Sunday, December 26, 2010

God bless the eskimo

An eskimo village in Alaska.  I bet they used everyone in town.  No Sarah Palin in sight!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Snowy Day

new LDS Temple being built
Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great Reindeer Cookie Off

Time for the Anderson/Allison Reindeer Cookie Off.  Our beloved version of the judge David Hassellhoff was sick in the bed this year (aka Poppa Joe) so we had some guest judges fill in.  Here are the finalists:

Honorable Mentions:
Grave yard

La Bria Tar Pits

Old School Reindeer with fancy horns


4th Place:
Big Nose Face by Tom

3rd Place:
Two Seasons by Jennifer

2nd Place (well deserved since I was talking
smack to everyone that mine would win and
I tried to suck up to the judge) Val:

Frosty the Snowman

1st place:  Seth
Die Frosty Die
(inspired by the 2nd place winner)

Fresh homemade bread slathered in butter
....everyone won with this  :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Digital Nativity

Thanks for the link, Dave.

If you have spent time with teens, you know this may have been a way this would have gone down.
Merry Christmas
Love you

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Perfect Gift

You lookin' for the PER-FECT gift for Mr. Fun?

Two words.  Well, sort of two words. 


What is MORE American than a chicken sandwich?  I didn't see any in China.  I didn't see any in Sweden.  See what I mean....American.

I wish there had been some in Ireland.  We almost starved to death in Ireland.  That is why they are going fast food restaurants.

Mr. Fun is ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL about Chick Fil A.

Too bad he is married to a heartless non-risk taker
who would not allow him to quit his perfectly sound, benefits included,
paid-every-two-weeks-by-auto-deposit job
 so that he could start his own franchise....his dream.
Man, that Val sucks.

real chicken.  real grease.  real good.

The day he wore this shirt to the restuarant, he
got a free lunch, his picture with the cow,
and all the employees were called to the front counter to see
the said shirt.  No joke.

The shocking piece of all of this is he is not alone.

There are so many Chick-fil-A fans, someone
wrote a song.  :)  I wonder how Paul McCartney feels
 about a good old American chicken sandwich?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kansas goes high tech

Poor little Kansas (the state, not the 70's band).

They get a lot of flack, which I think is directly related to being flat.  It does have some rolling hills and a couple trees here and there.  I have seen them.

What I haven't seen is the World's Largest Ball of Twine...home:  Kansas.

I cannot tell you how many times we have been asked "How is Kansas?" when our buddies call from around the country.  "I don't know" is my standard reply.  "I live in Missouri" (insert their sheepish embarrassment here).  Get a map, friends.

Since I am like a resident of Kansas in most of my loved ones minds, I feel a kinship to them.

One thing I know about Kansas, besides being the butt of many mid-west jokes (like Iowa has much room to talk....and Nebraska....what you talkin' about?)  I know that many Kansans LOVE them some Jayhawks.

This is the mascot of the area University. 

There is a big rivalry between Missouri and Kansas, which I could care less about, not being a local and all. 

But I do think the locals would be sad to find out that even though the government recognizes they are two separate states, the rest of America does not.  Don't tell them...I don't want to upset them before the holidays.

You don't have to be a fan to know the phrase "Rock Chalk" which is a term the KU fans love.  I don't know what it means, how it came to be, or anything interesting like that.  I do know it is like the Kansas call.  Like a homing device that most loyal fans know and can chant.

Mr. Fun sent this on to me in the spirit of the holidays:

Think Trans-Siberian Orchestra--Kansas Style.

Happy holidays from the Midwest.  :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

God bless the Flashcard

See these buildings down here? 

This is the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for my church.  The place where Mormon (LDS) Church missionary volunteers go to learn how to be missionaries and teach people about Jesus, perhaps learn 6 years of foreign language in 8 weeks, and eat waaaaaay too much Captain Crunch cereal. 

In 1990, someone at one of those desks in one of those buildings changed the course of my academic life.  Mine, and my children.  Even before they were children.

I went on a volunteer mission to Portugal, the Canary Islands actually, off the coast of Western Africa. 

Of course, being a simple girl from Alaska (the Old Alaska, before it became the sole property of Sarah Palin), I didn't know much Portuguese language. 

Ok.  How about none.  Zip.  Nada (which is spanish).  I didn't even know a Portuguese person.  Not too many of those interested to come to Soldotna for King Salmon fishing or hanging out at the Dairy Queen.

Sooooo, needless to say when I got to the MTC, I struggled.  I floundered (or halibuted if you are from Homer (inside Old Alaska joke)).  I did my best to learn the language. 

