Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wanna take a field trip? Let's go buy some goat

I like to think of it like a foreign exchange program, administered by God.
The LDS people are notorious "helpers."  It is how we are wired. 

Moving?  No worries!  You ask us to bring a guy or two to help, we bring 12.

Sick?  No worries!  The LDS women can COOOOOK.  If word is out you are sick, they "bring in meals."  My father calls it "Mormon Take Out."

Homeless?  No worries!  Ask the Andersons.  They have a spare room (with a door now-a-days for those who have stayed in the basement on the day bed door less) waiting just for you!

That is how this family of Africans showed up in the early morning hours on a Monday morning last month from Utah.  You can read about the mother, Leah, in an earlier blog.

Leah, the girl with Leah, the cat
Chadrak...in his Hannah Montana wrap

Baby Meshak

Perhaps it is the timing.  I already had others guests--in the guest room.  Tiel and his sister-in-law, Morgan.  Tiel, a bestie and our favorite Eskimo, was visiting from Alaska.  So not only did the Africans cut into my visit with Tiel and Morgan, but they also cut into my bed space. 

We were getting house siding estimates.  So one morning, I had Tiel, Leah and the children, The Boy, Morgan, me, four other Africans and the siding estimator, a Slovak named John something or other.  I wrote on the Facebook my house was the Western branch of the UN. 

And I wasn't kidding.

So in the middle of all of that, Leah was "jonesing" for some goat meat. 

Yeah, that kind of goat.

Ummm, goat?  I say.  Can't really help you, Leah.  Kansas City IS the red meat capital of the United States but of a different domesticated animal...(right state, wrong meat). 

Nope, she says.  There is an African food store in the city.  (How does someone who has been in town a few days and barely speaks the language know that?)  Sister Anderson, will you take me? 

So, we packed up the babies and off we went.  You know I love an adventure!

Who knew there were TWO African food stores in the city?  One is located here (look carefully, it is disguised as a Mexican hot spot)

The other store is located here:

Yep, next to the gay bar for buddies.

Well, you know the camera in the purse found its way out into my hand.  The store was tiny and squished FULL of stuff.  Like one of those hoarder shows.  But since I knew you were DYING to see the inside of the African market, I risked life and limb to bring you these contraband pictures.

The produce section

This is the best picture.  After I took it, the woman working at the store LITERALLY started screaming at me.  "Why are you taking pictures?!  Did you ask me?!  Never again take pictures without asking me!" 

I was mortified.  I must have turn three shades of red...which of course was noticeable since I was the only white person in the store.  And the only American.

This may surprise you, but the first thing I thought was "Hey, wait a minute.  You are in America.  You own a business in America.  You are a guest in my country. A simple "Please, we don't allow photographs" would have sufficed.  Or "Thanks for letting me move here and live the capitalistic dream by supporting me by buying some goat meat."  It felt like I was being called out in my own house.

Leah seemed completely unfazed by the screaming and carried on with her goat meat shopping. 

Well, you know me.  I am like an embedded journalist in the war of everyday life, so I had to silently decline their offer to let me ask them to take more.

Leah said all this rice was the worthless kind

Nope, I have no idea what Ugu Leaves are.
Read you can use them in spaghetti.

Need a new spring outfit?
Or perhaps a new hair weave for your spring look

I rented Fearless Woman 2...of course  :)
from the Ghanaian section of the African Redbox

Let's just say the whole experience was interesting and unexpected.  I apologized to the Screaming Woman for taking a picture of the vegetables without permission.   How ever, I did not apologize for all the other pictures I took without her permission.  She was so touched by my graciousness that she was even kind enough to wipe the mouse droppings off the bag of rice Leah was buying.  For reals.

That unexpected experience was not half as unexpected as the stench that fried goat meat has.

Let me just say that if you know The Girl and The Boy, you know that it must have been really really bad if they chose to go outside and play in 40* weather rather than stay in the house. 

It was that bad.

But in the end, the Africans ate goat and were happy.  They moved out last week, thus bringing an end to our foreign exchange stint. 

Until next time.

I am tired and not feeling well....does anyone have any Mormon Take Out?  :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Notes to the "New Guy"

Kansas City, Missouri

March 26, 2011

Angel Moroni
LDS Church
7001 Searcy Creek Parkway
Kansas City, MO

Dear Brother Angel Moroni:

This week in 8th grade english class, The Boy has to practice writing a business letter.  It seemed only fitting since you are the "new guy" (as Dave says) in town that I should drop you a note to let you know about the area.  Sort of a "Welcome to Zion" pack.  :)  You know the kind...the one you get with change of address post cards and the 10% discount coupon from the Lowe's home building store.

It was merely a coincidence that I was at the temple shooting some sunset shots the other evening when you got into town. 

