Sunday, December 17, 2006

Woman on the Verge

Okay, I don't have a picture, but I want you to imagine this... A woman hasn't had a sub sandwich in months. She found out a Subway Sandwich store was coming to her neighborhood/state/country. It was going to be 8 blocks away from her home. She drove past the construction site weekly, slowly, carefully and plotted her downfall into carbohydrate prison. She knew exactly what she was going to order. A footlong tuna on harvest wheat, chips, and to make herself feel better about her caloric intake, a Diet Coke. She was going to valiantly fore go the cookies because she had to maintain some hint of a waistline, she was in control.
Next image... the woman finally fulfills her craving, she is in Submarine Sandwich bliss. Her mouth is slightly oily from the mayo, her stomach distended from the sandwich, chips and coke, all is right in her sorry little mind, her pathetic little world where food is king. Her fixation is fixed, just like a junkie after shooting up. No sooner did she wipe clean her mouth, the woman learns there is a TGI Fridays that was just built in her town only about 5 miles from her home.......

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tales of a Traveler I

This is a great little picture I found while I was organizing some of my photos. Last June we stole off to Bali,Indonesia. We are outside of a fabulous city called UBUD. This grouping is a holy Hindu site that was quite recently unearthed. The Hindu priests guideing the tour insisted we have our knees covered. I at least had long pants on. and we were all asked if we were menstruating. If we had been, we would not have been allowed to enter. (At least 20% of our family was, but we lied). The others had to wear robes provided by the temple. We all had to wear sashes even me. This black and white gingham fabric was found draped all over the island on holy grounds.
90% of Indonesia is Muslim, however 90% of Bali is Hindu. They practice a really weird form of Hinudism that doesn't really resemble the practices of the Indian Hindu.
The picture of the baskets in this building are actually cocks that have been raised most carefully for fighting. These cock fights are carried out at the numerous Hindu temples found on every little back street of the towns and cities. It is some sort of rite. Hinduism is really very open to interpretation and literally any action or activity can be called a rite or belief.
One interesting thing about Bali...the humidity was quite low, and the weather closer to the ocean was more arid. The weather was in the 70' or low 80's and was a delightful change from Penang's constant heat and humidity.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Most Excellent YW in Excellence

We had our Young Women in Excellence today after church. I was particularly fond of these two displays:) Christina did some excellent work this year. She is nearly done with Personal Progress! She just has to work on the Value Projects of 5 of the Values. Most of the Experiences are done. As you can kind of tell from the picture below, her Value Project for Knowledge was to learn a new skill that can be used in the home. She is learning to sew. Good Work Christina.
Can you tell one of my favorite colors is orange! I love Choice and Accountability. I was especially thrilled that all of the Young Women are working on Personal Progress at some level. When we first came here most of them didn't even know about the program. I am signing off lots of Experiences monthly now from all of the girls.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Minx One and Minx 2

Jordan and Malaina, college coed's .... BYU coed's no less. Sorry but those lame dumb jokes about "how can you tell a BYU coed is walking behind you ...because you can hear her knuckles dragging" don't apply to these girls. Dave also said "Why are there no swimming pools at BYU?" Answer: "Too many harpoonings". (Isn't he bad?) Aren't relevant here either.

I love the way my girls depend on each other for moral support and friendship. I truly believe they are best friends.

Blogged by Blogger

Okay here is the Clove picture I was trying to upload on the last blog I published. I don't want to dwell too much on this subject, because I just did a few days ago. But I liked this picture and I wanted to share it.

I am about 9/10 of the way to moving this blog to a new location. I have had a really hard time with the photo upload tool. I am not terribly computer challenged either. So I just think it should be more reliable. Before I do move, I would like to get any opinions of the Blogger Beta with the Google enhancements. Also, if anyone has suggestions as to improving my luck with uploading, I'd like to hear about it.

I don't care about formating, of even really with the looks or asthetics of the blog page. I just expect it to be dependable.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas List

Penang has a great Little India. A friend and I were there yesterday, and I couldn't resist loading up on spices. It is a cooks Nirvana. I wish I could send the smell through the computer. I couldn't resist a picture in front of a huge barrel of whole cloves. I will let you all know of our return date and I hope you send me spice requests. FYI-- a small box of Saffron is only $3.00. Cardamom pods are pennies, those whole cloves were maybe a dollar for 50 grams. Nutmeg grows on trees here in Penang and they sell the fruits all over the island, so the seeds (our ground nutmeg) are very plentiful and cheap.

This is a cute getting to know you list that a friend sent. I think it will be perfect to use here.
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Our Santa just complains about the cost. When the kids were little we rarely wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored tree, white house. Only if Dave puts them up.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? no. We just kiss everyone at random.