And I failed.

I carried my dictionary around everywhere.  I carried my properly conjugated verb card that included all the perfect tenses of the words "domir" (to sleep) and more importantly "comir" (to eat). 

No luck. 

I prayed.  I fasted.  I even dreamed in Portuguese in my sleep, but no luck.  I could not remember the words. I couldn't do it.

I was a MTC flunky. 

Me, and the boy in my group who was failing worse than me.  Man, he sucked at Portuguese.  Which actually he had good reason.  His mother was German and he could barely speak English as a native language.  So, with his perfectly good excuse in hand, I was the worst of the group.

So, fortunately for me, the MTC decided that God's mission call for me to go to Portugal wasn't a mistake and they had something that could help me.   Meet the Learning Center.

I went to the MLC (missionary learning center--translation:  Foreign language learning for Dummies) and was "tested."  It was embarrassing for me.  I had never struggled with school (well, there is that whole subject debacle called Math--but sheesh, I am a Recreation major, who needs to know more math than "My streamer and party favors budget is $25.00"....?). 

If the Lord wants a humble people, he had one that day.  I was embarrassingly humbled.   I mean they didn't even send the German Mothered Boy to the MLC. 

So, I took my test and figured they were going to take away my mission call ticket to Portugal and exchange it for one for one a little closer to Idaho. I could remember most of the words they spoke there.

The nice lady in one of those buildings sat me down and said basically the following:  You are struggling. We are actually surprised how "highly intelligent" you are (they did say that phrase I remember...and by the way, what the heck was she trying to say?) (apparently they had seen me try to speak the Portuguese).  You seem to have some sort of block when learning information that has to be repeated.  But we have the answer for you.

Meet "The Flashcard." 

Flashcards?  Weren't those from kindergarten when we were learning our letters?  Weren't those from third grade when we were learning our times tables? 

Did people who had achieved my height use flashcards?  Where would I find Portuguese ones? I asked.  "Oh, you can't buy them.  You will have to make them.  Yourself.  All of them, for the whole Portuguese language." 

And good luck with that.

Sure enough, that language woman, Sister DeBois (can you believe I can remember her name after 20 years but I couldn't remember a simple phrase like "Where do I buy the delicious ice cream?") was right.  :)

I did what they said and sure enough, it worked.  I knew where all the delicious ice cream in Funchal was...thanks to the Flashcard.

When I got home from my mission, and started back into school, I had my secret academic weapon.

And it worked.  I not only knew where all the ice cream stores in Logan where (I could remember the words for asking that important question ) but I also graduated from college with honors (thanks Mr. Flashcard).

Fast foward twenty years.  Look what I found on my kitchen table yesterday.
The Boy's science cards

The Girl's cards for one class

It is Finals Week in Andersonville and I really never thought about it until I saw them all strewn about yesterday.

I accidentally taught the kiddos to love flash cards too.

One, my kids are "highly intelligent" but have the same sort of freakish block to retaining information.

Two, I should have bought a serious amount of stock in the index card market 20 years ago.

Thanks Sister DeBois and "donde está o gelado reserva?"  :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Human Rights Day

In honor of the true day recognized universally since 1948 (not in January for a three-day weekend)

December 10 is Human Rights Day.  Defined as "respect for human rights is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

This is one of my favorite quotes:

"I promised my God I would do it."  Abraham Lincoln's journal entry on the day he issued the Emancipation Proclaimation.

Many live in slavery, even if you don't see their chains or shackles.

Loneliness.  Poverty.  Abuse.  Even the slavery of just good old fashioned bad choices.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday December 5th--International Day of the Volunteer

Happy International Volunteer Day as established by the United Nations.

Their goal is to encourage people to contribute locally or internationally to a economic development program or start one of their own. 

I do not fancy myself a business person. 

I do not like dealing with money.  Asking for money.  Getting money.  I sure don't mind giving it away.  That I don't mind.  :)  Actually, I am very good at giving away Mr. Fun's money as Dave says since I haven't held a "real job" in almost 20 years (which may I add isn't doing anything to help my social security account with the government...although that doesn' really matter since a SS agent herself told me in person there will be no money left when my time comes anyway). 

I dislike doing fundraising so much as a matter of fact that I wouldn't even sell our team Little League BBQ tickets as a kid at the local post office or Pay and Save store.  It just isn't in me.

But this week, as you know, some ladies and I basically started a US Chapter of raising donations for the widows of India.  Our own little economic development program.  :) If I am understanding right, we have garnered up $850 these past few days.

