Monday, June 28, 2010

Time Capsule

(google image)
Last week we cleaned out the Relief Society closet at church.  Hidden on the top shelf was a box filled with sealed envelopes, dated April 1990.  We had discovered a 20-year-old time capsule that needed to be dispersed to the rightful owners!  Half of the authors have already passed on but they had names of children and grandchildren on the outside of the envelopes so that I could give the letters containing words of love, encouragement, testimony, and wisdom to the rightful owners. 

I was excited to be the bearer of such treasure.  On Sunday, I carried the envelopes to several different people.  They were reverently surprised and pleased to receive this valuable gem.  I took 2 envelopes to an elderly widow in our ward, who had written letters to her children.  I handed them to her with the explanation of what we found and how delighted I was to give them out.  She looked at the envelopes, then at me, tossed the envelopes on the table and said, "I'm not giving these to MY kids!  They're as-h---s!

So much for being overjoyed!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Teaching in China

Learning is a treasure that will follow it's owner everywhere.  ~Chinese Proverb
Joan volunteers to teach English at a middle school in Changzhi. One of the highlights of my trip to China was going to the school to meet the children.

The night before, we made several different flavors of Jell-O for them since they had never eaten it.
The students loved the Jell-O and even wanted us to write down the recipe!

Lorie and I introduced ourselves and showed pictures of our families.

The typical/traditional Chinese family consists of parents and one -maybe two - children.  Imagine their horror and surprise when they saw this picture of my family! 

Each student stood and introduced themselves and told us what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Most of the girls said they wanted to be a  "Teacher, because I love children" - or, "A nurse because I want to help people!" 

The boys wanted to be zoo-keepers because they love animals, or a banker, "because I like money!"  One boy said that he has an older sister and she is very beautiful! All 3 of us commented on how nice that was for him to say. The next 2 boys stood and said the same thing! A little "woot-woot" goes a long way!

The children had learned two songs in English, John Lennon's, "Imagine" and Neil Diamond's, "Sweet Caroline" (there are two kinds of people in this world...)  I taught them the sign language to "Imagine".

It just so happens the day we were there was Joan's last day to teach before the kids were out for summer.  Of course they wanted to thank Joan for all her service but they didn't want to ignore Lorie and me, so the principal and superintendent presented all three of us with a gift.  Look at this beautiful mug and lid.  It has the name of their school with gold inlay.  Lorie and I timed it just right!  I will always treasure this.

As we left the school and got in the van to have the driver take us back home, the students throughout the school stood at the windows and waved goodbye.  We felt like celebrities!

It would be nice to feel that love from our students here.  Maybe it was the Jell-O!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jill has the most adorable son! (My Blog was Hijacked by Dan)

A Visit to the Hutongs and Vegetables

While in China, we had a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs.  The Hutongs are in the older part of town and consists of narrow alleys with gates that lead to a court yard and small, older homes. 

During the rickshaw tour, we stopped to visit with a family who has opened their home for visitors. 

The family we visited is a husband and wife.  Their only child, a daughter, has moved out.  They are the 5th generation to live in this home.  As we walked into their frontroom, we noticed incense burning by a statue of Buddah.

The frontroom had stools for visitors.

Just off the front room was the bedroom.  There is no toilet in the house.  They use the community squatter.  However, this family has a room where they can wash and shower.  They are very excited about that!

We asked her questions, through our interpreter, Oscar.  After several minutes of visiting, we asked if she had any questions for us.  She had only one, "Why don't you cook more vegetables!"  I guess she doesn't consider fries and ketchup vegetables! So, in memory of and respect for our gracious hostess, (she's the one in pink) I have a recipe for you:

Ranch Salad with Roasted Vegetables
6 red potatoes, washed and cubed
4 long carrots, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/4 red onion sliced in thin wedges
1 T. olive oil

Place on large cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper or seasoning salt.  Bake 350 degrees until fork tender.

I didn't want to heat up my oven or kitchen, even though it didn't bother me to bake cookies the night before,  so I put the vegetables on aluminum foil, sprinkled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, folded over the foil and placed on the gas grill outside.  But first I had to remove a 2 week old hamburger patty from the grill. 

Being the carnivores that we are, I threw on some hot dogs too!  (Might as well please the whole family) 
While the vegetables are cooking, tear romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Toss with
ranch dressing and place in individual bowls.  You can add other vegetables to your lettuce; radishes, tomatoes, etc.
Spoon hot, tender, vegetables over lettuce.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or grated cheese. 

The warm vegetables make this a hearty salad that will fill you up.  The hotdogs in buns, smothered with ketchup, mustard and relish also helped make it a filling meal!  (And she thinks we don't eat vegetables!  Bah!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Attitude Schmattitude

Sometimes a little bit of attitude can take you far!

And sometimes, a lot of attitude can get you in trouble!

This was written when she was 15 and in Young Women.
If you're wondering who Jill, with the great big attitude, is.... here.  Are you surprised?  She still has a Sassafrass attitude and I love her for it! 
p.s. I didn't get permission to post this, but I'm her mom, "I can do anything I want!"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Congratulations, Dr. Langston!

