Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'll bet you didn't have THIS done today!

This is one of the pleasures of living in a warm climate--getting your palm tree trimmed every year. It wasn't overly expensive (about $40) and was a lot of fun to watch. The tree guy had a set-up like a mountain climber around him and a chain attached to that. That's what he used to shinny up and down the tree. He had a small chainsaw on a lanyard attached to another waist strap. That was so 1) he couldn't drop it on anyone below him and 2) should the palm fronds collapse on him from above and cause trouble, he would have his chainsaw close at hand and could cut himself free.

Apparently it had been about three years since the last trimming. We'll get it done annually. We'll probably get some other work done on various trees on our property. We have a huge mesquite tree in the front yard that needs some TLC but it's kind of expensive to have it done. We'll have it done eventually as money becomes available.

The last picture shows some of what was on the ground after the trimming was done. :-0 The guy cleaned it all up while I skimmed the pool. Unfortunately the pool is right next to the palm tree and the wind was blowing so a lot of tree bits fell into it. He used his blower to blow the surface of the water and that pushed many of the pieces to the far end where I was able to skim them out. I skimmed for more than half an hour, then put the net back on and I was bushed! I think I need to exercise a little more often. ;-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paperless birthdays

Here is the blog of my friend Kerri. In it she talks about cutting down on disposable supplies for her daughter's birthday. We do it one better in our family. Instead of reusable gift wrapping, we use NO gift wrapping! Don't worry that my children have no fun though, we HIDE the gifts and make a treasure hunt to find them. :-) I started it when my big kids were little and my younger children have never had it any other way. I make slips of paper with a clue to each location, plus some fillers. The kids don't know if any given location will have a gift and a note or just a note. All gifts from relatives are incorporated into the treasure hunt as well as gifts from Mom and Dad. Heaven help me if I ever decided to wrap birthday presents!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bulgogi and a triumph

BULGOGI (Korean Beef Dish)
1 lb. London Broil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame seed oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. sugar
Slice the beef thin. Mix the above ingredients and marinatethe beef in this for 20 minutes or longer if time permits. Cook the beef in a frying pan or for a better smoked flavor, cook it over a barbecue grill.

One of my students told me she liked to add slivers of onion so I added that after I mixed everything. This recipe didn't create the strong flavor I prefer, so I might try something different next time. One thing I did was cook the meat in a small pan on the stove instead of quickly stir frying it. That let me cook it with no additional fat, but since some of the water steamed out of the meat and didn't evaporate, I think it diluted some of the flavor. It was still delicious. The side dish was cucumber with seasoned rice vinegar and I had a glass of orange juice with it.

The triumph came from one of my students today. She told me she was an honored guest at a dinner last night for a group of foreign diplomats. On a moment's notice she was asked to make a short speech to the gathered audience . . . in English. I'll bet her heart about stopped! She repeated her speech to me and it was short, to the point, and just wonderful! I felt like a proud parent and actually had a tear in my eye. She told me she kept thinking of me and hoping my power of English would be with her. :-D

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Disabled workers

This past week I had the interesting experience of having two disabled people assist me in professional situations. The first was when I had some blood drawn at my doctor's office. The tech who came and got me and drew the blood probably had spina bifida. She had a cool walker she used and made a little joke about her "go cart." In her case, I thought having this disability did not have any impact on her ability to do her job.

The second disabled person I encountered was later that day. I went into Walgreen's to see if they had any seasonal flu shots available. I asked the clerk behind the counter near the door and he looked at me and gave an unintelligible answer. I thought he just didn't hear me so I kind of pantomimed getting a shot. Turned out that was just the right thing to do as he just pointed toward the pharmacy section. In the end there were no innoculations available, but I came back to the counter with a couple of small purchases and realized the man was wearing a badge that said, "I AM DEAF AND BLIND." He really was deaf and seemed to have very limited vision. Everything went fine until there was a coupon that didn't ring properly. Then he had to call for a back up. It seemed like he was able to handle routine things all right but not when complications arose.

