Monday, June 29, 2009


Carrots. They look the same. They taste the same. They should be the same in India. I saw this big bin full of relatively small carrots and bought two sacks full. They keep well enough and the small ones are handier. We usually find them least three times bigger.
Now the green beans look the same and taste the same. We like them steamed or in vegetable soups. But the carrots have a unique trick. No matter how well they are scrubbed eight out of ten carrots have a little crunch of sand once or twice a carrot. It has to be inside the carrot. How do Indian carrots grow around a grain of sand?
Another intriguing thing. When you check out, all of your produce at various prices are piled on a scale together.
The checker seemed to pick up one bunch and know immediately what price to charge. It was not too mysterious it just looked like it. It was a subtraction instead of an adding machine. The real mystery is how all the fruits and vegetables maintain themselves and don't
tumble of and roll into the street.
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Friday, June 26, 2009


I told a friend we have had over a month of 104 degree weather. In reality about every fourth day it cooled to 102 degrees. Bottom line is we must be prepared for two months of extreme discomfort next year. Every morning we search for a change. Winds come but they are HOT ones. People tell you it starts in April but April was just regular hot. Some say May is the worst, but June was worse yet. Some say rains come and cool every thing, but one man told us the rain just forces the heat out of the soil and it gets hotter. One said that it is hard to get around in the rain, but in June we have had only rain three evenings, hard but for only an hour. Many say the rains don't come until September. One man claims that since the tsunami no one knows anything.

BUT we have hope! This morning it was hotter in the living room than the deck. We opened the bedroom window and the wind on that side was even stronger and the draperies knocked a water glass over. We tied them up and let the wind blow for a half hour before the temperature began to climb. It will take about four days to know if the real change has come and we can get out of the "oven" and enjoy just hot summer days. Maybe the change is here. MAYBE!!!
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Hip, Hip Hooray, Moving Day

This is clear back in October, but it is just as exciting to think back to that moment as it was on that day. We asked a man if he knew anyone with a truck and he showed up with a big truck and two other men. Every time I tried to help they took things out of my hands. It was heavenly. They even insisted on packing the under the counter shelves in the kitchen. I had saved them until last because of the bug situation.
Even the giant bed made it trough the door. Three trips went well and the men handled the stairs all the way to the fourth floor. The bed was on the last load. It was too big for the elevator and too wide for the stairs. The men pulled gigantic ropes out of the truck and with lots of effort...

The bed...
Traveled up the outside to the top of the building and we slept well that night in our new home.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

The Cart

One of our sons suggested that we hire an ox and cart for moving. We were tempted. The first thing we had to do was find a good place and it was not easy. We found a huge older apartment filled with big carved beds and the neighborhood was interesting so we were sold.
Details were worked out and contract printed and sent from Bangalore. The owner said he wanted one more day to read the contract. THEN THE PHONE CALL. He was very sorry but his cousin brother was coming from Africa for an operation and he must give the apartment to him. Then we found a brand new apartment. Beautiful marble floor and fine wood work. It was owned by several family members so it took several days of meetings and lots of back and forth. FINALLY THE PHONE CALL. We were not Hindu enough.
Now we found this apartment but we must meet the landlord. We arrive in the evening and there is another prospective renter there. They are talking in Tamil. We are hoping. Yes! the other man left and the apartment was ours.
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Changing Of The Guard

The orange purse had things added at every airport as we were on our thirty hour trip to India. On some flights our carry on bags were the right size. All of a sudden in Germany they became too big and were taken and added to the checked luggage. Then the orange purse had to handle an extra change of clothes in case the other suitcases were misplaced (or hopefully not LOST).

A report had come back to Bangalore to our president that our apartment in Chennai was not good and needed to be replaced. The report was right plus more. Also the apartment was on the ground floor and had hundreds of bugs. After we moved out I cleaned all day to get it ready to turn over to the landlord. This will give an idea why we didn't want to unpack our suitcases. One item, however was brought out right away. Several of my daughters bought me this amazing handbag. It was designed by a woman who was frustrated one day as she dug through her purse looking for a particular item. she was inspired by the plastic basket in her dishwasher that holds silverware and knives. This purse is full of zippers, spaces and cubbies of all shapes and sizes. I can immediately find a pen, lipstick or Gospel pamphlet with the tips of my fingers. Digging is a thing of the past!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009


We have already mentioned that Chennai has three seasons, hot, hotter and hottest. Another season is mosquitoes and not. Right now we are in the not season. It is nice not to close the house at five PM. The trade off is the 104 temperature. Today it cooled to 102.
Last night there was lots of lightening for an hour and a driving rain for a bit. So the question is will it be enough moisture to start the mosquitoes again.