I was the only one there when you got to your resting place, so I feel some sort of strange connection to you now.  A responsibility of sorts to make sure you were settled and comfy.  Just so you know, I have experience of helping others to get settled in a new home.  Just this month, for example, we had an African family with us for three, very long, super frustrating weeks.  We were thrilled when they moved out last week and I have to admit, I was just thrilled to see you move out of your coffin-looking box and into your new space as well. 

Although, I am sure was thrilled about each for different reasons.  :) 

Missouri is the home of some crazy weather, just so you know.  The saying is "if you don't like the weather right now, wait five minutes."  I know all places think their weather is annoying, but really, these folks mean it.  Justifiably so.  We live in Tornado Alley, which could not really be comforting for you in your line of work.  Especially because just a few years ago a tornado took out the entire subdivision exactly west of you.  I mean as in the "next-off-ramp-off-the-freeway-over" west of you. I hope you have a sweater packed under those flowing robes of yours. 
I saw that you have a big support/grounding rod.  Also, that grounding copper wire will come in handy, as pointed out by my dying Master Electrician friend, Tom.  He said when he saw you "You know Moroni is gonna get cooked, right?"  I don't want to worry you.  I am sure the buddies who made you did their weathery homework.  Just giving you a heads up that you are well-protected.

You might have noticed there were a lot of folks interested in your first day on the job.  Folks parking all over the grounds.  Folks climbing on the retaining wall to see, folks on the ground wearing Sunday dress, construction workers, and media.  I know that you must have noticed.  More wanted to attend, but there was some talk that it would a traffic nightmare, so many stayed away.  If you figure there are only about 120 of you on temples around the world, so the "setting of Moroni" doesn't happen very often.  I read in the paper there was cheering and joy when you were set.  That surprised me because I was one of those on the retaining wall, and there was no cheering where I was.  People were quiet and no one talked during the placement.  I didn't even notice the traffic on the freeway behind me.  Everyone was lost in their own "Moroni" moment.  I even stood off a little alone so that I could have my own quiet memory.

You are sort of like a rock star in the LDS world, which has always made me smile.  Why? you ask.  Well, the first Angel Moroni was designed and made by a NON-Mormon in Salt Lake City named Cyrus Dallin.  It is ironic to me that if the LDS Church had a iconic symbol if would probably be the statue of you, and it was invented by a non member.  For some strange  reason I love that.  :) 

One more thing about Cyrus Dallin.  Your design is NOT his first piece of statue work here in Kansas City.  He has another...famous to this area.  It is called "The Scout."  Ever seen it? 

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The Scout was conceived in 1915 by Cyrus E. Dallin (1861-1944) for the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, where it won a gold medal. On its way back east, the statue was exhibited on a temporary basis in Penn Valley Park. The statue was so well received that $15,000 was raised in nickels and dimes through a campaign called The Kids of Kansas City. The statue was dedicated in 1922 as a permanent memorial to local Indian tribes.

Speaking of Wikipedia, your picture will be going up on the Kansas City Temple Wikipedia page soon.  I was contacted by the guy doing the page and he wants to share you with the world.  I hope you don't mind.  I didn't get you to sign a media release, but since you are a statue, I figure you wouldn't.

Speaking of the internet, we have been plastering your imagine all over it.  My friend and I work on a blog together that she is the master of called The Kansas City Temple Chaser.  I have written about my role with her so you can read that in an earlier blog post, but I shoot most of the photographs for it.  She edited one I sent the other day and it is the new blog header.  I think you will like it.  The last day or two alone there have been almost 1,000 hits on it, so many people have had the chance to see you at work.  It is humbling since I am just a regular old person with a regular old camera, but in 2008 a church leader gave a talk about the value of sharing our faith over the internet with social media.  It is fun to be a part of not only Cheryl's story, but to share your story as well.  Would you like to see how great you look?  She is a great photo editor.

Here is the original...unedited

Moroni, while watching you settle into your new home and seeing the construction of the temple is interesting and exciting for the folks around here, Mr. Fun said it best to me in an email yesterday. "In reality, it is more important that they go when it is open, not when it is under construction."  He is right.  Temples are places where LDS folks can get married for eternity.  Temples are like a sacred, quiet place (no kids allowed...already a win in my worshipping book--no noise) for a person to pray, meditate and ponder.  It is peaceful.  For many, it is like their spiritual home away from home.

Welcome home, Brother Angel Moroni.  We are thrilled to have you and wish you many good years of service to us.  By the way, speaking of "cooked Moroni", I accidently found one.  This is a great link for you to check out more info of your history and why you are on the temple:


Sister Val
ps/  I am keeping the Lowe's discount card.  Figured you won't be needing it.  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bob the Builder Award: A Scottish boy and his dog

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant/WorldProfit.com

This is a story of colleagues… and friendship.

It is a story of love and of a bond that transcends death itself.