I have mixed feelings. People with disabilities have the same right to work as people without disabilities. Do I have the right to have someone help me in a quick, efficient manner? Whose rights prevail? The rights of people to work and the rights of businesses to hire whomever they wish? Or my rights to the best service? Or something in between? I'm a compassionate woman and I wasn't bothered by the slow-down in service by the second employee, but I wonder if other people would have been?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mesa Arizona Temple

Today our ward had a temple trip to the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. We don't have a temple in our town or even in our general area and we want the church leaders to know we in our town are willing to drive to Mesa and are a temple-going people. So please build a temple in our city! Here is the beautiful Mesa Temple: Here are some basic statistics about the temple:

Announcement 01 October 1919

Groundbreaking 25 April 1922

Dedication 23 October 1927

Rededication 15 April 1975
It has a beautiful 1920s style and was built during and just after the time the Cardston Alberta temple was being built. I has more than 60 LDS Stakes in its temple district, which would explain why there are 2 new temples which will be built in the Phoenix area in the next several years. That will help relieve the congestion in and around the Mesa Temple.

Here is a link to a FAQ to answer questions people have when a new temple opens near them:,11264,1904-1,00.html and here is a link to a page that tells the purpose of temples:,11298,1897-1,00.html

And if you are a Korean speaker/reader, here is a link to a page about doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korean. Since I don't read Korean, I can't post the specific link for information on the temple but if you look around the site I'm sure you'll find what you are looking for. And here is the LDS Church site for Koreans.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Suggestive billboard in Korea

I read this article in the Korea Times today. If you want to see the bilboard they are talking about, click on the link.

Cover It Up, Bring It Down Or Be Amused

By Oh Young-jin, Shim Hyun-chul
Staff Reporters

An oversized billboard with two young models in a suggestive pose greets people when they climb out of a subway exit in Myeongdong, central Seoul.

A man passes a big Calvin Klein billboard in Myeongdong, central Seoul, Monday. The billboard is becoming a landmark of sorts for its size and a suggestive pose in it but obviously, people are divided on its moral correctness.

/ Korea Times Photo
by Shim Hyun-chul
In the picture on the billboard, a male model fully exposes his well-toned torso while sporting a pair of jeans. A female model embraces him from behind with her left leg over the male model's flank. She appears to be topless and, obviously, the picture was taken to suggest she is scantily clothed, if at all.

This billboard is for a Calvin Klein outlet which specializes in jeans. The U.S. apparel firm has two other outlets in the area,one selling underwear and the other jeans.

The billboard is becoming something of a landmark and is conspicuous in an area where people of all ages can be found. So The Korea Times asked passersby for their opinion on the eye-catching fixture. They were asked, simply, "What do you think?" in order to prevent any interference in the formation of their response. Here are some of their reactions:

Female Chu Ja-hye, 19: "At first, I felt embarrassed but, seeing it so often, I feel nothing out of the ordinary."

Male Jang Ji-woo, 19: "I take it as an advertisement concept. They cover what they have to, so I say it's OK."

Kwon Sun-mi, aged in her 20s: "It's sensationalbut I disregard it because it's an advertisement."

Female Han So-r, 20:"Nowadays, there are no borders that can't be crossed as far as advertisements go. Not bad."

Female Lee Mi-sun, 20: "It's too sensational by Korean standards. It's too provocative."

Chang Un-yong, in her 30s: "It is one of many overly sexualized advertisements. I feel it burdensome."

Han Bok-ja, in her late 40s: "It's overly sexual. I feel too embarrassed to look at it. The line should be drawn somewhere."

Male Kim Young-min, 49: "An advertisement should be about catching people's attention with a fresh idea, not just by taking off clothes."

Female Yoon Hae-yong, 76: "I don't know how young people take it but I don't approve of it."

Adam Lipper, 23, an American living in Korea for 14 months: "I want a pair of those jeans."

Kim Young-jin, 31, a Korean-American born in the United States and living in Korea for three years: "I wonder what effect such advertising has on young people, particularly in terms of body image and self esteem."

The Korea Times asked a PR officer at
Calvin Klein Korea for specifics related to the advertisement. He promised to
respond, but failed to do so. ― ED.

I don't like advertisements that rely on sex to sell. As the one person said, "An advertisement should be about catching people's attention with a fresh idea, not just by taking off clothes." However, I must say my favorite response was, "I want a pair of those jeans." LOL

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ready to send

Today the girls and I sat down and finally wrapped all the Christmas gifts for dd, her dh, and her ds. (If you are a new reader, that means dear daughter, dear husband, and dear son). Since I really doubt dd reads here, I'll go ahead and say what the presents are.