If the mosquitoes come at least the bees left this morning. A man was to come a week ago and never showed up. Yesterday the watchman brought a second man. He is a driver for one of the families in our building. They were to come at four this morning and showed up at six so some of the bees were stirring.

This is how it happened. The night watchman came and so did the day watchman. They both stood with the door cracked and kept giving advice to the driver who was on the balcony doing all the work. This is what the driver did and how he was dressed. He first wadded up a big piece of burlap then set it on fire. Next he dressed himself with a motorcycle helmet with a full face mask. Then he wrapped himself in a tarp. After smoking the bees away he cut the honey comb down and put it on a very large platter, covered it and took it away. Through all of this he was barefoot. Oh, the simple life! We often turn toward too much technology.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009


Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a lot of home remedies that have brought relief and healing. This time it seemed wise to seek a doctor. I might have gone a couple of days earlier if I had know they had door men in fancy dress.

In India when someone is sick the whole family will go for support, that would mean extended family too - all the aunties and uncles. This practice makes huge crowds every where.
At any given minute there will likely be a crowd streaming in and out the main door. The lobby with its wide marble floors reminds you more of a train station than a waiting room.
This is Chennai heat for you. By mid afternoon the door man had to take off his turban or risk becoming one of the patients.
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Leading Into A Few More Things At The Beginning

At the mission training center they gave me too many shots at once and that night I woke covered in rash, welts and generally swollen. Three days later and still puffy I put on sunglasses and went out. The next morning we left for India. I wanted to get going before they changed our schedule.
I traveled with my handy orange purse that seems to comfortably expand for last minute items. In this case it was an
EpiPin Two Pak. The problem persisted after our arrival in India and I finally had to find a good doctor. This one worked out of the Apollo Hospital. The visit had an auspicious beginning.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

The Birds And The Bees

This picture comes from the beginning of our mission and has been on the blog before. We experienced a little monsoon when we first arrived in India and one day after we had moved to this new apartment it was raining very hard and I found two birds taking refuge on the upper window of our bedroom. The window is above a a terrace and this terrace has been named by us, the pigeon porch. The pigeons really like this place and it is difficult to deter them.

That upper window has since been lined with filled water bottles and that works great for keeping that area clear. We tried the same technique on a flower pot ledge out there and the pigeons joined forces and knocked the bottles off. Not knowing the seasons here we kept up the battle. We finally realized that it was Spring. When it is always hot how do you tell? Well intense nesting instinct or not we finally won and the pigeons left the porch.

Did I say won? One day later they were back. How did they know it was us and our apartment. They flew over or maybe around to the other side of the building. We were working in the office and heard a noise that we did not recognize. We looked in the living room and pigeons were hopping around. Two more came to the window and we were thinking shades of Alfred Hitchcock. It took a little doing but we finally "talked" them out of nesting in our house. So now for every nesting season (there have been three) we put a net up on the laundry porch and as soon as we scrub it clean again will do the same for the old pigeon porch off the bedroom.

Now as to bees. We went to Bangalore for a conference again and had a good time, but the train ride is still sub par. When we returned, (this time we were gone almost five days instead of just 24 hours) we saw this hive on the porch on the other side of the apartment.
It was the size of a large watermelon. We were impressed and just shut the door. Three days later we went to take a picture and the hive was now the size of three big watermelons. You can see a honey comb and I hate to disturb their industry, but we have heard killer bees talked about so we are taking steps. The one thing you must not do is get under it. If a little piece should fall on you they will all come down straight for you.