It is a story which, such being the way of good stories, takes you, by the powerful chords of memory, from this story…. to your story, for you, I know, have such a story, too, though it may not have tugged at your heart for a long while.

This is the story, then, of Liam and Theo, and you’ll be glad to know it.

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was a dog handler with the British Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

Theo was his dog.

They were well known in Afghanistan, together day and night. People in Afghanistan, who have so little to smile about, could not help but smile when Theo, irrepressible, running ahead, playing hide and seek was around. Theo made them happy, in the ways that dogs have long since perfected. They liked him… after all he was risking his life every day for them… and they appreciated that.

The people appreciated Liam Tasker, too. Just 26, a Scotsman, and proud of it, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, Liam was someone who didn’t have to go to Afghanistan. However, he had two loves… soldiering and dogs. In the army he got both; if Afghanstan was the destination, so be it.

Their partnership

Liam and Theo had one of the most dangerous jobs of all… searching for explosives, the instruments of disfigurement and death with which Afghanistan is littered, and from which the people will suffer for years to come, so numerous are they and so lethal.

It was Liam and Theo’s job to find these explosives and render them, instruments of sudden death and mayhem, harmless. It was serious, demanding work, and they were did it well. Theo, in fact, was something of a star; he had already drawn praise from Ministry of Defense officials for detecting 14 hidden bombs and weapons caches in just five months on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. Theo’s success meant this 22-month-old Springer spaniel got the privilege of staying in dangerous Afghanistan another month.

But the bond between Theo and Liam went far beyond their professional association. As was obvious to all, they liked each other. It’s the kind of thing even the least perceptive can see. They were buddies… pals… always the best of friends. And, being young, with energy to spare, they were not above mischief and hijinks, showing off for each other, egging the other on. Thus, they passed their time in perilous Afghanistan, saving lives, enjoying each other’s company.

March 1, 2011

This began as a day like all days in the dangerous war zone that passes for brutalized Afghanistan… but in short order it became a day like no other , for both Liam and Theo.

L/Cpl Tasker suffered fatal injuries in a fight with the Taliban in Helmand Province while he and Theo were searching for explosives. .

Immediately, Theo knew something was very,very wrong. Liam was lying in the dust of Afghanistan, dead… Theo, hysterical, was taken back to Camp Bastion, the main British military base. There he could not be comforted.

Just three hours later, Theo, confused, agitated, alone, his friend Liam gone, died of a fatal seizure brought on by stress.

Now it was Liam who had gone before, while Theo rushed to catch up, death together infinitely preferable to life alone.

This story touched the heart of a great nation, for the British are a by word for loving animals of every kind. They each had their special thought that day… for Liam and Theo, of course, but also for the pet they had loved, who had most certainly loved them, too.

Liam and Theo come home…

On March 10, 2011, hundreds of mourners lined the main street through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett. Liam and Theo were coming home, and everyday people had come, with their dogs and other pets, to say good-bye.

A dozen police and Prison Service dogs made their official appearance, too. The crowd was silent… but the barking of dogs could be heard in the background as a solemn bell rang out to mark the arrival of the cortege; perhaps they knew and understood what was happening…

Liam Tasker’s family was there, too, and they, in their profound grief, took solace from the fact that now, forever, Liam and Theo would be together; such was the loyalty of dog to man… and of that man to his dog. L/Cpl Tasker’s father Ian told ITV news: “my honest opinion on this is, when Liam went down, that Theo didn’t have the comfort from Liam to calm him down.”

Liam’s mother, Jane Duffy, simply said, “I would like to believe Theo died of a broken heart to be with Liam.” I believe it, too.
Today in Afghanistan the unending war goes on. Valiant men and women and dogs in the Dog Training Group will do their jobs and do them well. Some of these will die. Let us hope they find in each other the support and bond now eternally epitomized by Liam Tasker and his dog Theo. Now together, they will remain together for all the cycles to come, glad of each other and young.

May they rest in peace.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Things that make you go "hummm"

You know I love a picture.  Especially a picture with some wacky story. 

Like the "stories" you see on that People of Walmart website wacky.

I carry a small camera in my purse (learned that from Cheryl) and I always have something I find.  I usually have to do it on the down-low...so the quality isn't high.  Enjoy!

need some BBQ sauce?

Need some chocolate and liqueur to go with said BBQ sauce?
I hear it is a winning combination...
not being a drinker, how good IS alcohol
that is only $2.00?

Where does the cat end and the rug begin?