Dd's main one is a small scrapbook I made for her with wedding and baby pictures (her baby). I didn't have many pictures, but it was a labor of love for her so she can have a keepsake from this important year in her life. I also got her a shirt I think she'll like. I got her dh a nice polo shirt. He's tall but slender so I hope it isn't too big while I was trying to get the length for him.

The main star of the gifts is the quilt L (PeskyPixies) made for her own grandson that she didn't get to give to him. Her grandson has the same first initial as my grandson so she generously asked me if I'd like to have the quilt to give him. Did I ever! She does beautiful work and mailed it to me from Australia! How much love is that? Here is the inscription area on the back. Isn't it sweet? That's my handwriting on the blue rectangle and hers on the rest. She didn't really scribble on the bottom part ;-) , I just didn't want to broadcast her name around the globe.I'm really excited to give my grandson this quilt because of all the love for two grandsons that went into it.

Here are the pictures of the front. I wasn't going to post them just in case dd really DID look here, but I want to show it off.L sent me the quilt in a huge postal bag that made the trip here completely unscathed, so after wrapping up the gifts I just popped them right back into the bag, changed the To:/From: addresses and will take it to the post office tomorrow. Very low stress.

I must make one mostly-unrelated comment. The quilt is lying on the safety net covering our swimming pool. I don't have a clothesline, only a drying rack, so when I want to dry big things like towels and sheets, I lay them out on the pool net and they dry in a jiffy. :tappinghead: Smart girl, aren't I? LOL

Sunday, October 18, 2009


As you might have noticed from some recent posts, I've taken up the hobby of couponing. Simply put, it's matching coupons with sales to get the absolute best price on food and household items. We are swimming in snacks, cereal, and personal care items at the moment. Who knows what will be next?

I was pretty happy to get my hands on two or three extra copies of the Sunday coupon inserts today and I didn't even have to buy them. I was out visiting and someone had access to several Sunday papers and saved them for me. Good deal for me as there are a number of coupons there this week that will be helpful.

I think when dh met me he was kind of bewildered by my shopping habits (look for great deals, have plenty of food on hand), but I recall he said his goal was to keep me in the manner to which I was accustomed so he just let me do my thing. Smart guy that dh, huh?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Good news for us!

Dh has older children from his first marriage and has paid child support as long as I've known him because his youngest was under a year when his first wife walked out on him. That child is a freshman in high school so the end is in sight, but we got an early graduation gift in the mail yesterday. Because dh's xw has moved to another state, the CS order was moved too. The child support order was reviewed and for various reasons, was changed. It was cut IN HALF!!! That extra money in his paycheck will go a long way toward the things THIS family needs.

I'm doing the happy dance here!

Last night dh took the girls on the Stake Daddy-Daughter campout. Cool, huh? We've never seen anything like that done. Around here mid-October is the perfect time for such a thing. It was 97 (36C) degrees here in the valley today (only 2,500 feet here) and about 50 degrees (10C) last night at 7,800 ft where they were. What did I do? I took myself to Taco Bell, brought all the food home and watched chick things on TLC, then went to bed and read. In the morning I slept in, got up, straightened the house, and went shopping. What more could a gal ask for?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A bit accomplished and no one likes my food

I'm accomplishing things here and there. I listed something on eBay, I worked for my new second job 4 hours today (it's a here-and-there kind of job, not regular), everyone is staying clean and fed, the girls are doing their homework, I'm working my regular part-time job, and I'm investigating vegan cooking (!) so I'll have something to feed my mom when she settles back in here at the house. Not that my mom is a vegan, but with vegan cooking I can avoid the milk her IBS won't allow her to consume any longer. Other than straight meat and fruits/vegetables, I'm kind of stuck for ideas. I really like casseroles but most casseroles have either white sauce or cheese incorporated into them. Can't do that, but there are all kinds of ideas on vegan cooking sites. I really don't think dh or the girls will like the ethnic foods I'm finding there, but I will try some anyway. In fact, I'm tired of the children complaining about what foods I serve them. Dh is smart and doesn't complain, but I'm almost to the point of stocking up on chicken nuggets and letting the girls eat them for every meal. Phooey.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Less than $20

I did a little shopping today. I see nice Christmas gift baskets for the girls' teachers this year. :-)

I got:
4 bags of Halls Refresh cough drops
3 Chapstick Effects lip balms
2 halloween party cups
2 Vaseline Infusion lotions
8 Skippy peanut butters
8 Quaker chewy granola bars
4 halloween pencils with character erasers
3 boxes of Barbie/Dora the Explorer BandAids
4 cans of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
2 boxes of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal

. . . and as the title says, I spent less than $20. More like $16-17, I think, but I'm too lazy to crunch the numbers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My little Sleeping Beauty

S was busy building things in the living room and this is what I found:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Evening walk around the neighborhood

The girls and I walked around the neighborhood after dinner tonight and I realized the houses and landscaping are completely different from any other place I've lived and I ought to take pictures of them. Even though I live in the southwest United States, when I think of "southwest-style houses" I think of Santa Fe-style houses.

