Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hagues In My House

I love this pool so much. And I love these girls so much. I love Rylee, too, even though she is not in this picture. Did I ever mention that it is a salt water pool? My skin loves it.
It is really difficult to get kids to stop having fun so I can take their picture.
But isn't this picture absolutely adorable!?
Then it was like, "Pleeease. Let this be over!"
Twins! And Porter, who will not let me cut his hair.
We had so much fun swimming. Then used the free pizza cards from Kate for dinner. I surprised the kids with Winchell's donuts (remember that place?), and we watched the Boxtrolls.
I'm so glad we met this family. They have been such a blessing to us in just the short time we have known them.
Here's our house in the day time.
I didn't take pics, but there are 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs. And a laundry chute which, so far, has not had any humans passed down it.
Nice and roomy for a condo.
Here's our unit. They're privately owned. I would love to own one.

Table for seven.

Walking to the pool.

The lady in this unit has a beautiful container garden all the way around her house. Some people have trees in containers. Even banana trees! With fruit!

This is a great basketball court. So great that neighborhood kids come play in the evenings. Morgan used to play with me until I instituted "rules". The pool is inside that black fence. There is a little guard shack at the entrance to the complex and full time guard on duty.
Pretty nice, eh?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I've Been Given the Yellow Slip

Well, this is a lovely surprise! We got a box from Shanelle! It's a birthday box. Crap, I just remembered my promise that I was done blogging about birthdays. Sorry! Okay, consider this just a special thanks to Shanelle. 

You can stop reading at this point.
I don't know what is the deal with this image. I have tried everything and cannot get it to not be on this blogger upside down! I just want to swear!

I have a son-in-law. It's so weird.
And a son on a mission. 

How blessed I am!

Thanks, Shay! You are a wonderful dotter!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just Watched~ The Help

This is a well done movie.

So, I took a class on the constitution once and I kid you not, there was a fellow in there who said he read a book because Pres. Obama recommended it. Did you guess? The book was titled "The Help."

He didn't vote for Pres. Obama, but he felt like, since he needed to support our president, whomever he may be, he ought to read this book to gain a little insight on our new prez. Well, he gained more insight than he had planned. He said that prior to reading this book, he had no idea what it was like for black people in this country. (This gentleman was in his 60s) His father was apparently quite bigoted and he said reading this book was a real eye opener for him. I was shocked. He had never thought of it from their point of view.

I do not understand how a person can grow up in this world and not be "aware" of what it is like to be discriminated, abused, persecuted, and even killed because the color of your skin is different. Even if you grow up in a fantastic family in a small rural area, you have a conscience. You know what it feels like to love and be hurt. You know it's true. Every single person has experienced some moment of unkindness some time in his or her life.

Most people in the world probably aren't aware of how badly the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were treated. There was intense hatred. There were mobs. There was abuse, not just against men- like was had in war in those days, you were gentlemen, you fought like gentlemen- but angry mobs of men gave in to the darkness that influenced them to slaughter not just the men, but also the women and children.

This man grew up as a member of the church, hearing the stories of his pioneer heritage. He felt his heart pricked as he learned of the people who kept their faith in God throughout the unjust maliciousness against his ancestors. Is it safe to suppose that he sometimes placed himself mentally in the shoes of those men who witnessed their families slaughtered?

What is it that occurs to us when we place ourselves in the shoes of other people? If he ever did so respecting the pioneer saints, I know that he wondered, "Why would a person ever feel justified in such hatred against another because of their faith in God?"

Did he never wonder that same question when he read the text books in school about slavery?
"Nobody ever asked me what it feels like to be me."

People choose their beliefs. I believe that people who stay true to God even in the face of being  persecuted because of their faith in God will be rewarded.

People do not choose the color of their skin. How much more will God reward a people who stay true to Him even in the face of such a senseless hate as racist bigotry?

I don't know what it is about human beings that causes us to grow out of our innocence as we age and develop the ability to spill our conscience here and there, and a little here, and definitely over there, but then ---RIGHT HERE--- the conscience is tamped down. Compassion? None. Love? Nil.