5. When do you put your decorations up? first week of December. Take em down the 26th.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Homemade Tamales

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Traveling home via Federal Ave. in Denver and listening to the radio updates of Santa sightings. I was so excited to get home and go to sleep.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think my brother told me when I was about 10

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, when I have bought presents, my kids like money.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I have about 5 different tree decoration sets. A homespun crafty, chili pepper, blue, cranberry and brass , and a kids decorations set. I rotate, Just like Marie Osmond.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Snow IS CHRISTMAS!!!

12. Can you ice skate? I used to be able to, not sure if I could any more

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? 50$ my brother gave Dave and I when we were starving students. That was so touching!

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? God sent his Son to save the world.

15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie, hands down, no discussion.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Making hundreds of Tamales as a family, then eating them until we burst. Then feeling that satisfaction of passing on a tradition to my kids.

17.What tops your tree? An angel or star depending on the year.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Come All Ye Faithful. I always get the warm fuzzies and a burst of Christmas joy.

20. Candy Canes yuk or yum? yum! Only if they are peppermint!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cockroach Hysteria

Okay, we got two new fish. When Christina and I lifted off the aquarium top, we saw a dark red cockroach scatter into the filter/pump area. We were astounded with the size of this monster. I think it has been living in the aquarium top, living off the moisture and slime for 2 years. It had to be at least 2 years old!! It was just a smidgen smaller than the one at left.

since our man Dave is in India for the week, we called Willis Stebbins our 10th grade neighbor on the 13th floor to come up and help us kill it . He came and took one look at it and was floored by its size. He was not going near that thing. So we called Danny Sullivan, the buildings resident bug afficionado up to kill this thing. This is a 12 year old boy who collects scorpions, centipedes, and even had a small cockroach friend. Even he said, "Too big." So here we were; no one wanted to deal with it, but there is no way I could sleep knowing it was there. The fate of this bad boy fell in my hands. This insect was in a location where it was impossible to smash with a shoe or newspaper, the only way to get it was to manually kill it.

As we were all screaming and freaking out; I took a pair of scissors and bravely manuvered it into a position where I could wack off its head. Do you know what kind of courage this took? That cockroach could have easily run up the blade of the scissors and scattered up my arm and into my open screaming mouth!! I closed my eyes, guessed as to the location of the insect and quick as a cat, snipped that head right off.

Mercifully the body and head fell into the water where it continued to jiggle and squiggle for an obscene amount of time. Even its guts where leaching out into the water. It was so insanely gross that the fish wouldn't go near it. So Christina and Willis fished it out with the skimmer and Willis disposed of it for us. I have yet to work up the nerve to pick up the scissors and sterilize them with rubbing alchohol. I would rather deal with a rat than a cockroach. We live on the 27th floor! Our aquarium is in the office! That cockroach came with the stupid aquarium over 2 years ago from the dealer!!! AGGH!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

We went on an incredible trip to Simply Sensational Singapore. It was a lovely trip. We were however quite unprepared for the cost. The plane fare from Penang was expensive and we, ever the penny pinchers, were looking for a good way to save money. Instead of going directly
to Singapore. We elected to fly into Johor Baru. A state in Malaysia just over the border and across a narrow strait of water. Our trip into Singapore was a success! We saved tons of money and we just had a bit of inconvience at the border. We had a taxi take us straight to the hotel. Our hotel was located right on Orchard Drive just above the MRT subway system. We gorged ourselves on Burger King burgers, and visited one of the worlds best zoos. We shopped at amazing stores, like Zara, Tang's, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Cartier. We stocked up on books at Borders, and even made a trip into Little India. We had the chance to watch General Conference with other Singapore residents too. We went to the Mandarin Hotel and sat in the Grand Ballroom that the stake rented for that very purpose.

When the time came to go back home to Penang little did we know what was in store for us. We awoke at 6:00 am to get ready for our 9:30 flight. Keep in mind the Johor Baru airport is only about 45 minutes away. We asked the good folks at the Marriott to arrange a taxi for us to drop us at the airport. The average person would assume that since we arrived by taxi we could leave by taxi. However, our first mistake was to assume. I mean, ASSUME Malaysia would keep things as simple as Singapore did. Ha!

