.

I did have the time and less money to spend on Amazon buying books. It all started because I needed to buy a book for Danny's literature class. And then there was the "buy 3 get a 4th book free" thing...and then there were some used books that I wanted...let's just say I ended up with more than 4 books. Yeah. I think I ended up with 12 books and 1 DVD. Oops. I think I won't open some of the packages when they come - I'll let Steve wrap them up for me for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lonely, but not alone...

I have no idea what it feels like to be home alone...Alex is home most of the time, Danny is home most of the time...Nathan is here when he's not at work...usually with Rebekah... I don't have a lot of time when I'm the only one in the house.

Steve is midway through his stay in Salt Lake-and even though I'm not alone, I am feeling a bit lonely.

Hey Stephen...I miss you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Tale of Two Dresses

There really should be a law, or at very least a custom, that the mother of the groom can wear whatever they want to a wedding. Really. It could be that "something old".

I've been putting off the dreaded "Shopping for a Dress to Wear". It can be so soul-sucking to go shopping for something as specific as a wedding appropriate navy blue dress. Thanks to Suzanne, I girded up my loins and went shopping yesterday. It wasn't too bad - I only had to try on 4 dresses in two stores at one outlet mall. It definitely could have been worse.

Do I love the dress? No. But again, it could be worse. I do actually like it. And it fulfills all requirements - and that part I love.

Speaking of dress love...I found a dress for Miriam's birthday that I do love. I saw it first at Fred Meyer's a couple of days ago - I didn't get it then because I didn't know what size to get. After I talked to Stephanie I went to get it....and they were out of her size. Dang. That's okay though - after I found my dress at the outlet mall, I remembered that the mall had an Osh Kosh store. I wandered in - and lo and behold - there was the dress, in the right size, and marked 60% off. Wahoo. Or as Sue would say...woot!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Slight Panic Attack or...

...How We Narrowly Averted Going Back in the Bunker For Another Week.
I had to take Steve to the airport shuttle this afternoon. No biggie - it's just across the freeway at "the great and spacious building" AKA the Tulalip Casino and Resort. As I was grabbing my purse, I noticed that my wallet was missing. Oops. I often throw it in my seminary bag in the morning so that I don't have to carry extra baggage. Checked my seminary bag. Nope. Not There. Umm....hurriedly looked anywhere that might have been remotely possible. Nope. No dice. Time to go...really time to go...hurry up or you'll miss the shuttle! Of course I saw at least 4 police cars on my way there. Just before dropped Steve off I had a flash of inspiration. I remembered that I took a grocery bag out of my seminary bag and put it in my seminary closet (at church). There was a chance that my wallet had landed in there and I hadn't noticed it in amongst the candy bars, I mean, incentives.

Stopped by the church on my way of joys, I found it! I guess this means I don't have any good excuse not to go shopping. Dang.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beauty School

Rebekah wanted to cut Nathan's hair...and she did it. Much better than her first efforts on Trevor and Kaith.

Not too bad. I think she'll do just fine on her own from here on out.

That's a good thing, since she'll be on her own (as far as hair cutting goes) in less than 6 weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

All Quiet on the West(ern) Front

It's quiet.

I knew that when the McRae family left here that things would be a lot quieter. And they are. I turned on my i-pod this morning for some background just seemed a little too quiet.

I read an article once about how some students study better with music on - so we're going to experiment with that a little bit today. Danny is working on math right now - I'm not sure how much attention he will be paying to the music...if I was really smart I'd put the scripture mastery songs on "repeat" - but most of them are so lame they would drive me crazy pretty soon.

So now we'll dance and study. Or rather, I'll dance and Danny will study.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

British Holiday

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Thanks to David for reminding me that today is Guy Fawkes Day.

I wish we could have a bonfire and burn an effigy - but that's just my inner pyromaniac speaking...I would never burn anyone in effigy. Really. I mean it. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rebus "R" Us

2 Nephi 28:7-9
7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
For a full multi-media event, check out the scripture mastery song that goes with this scripture. It's soooo bad....which means it's hard to get out of your head....which is good.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Elder Andrew sent some pictures of his squid rice - this was the finished product.

How are all of you? Not too sick I hope.

I don`t have too much to write this week. Last week on Monday we made some Squid Rice. They don`t sell everything I would like in the stores over here but they do sell packs of 2 squids for about $3-4. To make squid rice you just pull the tentacle/head/stomach things out of the top part of the squid. You pull off the 4 bone things on the inside of the top part and rinse it off. You then boil the top parts in water for a little bit. Stuff them with rice, maybe cut slits in the top, and close the end with toothpicks. You then cut off the head part (With the eyes) and hope your companion doesn`t accidentally squirt you with squid eye juice. You then put the mouth and tentacles part along with the rice filled top in a pot with water and soy sauce and maybe a little sugar. Be careful when you eat the mouth part, the squid mouth has a beak thing that you need to pull off before you eat it.

My companion was sick this past week. It peaked Saturday with a fever of about 101 for most of the day. We stayed in all day and he spent the day curled up in his futon. There was a ward Halloween Party that night and I think they had planned for us to do some stuff without really explaining it, anyways I had to call the ward mission leader and let him know that we wouldn`t be able to make it. He was better on Sunday, had a sore throat and a cough but we went to church. Him being Japanese wore one of those masks they always wear when they`re sick or worried about getting sick. After church he took a nap and then some members kindly had us come over for dinner. They had made a whole turkey, it`s the first time I`ve seen a whole turkey since coming to Japan. Apparently you can buy turkey at Costco, and not many other places. The same goes for Root Beer. A lot of people like Root Beer when they try it and tend to always go to Costco for it but for some reason most other stores don`t carry it.

Have you had any more typhoons? Nope.

Are you going to have a Halloween party? There was one but we couldn`t go.

Rebekah wants to know if you ever get to eat sushi? Yeah, I probably eat sushi about once a month. We don`t make it at home, though we did have a sushi party once where we made sushi. Normally we eat it at a cheap restaurant or at a members house, though it`s not very filling, it would be expensive to fill yourself up on just sushi. (Unless you made it yourself)

Well, take care everyone. Try not to get too sick. Love you all. Bye-

Elder Andrew West.