Santa Fe-style tract house

I don't really know what the style here is called but I call it Arizona style. So here are some sights in my neighborhood:

This is a car parked at the side of a house that you see when you come into the subdivision from one side. It's an interesting car but I'm sure tired of being greeted by it.Here are S and E in front of typical landscaping. Lots of cacti, huh?
This is looking down the street. There are a LOT of cacti around here as well as Mesquite trees. The Mesquite trees are attractive but they drop stuff on the ground year 'round. Well, at least June, July, August, September, and October, the months we've been here. I'm kinda guessing it continues all year.These two houses have lots of native landscaping. I especially like the second one.

Dh and I both love all the palm trees, (or "pom pom trees," if you ask the girls) and although this variety isn't a towering kind, we think it has the prettiest canopy:Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home (note to self: MUST get to those weeds):

Saturday, October 3, 2009

C's new outfit

I'm not sure if you call this a dress or a top with leggings, but I found it at Costco a few weeks ago and picked it up. I don't usually go this trendy but decided to grit my teeth and buy it. She loves it! And lucky girl is going to be getting more new clothes because she is in almost the last of the hand-me-downs I have in the closet. Luckily I picked up a couple of things at the clothing swap tonight (see below). ;-)
My funny girl took this picture herself by taking advantage of the camera shutter delay. Smart, huh?

House Party Media

House Party Media

Shared via AddThis

Tonight was my House Party clothing swap. We had lots of clothes, so many that some will be taken to a play group to share with those mothers there. House Party (the name of the company that sponsored the sample items) sent me some good samples to give out--Clorox Green Works products, two Burt's Bees products, as well as some coupons. Everyone took home a goodie bag. :-) Oh, and we had banana splits. What's not to love?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thirty tops

This article is from I didn't write it.

This is an idea I've been slowly implementing. If you have 30 tops (many women have 150 or more including tees, tanks, sweaters, sweatshirts, long sleeved, short sleeved, dress blouses, cotton blouses, etc.), you could wear each top ONLY ONCE A MONTH for an entire year!
A hundred years ago, even 30 tops would have seemed an extravagance few could afford and fewer could probably fit in those non-existent clothes closets. But now we Americans, at least according to the less is more Europeans, are swimming in a sea of mediocre at best clothing.

Imagine for a moment you cull the absolute best 30 tops from all the closets, drawers, laundry baskets, and to be folded piles of laundry all around your house and you toss anything that isn't in the top 30. Now, each day, you will be wearing your "best" stuff and need not fear running into your boss, old boyfriend, new client, or new friend from your yoga class looking schleppy. You'll be dressed your best each and every day.

Now let's take it a step further. Let's say that old group of 100 tops was bought new for about $20 each. That is $2000 in clothing, most of which will not wear well, stay stylish for long, or be worth more than $1.00 at a garage sale within a year or less.

If instead, you were starting from scratch (which you won't have to if you're like most over clothed Americans) and buying only 30 tops for the whole year. That same $2000 will buy 30 tops around $66 each. J Crew has good quality clothing and you could currently buy a "featherweight cashmere short-sleeve sweater" on sale for $59.99 (Reg. $148).

This is a FAR better option than buying 3 cheaply made $20 tops. The cashmere will stay in style and last likely four or more years at an annual cost of $15 or less. If you repeat this thinking with all your clothing, buying good quality clothing on sale, you will soon build an impressive, high quality wardrobe for less or no more than you spend now and will up your style quotient exponentially.


I think the author has a very valid point. BUT . . . A HUNDRED FIFTY TOPS???????? Do people really have that many clothes? I know I'm a low-maintenance kind of gal, but I'm seeing just how lucky my dh is. ;-) I also know I need to upgrade my wardrobe but I want to lose some weight first. Isn't that what women always say and that's their excuse for running around in rags?