  1. Marriott folks kept us waiting for taxi arrangements for 30 minutes. We finally went out and caught our own.
  2. The driver was a Chinese Joe Pesci-like character who couldn't stop talking and laughing and making fun of everything Malaysian. Very irritating at 7:30 am.
  3. We got to the Checkpoint and had to walk about 1/2 a mile 8:00.
  4. Then we had to wait in line at the checkpoint. Go through the border, and try to find the correct bus to drive us to the Malaysian border checkpoint.
  5. We waited for the correct bus and lucky for us it arrived about 15 minutes after we arrived, and we still had our EZ-Link bus passes with us left over from the MRT subway.
  6. We got off the bus and walked the wrong way because we followed the sign that said "imbarcation cards this way". Next time we will ignore the info. signs and just follow the crowd. By now it is 8:30. Our plane leaves at 9:20.
  7. We found a taxi driver and followed him to his car about 100 yards away. Traffic around the checkpoint was quite heavy.
  8. He drove very fast, and we began to relax a bit realizing we just might make our plane. Then we hit a traffic jam that went on for miles and miles. Parking lot slow.
  9. We then realized that it would be a miracle if we didnt' miss our plane. We got to the airport at 9:10. They would not let us board the plane. The next plane with AirAsia wouldn't leave until the next day. Dave went to buy tickets from Malaysia Air but that flight didn't leave until 3:50. We decided to get tickets for Tiny and I to Penang, leaving at 10:30 with AirAsia and Dave would wait til 3:50 to fly to Kuala Lumpur to pick up our car that was waiting for us at the Hotel we stayed at the day before we flew into Singapore.
  10. Only AirAsia could not process our credit cards of which we tried 3 before giving up. Dave said he was ready to start swearing like Steve Martin did in the "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" when he wanted to rent a car to get home. He gave up trying AirAsia, and just went over to Malaysia Air and bought 3 tickets to KL.
  11. We made ourselves a fixture at the "Coffee Bean" we were the guests who would not leave. We plugged in our lap tops and palm pilots and sat there for 6 hours, occasionally buying things to keep them from kicking us out.
  12. We got on the plane and went uneventfully to KL and took the train in to our hotel. Got lost at the huge train station, but painfully made it back alive to the car. We had the hotel give us very detailed instructions on how to get back to the North-South Expressway.
  13. Sadly we got lost the minute we left the driveway. We ended up in downtown Kuala Lumpur at the height of rush hour. Luckily it was still daylight and it only took us an hour to navigate ourselves out of the hole we dug.
  14. We drove up to Ipoh and had terrific Nasi Kandar for dinner about 9:00 and then drove into our parking space at home about 10:45.

All and all Singapore was great fun. A beautiful big city that will be fun to return to again and again. Next time around though, I think I'll save some money and take the expensive flight directly to Singapore.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Funtastic Night Market

We took Elders Delaney and Giles to the night market in Batu Ferringhi last night. Elder Delany is going home to Australia in a week and he had not been to Penang's greatest night market. The market is situated along the street of a mile long stretch of "hotel" row about 4 miles north of where we live. The market has oodles and oodles of colorful, brashy, tacky, beautiful, noisy, cheap, counterfit and wonderful touristy treasures. You can get any cd, dvd, designer purse, imaginable. There are wonderful batiks, pewter containers, and other local goodies as well just for the bargaining. I came home with 6 new cds and the second season of Numbers. I purchased everything for under 10 dollars. Yes I am a thief. But to my own defense, there are no places to purchase dvd's let alone rent them. So we have to buy them from the bad guys. (how is that for rationalizing??) We met this cute Auntie last night. (in the photo with Dave. ) She had blue eyes like Dave, she spoke very good English and we fell in love with her. Her name is Madam Lim, and she was born and raised here on the Island of Penang. She is part of the reason Penang is the Pearl of the Orient. The rich culture and friendliness of the local people is beyond compare. The Chinese have kept their lovely traditions as is evident in the food, clothing, and celebrations here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Doughnuts Make You Fat

We cannot get doughnuts in Malaysia. A real cake donut is something we Gaddis' not only crave, but need with every fiber of our bodies. I have been doing some research online to find a do-able recipe, one that will satisfy and put a gut bomb in the tummy with the greatest of ease. Last July, I even bought 2 doughnut gizmos to help me acheive perfection. While these didn't taste like I had hoped, they sure look pretty. I will keep trying cake doughnut recipes until I am satisfied. Until then, I will probably gain lots of weight, testing and testing.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Life Surrounded by Girls

Christina turned 14 last Saturday. She invited every single girl in her class to come to have birthday cake and sing Karaoke. Seventeen out of eighteen girls came. It was a bit touchy at first because a handful of these girls are not friends of Christina, in fact they have made her life miserable at times. But, being a kind and thoughtful person, she was adamant that all the girls would get invited. They all came and hatchets were buried. We went over to "Redbox". Redbox is a huge Karaoke club. They have over 60 rooms of all different sizes with excellent equipment in them. Redbox feeds you and waits on you and you sit in the room (ours had a dance floor and huge wall sized screen) and sing your heart out. Thanks girls for the great time!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the delightful Young Women at church. Can I tell you that the Lord has prepared the most magnificent future leaders possible here in Malaysia! All of these girls speak at least 3 languages, and can write in them as well. They attend early morning seminary and are all working on Personal Progress, and progessing!! I love them so much. The leadership in our branch is wonderful as well. This photo was taken last Sunday the 10 of Sept.

