Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jeepney of the week: Barbie Pink

Jeepney antics of the week:

Plant of the week: MIMOSA PUDICA aka Sensitive Plant. It grows everywhere here--if they only knew that in climates like Boise's it is given away to the children of plant-buying mothers at the greenhouse. Bet you never saw it bloom before.

Happy Father's Day from Cebu--

It was a morning of hand shaking and congratulations from many fathers in the ward to Kevin. There were dadtalks, and the youth and single adults of the ward sang. We were recruited last night to help them put their musical numbers together. These are kids who are eager to make music and all they need is someone to steer them. It was my pleasure to help them prepare.

Talk about an amazing week, all due to the visit of a general authority, a flu epidemic and an erupting volcano in Japan. I realize these seem like random factors; well, sort of related in a funny way that I'll share as the week unfolds.

First the general authority. It was mission tour week, and Elder Ko, a member of the area presidency and Second Quorum of Seventy was our visiting authority. His visit has been on the calendar for at least 6 months, and there has been great planning and preparation for "the company that's coming". Our part was relatively simple; see that the office looked ready for company and put together a dinner for 10 for the 2nd night he and his lovely wife Sister Kim were in town.

Elder Ko is Korean so it was logical and pleasing to have a Korean menu for our dinner. We checked out Korean restaurants and even had ideas about what we'd like because we go for Korean fairly regularly, but couldn't get the restauranteurs to think in terms of a small catering event. Next possibility, a lovely fellow in our ward who has a catering business. Rene met with Sister Morgan and I, we expressed our desires and he said he could do it. This was to be held in one of the extendable classrooms at the church--functional but not particularly beautiful or inspiring for a nice meal. We kept asking questions--what about...what about...Rene's response was, "don't worry sisters--it's fine dining." We hadn't tasted his food before, but he assurred us he could pull off a Korean meal, so we went for it.

If I ever exhibit good sense it will include knowing when to delegate instead of trying the superwoman thing. This was one of those victorious moments in my life. All I provided, besides my brain and organization was fresh mango pie.

As you can see, Rene wasn't kidding when he said, "don't worry sisters--it's fine dining."

It was a very pleasing meal for Elder and Sister Ko. They were surprised and delighted to be served their favorite fish and very good kimchee. My take on the meal? Beautiful--pleasing to the Ko's, but nothing I'd exclaim over with joy. What can I say? I'm an inlander and all fish should have bones at least the size of toothpicks. Kevin and I thought you had to work too hard to eat this particular fish, but the Ko's were very pleased.

Check off Tuesday.

Wednesday was supposed to be pick up two incoming missionaries and President and Sister Hansen's daughter and son-in-law from the airport day. Now remember, last week was transfer week, and to have a seamless "dance" we should have gotten all our incoming missionaries then. This transfer was NOT a seamless dance. It was a lurch at best.

It started with a flu epidemic at the Provo MTC. Missionaries were held for an additional week (International travel is carefully watched so individuals with swine flu don't bring it into the country.) It was the week after, and we were on deck to pick up the two sisters when we got a call from Natalie and Seth (Hansen's kids) saying that they were being rerouted to Seoul and they didn't think they would make their connection in Hong Kong. There was no way to find out if they or the sister missionaries were on the flight except to go to the airport. (Why do we have phones anyway?!?)

The real scoop is that there was a volcano erupting in Japan, sending "stuff" up into the air, so planes that would normally land to refuel there had to go to Seoul, wiping out the regular connections.

A funny in all this unforseen flurry was what Kevin termed "Ultra Bread Bowls". I make this bread that proofs for 12 hours before you bake it, which means if I mix it up in the evening I can bake it in the morning. This usually works just fine because I can easily run up stairs to our apartment and stick it in the oven, then go take it out when it's done. Imagine forgetting the bread that's in the oven in all the hubbub about airline unknowns....

When I remembered the baking bread it was well on its way to being petrified bread. We were 45 minutes away from the apartment. This bread bakes at 450 and by the time we returned it had been in the oven for at least a couple of hours. Would my wok be distroyed? Would the apartment be on fire? (That one seemed almost impossible since it's made of cement, but you never know.) There was no smoke when we walked in the door, just a strong toasty fragrance. What a blessing! It could have been yet another chapter in the missionary mis-adventure book for President & Sister Hansen. But at the same time, disappointment! Our good whole wheat bread ruined! We did dig the inside out--man it was a thick crust!. Bread--it's our anti-rice. We must balance the whole asian grain issue somehow.

Toast anyone?

Look! This post is proving that verbosity is one of my weaknesses. Oh brother. Maybe this is processing? Just know that the two sisters were on the flight (they had spent the night in Hong Kong--Salt Lake missionary travel didn't know about it--there were quite a few Outlook emails flying the next day and I got twisted pleasure out of everyone's huffing and puffing over this detail. Especially the email saying they'd be in better control another time. Ha! Ha! Go ahead and be in control of an erupting volcano! All I can say is, the sisters handled the situation well, and we were none the wiser or worse off because of their over nighter in Hong Kong.

Hansen's kids also stayed the night in Hong Kong and flew in on Thursday. Poor Sister Hansen! She was getting a much-anticipated visit from some of her beloved children, albeit in the middle of mission tour with a general authority, and the kids weren't showing up like planned and she couldn't even go take care of it due to her mission responsibilities! Ack!

We took care of all these unforseen details with pleasure--got everyone at the right time to the right place (as much as was in our control--we don't even pretend with items like volcanos!). Hansens are great folks doing a great job on a challenging assignment. They didn't ask for this calling, but are wise, willing and energetic in all aspects. To offer our support is one way WE can magnify our calling.

We were a little tired on Friday.

Saturday we drove up the mountain and walked through a hmmm---nature preserve? It was a 1.5 Km walk, mostly through shady tropical forest with educational signage from time to time telling about the flora and fauna, as well as the ecological condition of the area. I'm delighted to find SOMEONE caring that the Philippines are one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. I fretted about this before we came, but seeing so many people just trying to put food on the table--I see both sides now. Hopefully those who understand the environmental impact of deforestation and water pollution will turn the tide before it's too late.

Here are some pictures from our Saturday City Respite:

This was taken from a little look out tower on the edge of the nature preserve. It was quiet and there was a breeze. All we needed was some good food and a pillow for a nap. We're getting pretty good at taking pictures of ourselves, eh? This one's for you, Justin.

Wouldn't you agree that nature creates the best sun protection?

I know, I know--you've seen us once and that's probably enough, but our grandkids want more pictures of Grandpa and Grammi in the blog.

A couple of pictures from our mountain climb last week. Yes, all that moisture on Kevin's shirt is his own sweat! I'm soaked too, you just can't see it.

These fellows were walking down the side of the highway when we stopped for a minute to see Jesusa (this always means a new plant or two for me--Kevin is very indulgant and patient). Most Filipinos like getting their picture taken.

Every week I think, "this was a normal week--not much to share in the blog". And see what comes rolling forth. You are in our thoughts and prayers; thanks for keeping us in your same place. Blessings on your week, Elder and Sister Reed in Cebu.