How grateful I am for that ONE source of perfect love from someone who actually HAS been in my shoes. I don't understand everything, but miracles can never be explained to our limited human understanding.

I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is His Son. I know that my Savior is my Savior because of the miracle of the atonement which allowed him to be in my exact shoes. And because he knows me perfectly, he can judge me perfectly.

I'm grateful that I don't have to be anyone's judge. All I have to do is to emulate that ONE source of perfect love.

In the name of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

If you want to laugh, fume, and cry all within 146 minutes, pop some popcorn. Watch The Help. C'mon!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mangoes, Words, and Quotas

Remember the days before internet? What did we DO? How did we function? When my oldest daughter was working on her bachelor's, on one of her visits home she asked,"How did people do college before the Internet?" 

"Big books," I answered. And lots of time. 

There is no doubt in my mind how some of the most influential humans were created. You know the generic list: Good ol' Abe,  Einstein, Benny of the $100 bill, MLK, Jr. I'm sure five different people would create five different lists.

Now, I'm going to share another patience developing experience we had to go through with our new life here on Guam. I would like to point out that when I write these experiences, it may seem like I'm complaining, and perhaps it is a bit of that. Honestly, though, I want everyone to know that I never expected to come here and have Guam change for me. I'm just  sharing my new experiences and observations.  

I have lived my entire adult life in the U.S. How could I ever have realized how comfortable I had become? Life in America makes people expect things to be done easily and in a timely manner. I find myself wondering how my daughter's earth-roaming college friends adjusted so easily to having floor holes for toilets, eating nothing but rice and beans, or being almost killed by the water they drank. Not that we've suffered anything at all like that!

So, here it is. 

Since we got our phones with Docomo, I called them first to inquire about adding internet. All was going fine untiiiiiiiiil the chic remembered that they have a data cap. I just about choked on the dried mango I was chewing. Just kidding, but this would have been a perfect milk spraying moment.

Data cap? My mind tried to turn that into something other than "You've surpassed your quota of internet data and are now being charged by the MINUTE for everything you're doing."

No go. She was completely serious. She asked what we would be doing on the internet. I told her about Netflix and three to five people using personal devices at a time. She said if we watched one movie every night, about halfway through the month we will have used up all our data. My stress level was high at this point and I tried to make sure she knew it wasn't directed at her. I thanked her and went to the husband to unload. 

I decided to call GTA and the first question was about data cap. They did not have one! I made her tell me again like, three times. 

When we decided to go with GTA, it was, once again, a much different experience than in the U.S.

We had to go into the office. We had to be signed in to a waiting list and wait for our name to be called. I had enough time to read an entire newspaper from the base which, I am shocked, contained ad photos that would make any decent person blush. 

When we finally sat with John, a very friendly and respectful young man who didn't have any lingering accent from his country of origin, he quoted a price which I then counteracted with the quote I had received on the phone. He had to leave, then returned saying he had mistakenly quoted from the business pricing. Okay. No biggie. 

Out came lots of paperwork, including personal references not living with us, AND drawing a simple map of where we lived. (I had to do this for water, too, and the deposit for power was $400!!! How have ALL the people we've worked and spoken with neglected that little gem?!)

Then, he left again to copy a driver's license and get us a modem/router unit. For which I am thankful, because on the phone I was told we would have to purchase our own router. 

Once he had us completely tucked into the system, his fingers danced on the keyboard to schedule a hookup date. His face said, "This looks bad," before his mouth said,"The soonest we can get you hooked up is [two and a half weeks from then]." 

I think Jake and I BOTH choked on dried mango, and John actually jumped in his seat. 

Are you beginning to understand why people have told us that living here is a practice in patience?

Soooo, back to my original question. Remember the days before internet? Two and a half weeks can give you such a crick in the neck. I read more, sure. I went night swimming.  We did have the office's wifi over by the pool using picnic tables that tried their very best to be comfortable.  

I did NOT become a self-made lawyer and orator like Abraham Lincoln. I did not allow any curiosities to become incessive and thusly create theories about energy. I did not write inspired documents about freedom from government. 