We just returned from a quick trip to Albuquerque for a fun celebration!  My beautiful, smart, talented daughter-in-law, Nicole, graduated from pediatric residency.   She and my son, Dan, (who was looking for terrorists at the graduation banquet) will be moving to the Salt Lake area in August!  Hooray!

Congratulations Nicole!  We're very proud of you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Paradise and Chinese Cuisine

If someone was to ask you your definition of Paradise, how would you describe it?
This is Oscar. He's 28, single, an only child, majored in English, and was our tour guide for 3 days in Beijing. Our tours were filled with stories, jokes and philosophies. 

He told us his definition of Paradise:

American Salary
UK House
Russian Wife
Chinese Cuisine

I can understand why he'd think an American salary would be paradise when he made only $30.00 a day as a tour guide, and that was a good salary.  I don't know anything about the houses in UK or the women in Russia - but I have tasted Chinese cuisine.

Let me show you just some of the chinese food I was able to eat.

Noodles with pork.  Not sure what part of the pork was used but it was delicious!  Lorie got the same thing only with egg.  The eggs looked just like the pork, in the brown oil but it had roundish morsels.  She found out after she ate it that it could have been termite or ant eggs.  She said that it tasted good anyway.

Donkey.  It was seasoned well and I had only a small portion, but it tasted fine...kinda like chicken!

Chicken feet...did NOT taste like chicken!

Wonton soup.  It tasted good, especially with cilantro.  Then I noticed the large pieces of "rice" had eyes.  Those little shrimps are a delicacy, or so I've been told.  All I know is I tasted them all day!

Peking Duck - it was good, especially wrapped in a wonton skin.

The ever popular rice dish.  It tasted yummy!

Noodles with tomato and eggs - chicken eggs, I think!

Steamed pork dumpling - tasty!

Lily Bulbs - interesting but good. 

Watermelon was served at almost every meal.  It was the sweetest I've tasted.  I love the presentation of all the dishes.
Last, but not least, are some foods available for consumption - but, my daring spirit must have been spirited away.  I had NO desire to eat that! (click on the picture to read what this is.)

So whaddyathink?  Would you include Chinese food in your definition of paradise?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We went to the Zhouzhang Water Village, outside of Shanghai, where we went on a gondola ride through the "streets" of the city.

It was beautiful and peaceful.
After the ride, as we walked on the sidewalk, we saw a small, Chinese woman with pictures of the village that she wanted to sell to us. She'd come up to us, smile her toothless grin, and try to push the cards into our hands.

We kept saying, "No, thank-you" but she kept persisting; following us into the restroom, waiting outside the stall, walking to the sink with us; all the time smiling and making whimpering noises while showing us the pictures. We'd wave her off, and continued to walk out of the village. She followed us all the way to the tour bus, trying to convince us to buy her pictures. When we got to the bus, she stood, holding the pictures and smiling at me. I finally gave her a dollar (1 RMB equal to 15 cents- yes I'm still cheap), held her hand and smiled at her.

She grinned even broader then turned to the window of the bus, reached up and showed us her pictures again. We drove away, leaving her in the parking lot. She turned back to the village to find her next potential customer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm Back!

NiHao to all my blog friends and family!  I'm back from a fantastic 2 week trip to China!  It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun...and fun I had!  I can't even begin to tell you all the things I saw, smelled, heard, touched and tasted!  It was a trip to awaken the 5 senses!  Mark and Joan, our friends in China, are great hosts and tour guides.  I greatly appreciate and love them for providing this experience for me.

I need to also thank Dan, Jill and Andy for updating my blog while I was gone.  Since Google and China aren't good friends, I can't access any blogspots, including my own.  Imagine my surprise when I read about sitting next to a terrorist, dickering with the Chinese (although most of it is true) and my fanny pack experiences!  I didn't realize I had such talent and adventures!

I can't wait to get to your blogs to read about your adventures but it may have to wait until tomrrow.  I've been up for 33 hours and my brain isn't working well.

In just a few short hours (although it didn't seem short at the time) I went from this:

to this!

I really am home!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Changzhi and Westerners

These pictures were taken yesterday as we walked around Changzhi. This town doesn't get visitors from other countries so they were all amazed to see 3 "western" women walking around town. As we went into a store, there was a fight on the street that involved a couple of women. There was a crowd that gathered to watch. We watched for a half minute then decided to do some shopping.

While in the store, we saw a cute baby so we stopped to ooh and ahh over the baby. The Grandma, who was holding the baby seemed very happy to have us take pictures.

After takinig a few pictures, we noticed that there was a bigger crowd around us than there were watching the fight. We've become quite the celebrities. People would stare at us and some would say "Hello" to us. When we answered, they'd laugh. These two girls stopped us and asked if they could have a picture with us. This is the picture I took of them scrambling to find their cell phone.

We had lunch at Pizza Hut yesterday - the first American food. As you can see, the menu is slightly different than our Pizza Hut but we still had some pizza.

The picture of the building is Mark and Joan's apartment building. We're on the 6th floor.

Should I buy the T-Shirt for anyone in particular?