Photograph by Deanna Quinton, photographer extraordinaire
(mr. fun's cousin)

Since I have been quite young (I have been visiting the reasons in my mind the last several weeks) I have always had some sort of yearning to serve the poor.  Poor in heart.  Poor in the world.  Bring some sort of stability of sorts I guess for a moment.  I am still figuring it out.

The bottom line there are millions of places to give your money and time.  There is a great quote once I heard from a church leader that said "We are not asking everyone to do everything.  We are asking everyone to do something."

Whatever your "something" is, may you invest in it fully with your heart and mind.  With love.

Another great shot by Deanna Quinton

For me, for now, my heart has led me to the ladies in white in India.  God bless us, everyone.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: Ron and his veteran funerals

Speaking of honoring soldiers properly....

Ron has attended 888 veteran's funerals in the last couple years.

His goal is 1,000.

If you didn't know him, you would think it would be sort of morbid to attend 888 funerals of people you don't know.  Especially while battling cancer.

Ron in a special volunteer veterans group.  A retired military honor guard of sorts.   This guard unit volunteers their time, gas, miles, and energy to attend every veteran funeral that they can to pay special military respects to the deceased.

For his untiring dedication, he was awarded the United States Presidential Citation for Service today.  :)

Good luck Ron.  Only 112 to go.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Indian Widow Project--Its time has come

I have SO much to say and on my mind that is suprisingly NOT related to illness of Tom or the Boy. 

It is about widows and empowering them.

I will write the tale for another day (two years in the making), but yesterday is the day that me and few amazing ladies went "live" with our idea.  And I think it will work.

We started an arm to a project in Calcutta, India called the India Widow Project.

Read all about it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: The folks of Harrisonville play Hell's Angels for a day

I have heard of Harrisonville because I have had kids come to my leadership academy from there.  It is a small town here in Missouri. 

I can't tell you about it's greatest landmark. 

I can't tell you it's main economic contributor. 

And I can't tell you even what direction it is from my house.

But what I can tell you is that those folks are cool.

Last week, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, while I was hustling and bustling in search of the all-powerful cranberry sauce, the folks in Harrisonville were standing in line.  A long line.  A very long line. 

A line of between 2,000 and 3,000 people.  Men, women and children.  And frankly it wasn't just Harrison folks...some people drove from 3 or 4 counties away to stand.  Kids got out of school to stand.

If you are from or know life in a small town, it makes you proud.  It is what we do.

You have probably heard, no matter where you live in the United States about the minister, aka Wing Nut as Lori would say, Fred Phelps and his family church from Kansas, who are famous for (besides just being plain stupid) protesting military funerals. 

Speak his name here, and you will get an instant reaction.

We live down the street a bit from a funeral home.  You can always tell when a military funeral is about to be held.  It isnt' just the flags that are flying in reverance that gives it away.

It is the Hell's Angels in line as well. 

The Hell's Angels, known as the Patriot Guard Riders, attend as many military funerals around here as possible, just in case Fred and family decide to show.  If you don't know about Fred's antics, you can look him up on your own time.  I wouldn't want to share his antics here.

These 3,000 folks came out to line the street of the funeral procession so that the Fred family would not have a space within 1/3 mile of the church so the family, laying their son to rest, wouldn't have to hear the protesting during the funeral.  As a matter of fact, Fred's family did show and was basically overwhelmed and gave up.  They were gone before the family arrived. 

Hooray for solidarity!

Army Captain Jacob R. Carver, age 20, was a member of the Freeman Airborne Divisionand was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

Rest in peace, Captain Carver.  Three thousand folks have your back, soldier.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Do you see what I see?

Wanna take a tour of the views from some of my days?

Sunday afternoon in Andersonville...for real

All taken at the same day and time

The view from my windows:
The computer space

The back yard

Pulling into the driveway

From the kitchen counter

Out and about:
After some yummy chinese, you are
welcome to some candy/mints, or of course
the all natural cheese balls you
scoop out into your hand....?
at the public library

Look at the size of this thing...
there is only ONE man I know that could
handle all this brother

My nemesis:  The dropped fall leaves

This is what my yard should look like:

This is reality:

Last, but not least:
Views of the folks in the house
What The Girl wears when she
plays her dancing video game...sorry Girl
you are now ratted out.

My dad and The Girl's hands

Me, the most popular person in the house...
everyone wants food from me.  :)

Side note:  I don't really own four cats.
Two are here until we find a nice home for them.
Anyone wants some cats?  :)