Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I am surrounded by idiots!!

I need to get this off my chest. 

Texas has crappy massage therapists. Seriously, they suck.

The State only recently increased their schooling requirements to 500 hours for graduation. I've only had 3 massages since I've been here and ALL of them, including the one I just received, have been pathetic. Anyone, ANYONE could have done what I just received. I asked the therapist to do friction around the attachments and lots of petrissage in the belly of the muscle. NOT HARD AT ALL. 

I'm dying here. All of the therapists I've met up with are clueless about modalities other than swedish massage. I need some good injury/Trigger point work done on my right shoulder. Any therapist I worked with in UT could easily do it. After my session I chatted with the lead therapist at the clinic and he didn't even know there was such a thing as a National Certificate. He didn't believe me when I told him I was Nationally Certified. He told me there was no such thing. What a moron! 

I'm not really a massage snob, but I totally feel like I'm surrounded by massage idiots. When I visit family/friends this summer, I'm going to budget for a couple of sessions with competent therapists.

Well, now you've heard some of my frustrations, have you ever had a bad massage experience?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I love live music

What do Missy Higgins, Lenka and Justin Nozuka have in common?

I saw them all perform on Friday. 

Sometime I'll write a post about how much I LOVE MUSIC, but for now, I'll just post a few pictures and some rambly jargon about how much I loved the concert.

I'd never heard of Lenka or Justin before. Lenka was actually pretty good and I bought her CD. Justin, on the other hand, was really boring. He didn't interact with the audience at all and all of his songs sounded the same. Missy was AMAZING!! I think she has some of the most amazing vocals I have ever heard. Some how, I was fortunate enough to be standing less than two feet from her keyboard. It was SO COOL!!! Seriously, I don't think I could have been in a better place. I was so close I could see the pores on her face. I got some great video and even took a few good pictures. 

Okay, enough rambles, here are the pictures.



Missy Higgins

Missy again

This is how FREAKIN' close I was to the stage. (My face looks kind of freaky)

I didn't know my picture was being taken while we were talking

Me and the chic with the awesome voice.

Me and Lenka

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A glimpse of Djibouti

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a Container Living Unit? I admit, I was a bit curious myself. Leighton tried to explain the CLU over the phone but it just didn't make any sense until he sent a picture. I can't imagine living in a little box for a year. He's a better man than I am, then again, I'm not a man, so that doesn't make much sense. Okay, he's a better person than I am. 

Enjoy the latest pictures of LTs adventures in D.

Inside of my CLU, view from entryway.

View from my CLU. Looking to my right, CLU ville goes on and on.

Group photo. It was a windy day. 
Lake Assal in central Djibouti. Supposedly, it's the saltiest lake in the 
world; although the Dead Sea may be saltier.

Standing on a salt island. 
(We plan on building a summer home here).
Common scene in Djibouti. Immediatly after this picture was taken, 
the locals wanted us to pay them, so we gave them a bottle of 
water, for which they were very grateful.

Scenic view on a windy day. Unfortunately, it was really hazy, 
so the view wasn't as good as usual.

Friday, February 13, 2009

News from Leighton

These are little snippets of his journal he has given me permission to share.

Fri Jan 30:
We left Ireland early this morning and flew to Souda Bay on Crete. After a quick refuel stop, we continued our flight to Djibouti. Finally, I'm here! I've been preparing for this experience for a long time, and it's finally started. It took a few hours to get settled. I hope I do well at the job I've been assigned to do. I also pray I'll be an instrument in God's hand for the good of His children in some small way.

Sun Feb 1:
I was finally able to connect via Skype with my wife and daughter today. I am so thankful for modern technology that allows me to talk to my family via the internet. What a blessing. Church was really nice. We had a group of seven of us there. I am so grateful that I can go to random corners of the world, and still worship with a group of Saints. I love feeling the Spirit, and love the feelings of spiritual rejuvenation that fill my soul.

Right after Church, we got quick a tour of Djibouti. The first thing I noticed, and it's impossible to miss, is that there is trash everywhere... It's even in the countryside where the population is less crowded because it just blows all over. Plastic bags are caught in barbed wire fences and in trees and are referred to as the Djiboutian state bird...My second observation: There are wild camels, and herds of goats and sheep that roam the streets. My third observation: There is some serious poverty here. Many people here live in some of the most squalid conditions I have ever seen. It's sad. Many of the shelters are small shacks made up of a few sticks holding up a tin roof along the side of the street. It makes it very plain to me how much privilege I have lived with all my life. I have little to complain about really. I am grateful for all the Lord has blessed me with, and pray I'll use those blessings for the blessing of His children.