Isn't this ADORABLE?  Marshmellow, frosting and 1/2 Lifesaver mint

I think I would panic too if I were
drowing in pink chocolate

Legwarmers?  For reals?
Taking a picture of the Amish is like
slipping alcohol in my hot chocolate.
I apologize Amish guys...I
just COULD NOT help myself.
Fortunately, these folks don't read
blogs so they don't KNOW I dis-
repected their belief about no photos

uh, hello, the modesty cover sort of missed the point

Meet Sparta, the naughty naughty cat.
He is slyly trying to wrap his tail around the dog
and reach out to touch him...which of course
the dog always hates.  I love this sly cat look.
He was like "watch this"

Ice cream man must have spring fever

Can you see some grandma latch hooking
her grandchild a nice skull pillow?
I love all the other patterns around

It was fun to see an old fashion nun

what the h-e-double toothpicks? 
Someone got paid to think this is a nice toy idea?
Can I get that job?
Nothing says "I love you Valsy" like a fresh cat kill.

Saw this sign in Southern Missouri
and guess what great Alaskan symbol they had next to the sign
.....wait for it.....

That is right, friends...the mighty Alaska Bull....elephant.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Like Great Grand Uncle, Like Great Grand Niece

His name is George Edward Anderson.

If you are LDS, you have stumbled across some of his photographs somewhere in your journey.  You probably just didn't know it. 

He has his own BYU Collections special collection.  He is that kind of cool.

He was a photographer at the turn of the 20th century.  He received a "mission call" or asked to go in 1907 and take photographs of historical spots of Mormon church history.  They wanted it to be documented before it changed too much.  He did go, leaving behind his family to care for themselves.

He was gone for 6 years.  Some of us like to meander more than others...hey!  I resemble that remark.

A book was published several years ago called

This is a great book of photographs from his mission, with text taken from his journal that he kept. 

A journal that he happened to receive as a gift from his sister Camilla and her husband, Joe. 

Joe Popper.

My great grandfather.  A gift they gave him on March 4th, 62 years to the day before I was born.

I have been so cranky lately because of the trials I am in the middle of (africans, boiled goats and a dying best friend) that I am PRETTY sure Mr. Fun would have rather walked home today the 17 miles from church than ride with me.

But I have found a "vacation from my problems" this evening and I have had time to reflect.

Get my mind straight.

Recently the church people around here asked me if I would go on a pioneer re-enactment this summer and take photographs of the kids on the outing.  We will be in Alaska so it was decided I wouldn't be able to do it, but it hit me the other day after they asked.

Taking photographs of Mormon history stuff...........only 100 years later. 

Just like good Uncle George.

Now, to be clear, this George Anderson is NOT related to my Mr. Fun Anderson family I married into.  And Joe is not my blood father, but a father in EVERY single way beyond that.  Camilla was his great grandmother.  She was raised by Mormon English immigrants, but fell away from the church and married a Bohemian named Joe.  Joe Popper.

They had Richard, who grew up in California.  He married Betty, who had my father Joe.  Joe grew up in Alaska, married my mother.  Then I grew up in Alaska.

After three generations with absolutely no ties to the LDS Church, I converted to Mormonism when I was 19.  We were completely UNAWARE of any LDS background.

Mr. Fun and I married and immigrated to Utah for school and life.  Fast forward to my early 30's, it is where I decided to volunteer at the LDS History Museum at historic Temple Square.  While I was there 7 years as a tour guide, I learned about George Anderson. 

I remember sitting in a history lecture for the museum and they were started talking about George's genealogy of his people.  It sounded vaguely familiar.  I was working on my genealogy those days (before the boiled goat now-a-days) and it all clicked into place.

Hey!  That is my uncle.  :)

Fast foward to now.  We live in Missouri, home of much LDS Church history.  History I learned about after my conversion, and history I have been able to see here for myself.

It is like putting a face to a name.

I realized recently that life (not just mine but everyone's in some way) seems to be like that.  Full of circles.

When I visited these places, George's pictures and story were not in my mind.  Imagine my surprise when I searched through my pictures tonight and found so many similiarities.

These are his and mine:
Temple Lot at Independence

Visitor's Center at the Temple Lot of Independence

Pioneer Cemetery in Richmond

Pioneer Cemetery in Richmond

Whitmer Grave, Richmond

Whitmer Grave, Richmond

Carthege Jail Carthege Illinois

Carthege Jail Carthege Illinois

Mississippi River, Nauvoo Illinois

Mississippi River, Nauvoo Illinois

West view of Nauvoo

West view of Nauvoo

Temple Lot at Far West Missouri

Temple Lot at Far West

East view of Nauvoo

East View of Nauvoo

Adam Ondi Ahman

Adam Ondi Ahman

There is a new book about George's photography mission. 

It is good.  I am reading it.  Of course.  It is family history.  :)

There is one more place that George and I have photography interests. 

Great Grand Uncle Georgie was a Temple Chaser Photographer.  Just like me. 
Look what I found:
Salt Lake City--April 6th, 1892

Kansas City Temple--Kansas City Fall 2010

"And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers..."
Malachi 4:6

How cool is that?  :)