Why? (I mean, BESIDES the fact that I'm not a genius nor am I foreordained to be a big player in the Plan of Salvation.) 

It's because there are SO MANY ways to entertain myself and SO MUCH time to do it. I don't have to work the fields, chop the wood, weave the cloth, milk the cows, and churn the butter. Then, gather my few saved coins and hope the book store in town will have a book I've never read that I can afford. 

So, Mr. Two-And-Half-Weeks, what have you to report?

Mostly, I played word games. 

My previous high score on this game was 2,000,000. 
See that? Five million!
Six! Unheard of! Unthinkable!
There it is folks. My shining trophy of time without the Internet.

Oh, and Jake doesn't eat mango in real life. That's why writing is so fun. We can make people do whatever we want them to. Ha. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ritidian Beach

One day, all the kids in the whole ward were invited to the Hagues for a sort of birthday celebration. Kate said that Jake and I were welcome to come, or if we wanted we could have some adult time. Knowing how much Jake loves socializing and "hanging out", I took her up on her offer.

So, I suggested to my guy that we go check out Ritidian beach which is the north end of the island. It is actually a wildlife preserve and is surrounded by Anderson Air Force Base.

There is a dirt (sand) road traveling south parallel to the beach. The trees create a canopy over the road and with the sunlight coming through the green, it is SO neat. This picture does NOT represent how beautiful it really is.
We saw this sign, and jumped out of the car to walk the path to see what we thought would be ruins of an old church based on the posters displayed in the parking lot.
The path was not very long and then, there was the beach.
So, I looked all around trying to see how we missed it. This is the sign on the other end of the walkway.
Then, we got distracted by this sight.
So many different shades of blue.
I never get tired of watching the ocean. We do not know what these concrete blocks were for. There must have been something built out over the water.
Opposite the beach is this little beauty.
Don't worry, Sam, I will be borrowing your hat back to you soon.
When we finally were able to break our eyes from the water we walked along the sand. Every step I took, numbers of hermit crabs would take off in their awkward way.
Then, I saw some tiny thing ZIP across the surface of the sand. And I do mean zip! As fast as you can move your hand is how fast this crab was.

Can you see it in the picture? From side to side, including his legs, he's as wide as my thumb knuckle. TinY!
As I was deleting photos from my phone so I could take more, an Asian man and his three kids approached my location. He asked, "What you looking for?" I told him I was just deleting photos.

He and his kids just stayed right there seeing what they could see, and then the dad shows me this crab. It was the biggest one I'd seen, so I took a picture.

When Jake came back to where we were, he had been collecting some really cool shells. This beach does not get very combed over compared to Ypoa beach, where a lot of people go to snorkel or have get togethers.
As we slowly made our way back to the car, I spotted two HUGE crabs lumbering away from our steps. Okay, they're not Alaskan crab big, but of the hermit crabs that litter the beach, this guy is like the pro-wrestler.
 The bigger ones do not shy away into their shells. He was going to do whatever needed to be done to get me to let go of his house.

He came out so far, I could see his underwear! His eyes just crack me up.
Jake showed the kids. They were actually putting crabs into their water bottles. I don't know what their dad's plan was there.

The kids' dad asked if we could "take picture all together." Thinking he wanted me to take a picture of him with his kids, I put out my hand for his camera. What he actually wanted was for me and Jake to be in the picture with his kids. Well, okay!
Isn't this cool? We found it just like this.
Coley thought maybe it makes a word.
I don't know the name of this tree but I find it attractive.
Here is the path for the Spanish Historic Site.
Here is the only thing on that path that has anything to do with it. I felt pretty let down.
The wildlife preserve has this fence around it, but the other land along the road has signs that say there is always active hunting going on. That seems a little dangerous being so close to the road. What do they hunt for, and how can people get through that jungle? You cannot walk through it standing up!
This is the lookout before you drop down to the beach.

On the land side of the beach access road there is a hiking trail that leads through the jungle. The map at the parking lot says there are latte stones and caves. I will be going back to check that out!
Jake nearly walked into this. He was eating a wasp. The spider, not Jake. And then, my camera died.

Here's our beach booty from Ritidian!