Christina is basically an only child now. Her older sisters are adults living 10,000 miles away. Our life is so full and complete with her. Dave and I love and adore here and we appreciate her desire to make good choices and live righteously. We look at Christina and wonder where the last 14 years went? We savor these last few years with her at home more than you can ever know.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Comfort Food ..Thanks Grandma

4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 T. Crisco
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup warm water

Incorporate well the shortening into the dry ingredients with your hands.
Slowly add the warm water until a nice dough forms, not too wet, not too dry.
Knead for 5 minutes.
Divide into nice round golfball sized pieces.
Roll them out nice and thin and round.
Cook them on a medium hot griddle and you have Flour Tortillas.

This is my ultimate idea of comfort food. I don't think I ever was at my grandmother Lucero's house when she didn't have homemade tortillas on hand. Now I make them so seldom it is a shame. I guess other things take my time and I forget the simple things that make me happy. Yesterday I made Chorizo, from my Grandmother's secret recipe that my Mother gave me years ago. I cannot tell you how happy I was today at dinner, scambled eggs with Chorizo and fried potatoes and fresh tortillas! Poor people food that I grew up taking for granted. Eating this simple meal took me back to humble yet sturdy kitchen tables laden with food made with love by strong women who knew how to feed not only the body, but the soul as well. Wow! Now that is comfort.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sugar is the "Gellical" cat of Malaysia

Here is a wonderful comparison of a fat American and a fat The cat above weighs 15 kilos or 31 pounds to westerners. Our cat on the left, Sugar, weighs 11 kilos or 23pounds. People come into our home and they are caught totally off guard by the freakishly fat and very big boned cat. Once the scare factor is over, they are totally enthralled and cannot belive what they are seeing. We had a big party last Christmas and Sugar was the "freak" at the show. We should have charged one dollar a peek, it would have paid for the party. There was a constant stream of people lined up to see her laying on Jordan's bed.

Sugar is totally unlike a Malaysian cat. Malaysian cats are 99% scrawny , short haired and stubby tailed. The gene pool likely has not had very much influx for centuries. Any pure bred cats are kept indoors and well guarded and strays are shooed away . The street cats are on their own to face the harsh realites of life here. Dogs, huge rats, disease , abandonment and humans and all that that entails.

(the clipping of the fat cat from China comes from APpic , taken from the Star Newspaper one year ago)

Monday, August 28, 2006

From Mullet to Magical

Malaina got a wild hair literally a week ago or so. She impulsively got it cut at a really bad place by a really bad hair stylist. She went home nearly in tears and totally disgusted. Long story short, she called my niece Toni and went up to Sandy to get it fixed. It is probably the best haircut she ever had. Not only is it cute as can be, it is easy for her to fix. Shown here is my beautiful 18 year old BYU freshman.
Malaina says "Hat's off to Toni". I agree.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

AWAS (caution) Cindy on crutches

Okay, I was getting up from a nap to answer the phone tripped on some slippers, WHAM went down, and I conciously made an effort to avoid a twisted ankle so I fell on the hardwood floor on the side of my foot and snaped a bone. I was laying on the floor, and I called to my maid Kanit, to get me some ice. She comes in with a big bag of ice and plops it on my painfully sore foot. Then she tries to rub the pain out of my foot. I ask her as nicely as I can to "please take her hands off my broken foot and stop rubbing it!' She just walks away shaking her head saying "Aye-yah!" Thinking that I must be a namby-pamby to whine about a tiny little bruise.