For dinner, we (our shop) went out in town. When the opportunity presented itself for me to order camel, I couldn't refuse. It tasted similar to beef, but it was more chewy than beef. But it tasted good.

The official currency here is the Djiboutian Franc, but we call it Booty Bucks.

Mon Feb 9:
The smells of Djibouti (this is in for Melissa's sake). So, the Djiboutians like to burn their garbage. I noticed this when I got a tour last week as people burned little piles of trash all over the place. You would think, that as much trash as they burn, there would be lots less of it. Also, they have an dump right next to our base where they burn lots of trash at a time. I noticed this as I was running this morning and got close. It smelled like a big camp fire. Sometimes in the evening, it gets pretty bad here, depending on the wind. Some people say that it gets really nasty when a dead camel is put on they pyre, but I haven't smelled that yet.

Sun Feb 8:
This morning I woke up earlier than I wanted, so I got up and got Melissa and Olivia on Skype. Olivia was so cute, I could tell she was showing off for me. They seemed to be doing well, which is always nice. I sure love and miss being with my family.

Afterwards, I felt tired, and went right back to sleep for a couple more hours. Well, until the French took off with their jets at 0800 with full afterburners on. It seems that this is a tradition with the French on Sunday morning. From what I hear, sometimes they take off even earlier on Sundays. What we haven't figured out is if they do this on purpose to irritate us.

Tue Feb 10:
Tonight, I volunteered with the English discussion groups hosted by the US Embassy here in Djibouti. These are held at local schools. My first impression as I left base was "Where did all the trash go?" I've been informed that there's been a serious clean up effort recently. They accomplished an amazing amount in a short time.

The Djiboutians are gifted linguistically. Most speak their tribal languages of Somali and Afar, their official state languages of Arabic and French, and here they are speaking English too, and some of them used bigger words than I expected. As usual, at times I struggled understanding their accent, but they said the same about mine. I feel a bit ashamed that I only know a little Spanish.

During the discussion group we talked about things they like and dislike about living in Djibouti, but then, they were really excited to talk about the newly elected President of Somalia. All were very excited and hopeful that he can bring stability to Somalia. (Note: most of the people in the room were of Somali heritage and have family/tribal connections there.) They are very politically aware, and are very animated in their discussions of local politics (local for them includes Somalia).

The students in the room are very excited about Obama as President. They really like him.

They are a happy people, at least they were all smiles the whole time. Toward the end, they asked me what my first impressions of Djibouti are. Up until that point, I pretty much just listened and observed their discussions (observed because some are very animated when they talk). I told them, it's hot here, it feels like summer in Florida here! They laughed at me because this is their cool season. Then one girl shyly asked if I like the girls in Djibouti. I responded evasively that I'm married. They pressed and asked if I was single, would I marry a Djiboutian women. So I responded that if I was single and met the right women, I would. It was funny how the girls in the Djibouti responded similar to how I would have expected girls in the states to have responded; they said in unison "Ahhh" like in "that's so romantic, Ahhh". They then asked if I would consider living here for a long time. Then, the scripture where Ammon responded to King Laman that he would "dwell among this people for a time" popped into my head. So I answered, I wouldn't mind living here for a time, which made the whole class, male and female, smile wider.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NEWS FLASH : Facebook Virus hits Blogspot

I can't remember how many times I was tagged with this on FB. I quit counting after 20. So, instead of posting it there I'll simply respond here. Besides, I haven't figured out how to post a note on FB and I'm too lazy to try to figure it out.

25 Random Things About Me.

1. Watching the Bigger Loser makes me cry like a baby.

2. When I tell people I'm going a little "crazy" I'm actually telling the truth. Or am I?

3. I've always wanted to visit a Nudist Colony. Not for any perverted reason. My parents visited one back in the 70s and they have the most creative pictures with items strategically placed. I think it would be fun to have a creative photo shoot like that. A game of tennis in the nude might be fun too.

4. Please tell me I'm not the only one that wants Captain Feathersword to DIE!! That guy annoys me.

5. I'm tired of low cut jeans and I'm tired of the phrase "muffin top".

6. I wish stores would sell 1/2 a loaf of bread. I hate paying for a full loaf and wasting half of it.

7. I hate toenails and fingernails. They gross me out. I keep mine as short as possible.

8. I'm a clinque loyalist. But it took 10 years for me to discover my latest favorite concealer and foundation.

9. I'm afraid I'm going to have heart disease like my dad. I'm built like him and I have low blood pressure like him.

10. Every winter I think my mom is going to die of Pneumonia.

11. My new paint job reminds me of McDonalds. Why do I feel the urge to go out and buy a Big Mac when I'm sitting in my living room?

12. I am often blunt and don't mind talking about taboo topics. It gets me into a lot of trouble, especially if I don't know the person/people very well or at all.

13. I'm learning how to dance.

14. It's hard for me to accept that some people just don't get it.

15. I hate insincerity and lies. I'm more insulted when someone feels they have to lie to me rather than tell me the truth, as if lying is the better option and the truth is too hard to hear. I respect people who are honest and tell me what they really think. I like knowing how and where I stand.

16. I want to save money, but it's hard because I like to spend it too.

17. I like things neat and tidy, but the truth is, I'm a pile person. If something isn't out in the open, I tend to forget about it.

18. I'm working on getting down to the weight I was in high school.

19. I have a weakness for most thing sugary and sweet.

20. I miss my group of book club and FHE friends in UT.

21. I think my husband is very handsome and I know he'll age nicely. Not like cheese or a good wine, but he isn't going to look old when he is old.

22. Music is food. Nothing beats a good pair of earphones and a vocalist who can resonate with my core. Sometimes good music makes me cry. It embarasses me, but oh well.

23. I love to write. I won a young author contest when I was in 3rd grade and in High School. Most poetry makes me roll my eyes.

24.I consider serving at Oakcrest for 2 summers the equivalent of my LDS mission.

25. I want to go to Austrailia and Africa.

26. I know Olivia has a greater understanding of what's going on than she shows.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Silver Clouds

It finally hit home. The weeks of having Leighton an email, phone call or Skype visit away have ended, and this weekend, I felt the looming funk. Even though he'd been back east for training since September, he was only one time zone away and getting in touch with him was EASY!! It didn't really feel like he was "gone".

Now that he is in Djibouti and I am here, and our times are near polar opposite, I feel his absence. We no longer have our afternoon and after bath time phone calls. We no longer have the luxury of quick email correspondence. The bandwidth on base doesn't allow efficient access to his personal email account. We have been fortunate enough to speak on the phone and see him on the webcam twice, yet, I am aware the convenience is gone. Either he gets up at an obscene hour, which was easy for him due to his jet lag, or I have to get up at an obscene hour, which is not unusual considering Os need for little sleep.

The point is, I miss him and he is miles away.

Realistically, the possibility of a "storm" exists, yet It is times like this I reflect upon the path of life we tread. Although, this isn't the path I ever thought we would walk, I've come to view it as a gift and a blessing. Given the current global financial crisis, I don't have to worry about my husband being laid off.

That is a blessing.

It is also a blessing that he is not in a combat zone. The most life threatening things are diseases that could be contracted by bugs or animal bites. I have peace knowing my husband is safe.

Another is, I have access to the medical professionals that can help me with my severe migraines and such. I honestly don't know how we could have afforded to receive the help I'm receiving or the multiple ER visits if LT were not in the military.

And finally, I've had to step out of my comfort zone and dig deep within to find the strength and abilities required to make it through a year without my friend, companion, confidant and love. The collective experiences of the past three years have drawn me closer to my maker. I feel a greater appreciation for the luxuries I enjoy. I can say "my cup runneth over".

Even though there will be rocky times and a storm may be looming, and I feel the burden more acutely than before, I see the hand of God in my life and I am at peace.

Friday, February 6, 2009

O and the Froggy pool

Grandma Fawni purchased this little froggy pool for Olivia when she was visiting in August. 
O loved it! 
We put it up for her birthday party and let her go at it. 
This post is really for my Mum who will likely watch it 12 bazillion times in one week. It's a lot of splashing and screaming. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hanging Meat, The Final Installment.

My neighbors meat is finally gone, I hope. Last night when I took the trash out, I smelled the most delicious chinese food EVER. I'm guessing that is what it was all about. However, I'm more leary of chinese food now, which totally SUCKS bcs I LOVE chinese food.

Leighton in Ireland

Or so he says. He's not in any of the pictures to prove it.

I have to state here that I am extremely jealous. 

Here are his "exciting" pictures of Ireland. (No leprechauns or clovers, I'm SO disappointed and jealous).

"As you requested, pictures of Ireland."

The view of Ireland from my hotel room (St. Mary's Cathedral). Jealous!

The view of Ireland from my hotel room. (Green with envy)!

St. Johns castle in Ireland. (coveting)!

The view from one of the towers of St. Johns castle. 
(I want to know what a covered wagon is doing down there. Is that odd or is it just me? And no, I'm not jealous)!

A house near the airport in Souda Bay Crete. (Jealous again).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My little prodigy

O sings and dances ALL THE TIME! I love it. However, it is challenging to get it on video. I tried for several days to get a video of her and here is the result. If you listen closely she says "turn page" and "Elmo's World".