Really, I am doing as well as can be expected. I have good neighbors and friends buying groceries and bringing me cookies. Next week I will trying swimming some laps to maintain some sort of cardio health. Speaking of health. The doctor I go to is excellent. They have excellent digital x-rays, and state of the art phyisotherapy as well. As soon as I figure out how to post pictures here on this site I will do so. Any one out there have any ideas? When I am creating a message, I click on the add image button, but nothing happens.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pioneer Day in Malaysia

Last night we had the greatest Pioneer Day Celebration as a branch. We had a great pot luck. Oh my gosh... the variety of food we get is fantastic. Curries, salads, desserts, noodles, rice dishes. My favorite new Malaysian hybrid is the curry puff. A tender piece of deep fried pastry folded around succulent curried potatoes and chicken. The only "pioneer"food we had was the potato salad (boring) that I brought.
We had fun games, the primary sang a pioneer song, and one of the Elders gave a presentation on Pioneers. We may not be in Utah, but the Saints here know all about faith in every footstep. What a great bunch of people, pioneering together right here in Penang.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Road Rules

Have you ever watched a motor cross race on ESPN or some channel on tv? You know how all those motorcycles are lined up in no particular order and then someone waves a flag and KABOOM! They're taking off like bats out of hell? Well that is what every single red light / green light is like here in Penang.
No matter how far the first car in line is hugging the intersection line all the small little one or two stroke engine motorcycles and their drivers butt in line ahead of you. They zig zag in and out of cars and in between the lanes until they are as far to the front of the line as they can get. It can get really crazy when you are surrounded my these motorcycles. Sometimes there are as many as 2 dozen motorcycles.
  • No doubt you will have about five or six Indians. Some are big boys too.
  • Four or five ancient Chinese men with smokes hanging out of their mouths ( these old guys all have ramrod straight backs and their legs poking out in very wide obsene angles... )
  • And at least one or two Malay families with at least 2 children illegally and unsafely mounted between both parents.
  • And at least one third of these drivers will have on a jacket turned backwards just covering their arms. I think some of the drivers are in the sun so much that it burns their uncovered forearms and they have come up with this "back-jack" method. Other reasons are to keep dust off their clothes, and for wind resistance. What ever the reason it looks stupid.

The light turns green and those that haven't run the red light already, roar off down the street. Because you are in a much bigger car, you can't accelerate or you will hit someone, so you have no choice but to sit there for a few seconds and let them clear out. And clear out they do, at great speed. Except, the families whose weight prevents them from moving too quickly. These folks don't care that they are holding you up with their pokey departure, some drivers get so impatient with these slow pokes that they will drive around them even if it means forcing the car in the next lane into a tree. Dave said it perfectly "Their problem, becomes my problem. "

Anyway, the rest of the motorcycles are zooming down the street. There is usually one young crazy driver who thinks that he is the most important and has to show off his driving skills by weaving in and out of the others. He is the one who runs the red lights, and thinks "nothing" can touch or hurt him and will probably cause or be in an accident

6,500 motorcyclists a year die in Malaysia. It think this is among the highest in the world. Keep in mind that these are not the motorcycles we have in the U.S. The Malaysian motorcycle is by our standards a small little 150cc scooter. Any bigger and the taxes go up and the average user cannot afford it. But these little buggers can move and they have the strength of a little mule. Some of the abuses I to these motorcycles I have seen would boggle the mind. I will try to get some photos and download them soon. Dave was going to get a Harley and drive it here in Penang, and I (for the first time in my marriage) put my foot down and said over my dead body!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I have a maid

This may seem like a lame topic, but how did I ever live without Kanti? My Indonesian maid or "amah" in the old Hokkien Chinese, is my best friend. I never realized what a slob I was. Why you ask? Well here is my theory:
As a young girl, my mother used to force us into slave labor on Saturdays, my sister and I would rotate chores each week. I dreaded when it was my turn to do kitchen duty. I had to mop, scrub the stove, and worst of all clean the refrigerator. I mean it had to be dismantled weekly. Shelves removed, every bottle cleaned, every egg dusted you name it. We would not be allowed to go anywhere or make any plans unless our work was done and checked over by my freakishly, complusivlely clean mother. My complaints fell on deaf ears. My mother would always respond..."Do you want to be a pig when you have your own house?" Well guess what mom.... I have a maid now na, na, na, na, naaah.. Here are the facts.

Before Kanti After Kanti

Sheets washed once a month if lucky. Sheets washed weekly (or more).
Floor mopped once a month if lucky. Floor mopped every other day.

Bathroom cleaned once a month if lucky. Bathroom cleaned every day.

Fridge cleaned twice a year if lucky. Fridge cleaned every other day.

Laundry done by Cindy without love. Laundry done by Kanti w/o love.

Cat crap cleaned by me. Cat crap cleaned by Kanti.

Okay so you get the picture. My maid is doing everything for me but bathing me and powdering my bottom. Whew!... this blog is helping me unload years of resentment toward the matriarchal figure of my teens . Don't get me wrong. I would have loved to have been as clean and maticulous as mom when I was my own housekeeper, but thanks to Kanti, I am now the woman of my mom's dreams.