So birds we will battle but, bees we let be.
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Meet Daisy

This is Daisy. She is a pioneer. As the only Seminary graduate, and actually the only student she blazed the trail and as of last Sunday we have nine students signed for class. Daisy moves on to Institute classes for college students. We are proud of you girl!
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Seminary Graduation

Leaders came from Salt Lake City and from Hong Kong for the graduation ceremony. A happy teacher presents her one student.
A Seminary Graduation Certificate represents four year of study and determination to not give up.
We are not teaching but were asked to attend the all day training session. After the training we were invited to lunch by our host from Hong Kong.
We ate at Sparky's the only American restaurant in Chennai. They have wonderful lemonade. We ate a little fast and left to teach our English class. Typical Saturday.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I have put this post off but for those who want to know life in India I will put this as gently as possible. These pictures are all from the newspaper so as not to get into personal privacy. Every time we are out there are sad scenes along the sidewalk, but I never take my camera out.
The picture and article above came out after a child died from punishment from a teacher. Always lots of talk after it is too late and most often just talk and not much action.

This one is a success story. A kind, understanding social worker arrived in time to stop a child marriage.

This looks like a big, happy family, but it is just a group of orphans banding together to create a feeling of family that they miss so much. To keep orphans safe they often live in an almost jail like situation - old and filled with smells of the worst kind.

Okay, so you have a family and they have enough money for modern clothes and to send you off to college where you can be happy with your friends. Is everything good? We could wish but the pressure to do well in school is so tremendous that if grades are posted and yours are low it may be too much for you. You decide to give up on life in the most devastating way.

Yesterday there WAS a very happy moment. Seven babies ages a year and a half down to a few months were recovered from a kidnapping ring.

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Show Time

To learn about this young man see previous post. . .
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Good People

Our latest young man to be baptized. He wants to be involved in some way in the nursery field. Just before he decided to be baptized he was working on a big project as the director of the first in Chennai flower show. We went to visit and admire his accomplishment. I posed him in front of this sign over the ticket window. It was just before he decided to commit to baptism and get on with his life.

Over and over again there are beautiful stories. A young fourteen year old boy was baptized and his mother gave permission but she wanted to wait and be baptised with her husband (who has lots of problems with addiction). She watched her son and saw him praying and having lots of changes in his life and she wanted that too. She went ahead on her own to be baptized. The mother and son travel two and a half hours each way using two buses to come to Church. She gets up at four in the morning to cook for her husband before she leaves Sunday morning.

In May we had ten baptisms in our branch.
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Thanking A Husband For Forty-eight Years Of Joy

We had a good beginning - an eternal marriage in the Los Angeles Temple and a happy reception surrounded by family, fraternity brothers and friends of all ages from Orange and Los Angeles Counties. We parked the red 1957 Chevy right by the door and it was so obvious that it didn't get painted and decorated before we made our get away. The next morning we took a train to Chicago and another train to New York where we stayed at the Plaza. We toured around the city and came back and into the Plaza's lobby to find it dark. The whole city was down. We were handed a candle and took the elevator that worked on a generator and got up to our room. We dressed for the evening and started walking down the street. No taxis in sight. It turned out that only three fourths of the city was blacked out. Down the street we saw that the Winter Garden Theatre had lights on the marque. We crossed the street and saw Tammy Grimes in the "Unsinkable Molly Brown." In the morning we decided just to head for our ship early in case there were still taxis problems. The ship left several hours early to beat a dock strike that was imminent but we were safely tucked in our little cabin on the way to Naples, Italy. Yes, a good beginning.

The first twenty years were filled with children and fun but no sight seeing vacations were included. We would drive to San Clemente to see one set of grand parents and St. George, Utah to see the other. Then we started traveling just us two at times and others times with family trips to Europe. Our children learned to work and save and they helped us make these trips possible. They have continued to travel on their own as adults. We have seen Korea, Hawaii, and back the other direction to as far east as Budapest, Hungary. We have learned to love people of all nations and that could be one of the reasons we are now on a mission in Chennai, India on the Bay of Bengal. We will probably go home the way we came but even now we are close to having traveled around the world. We are grateful for these experiences and know that they have helped to make this hot, crowded city filled with poverty become our home. Each day when we have finished we come back and walk in the door of our flat and with a sigh say, "Ah, we are home."

So whether having an adventure riding an elephant, they are very uncomfortable, or talking to people on the street and learning about their lives to see if they are ready for a change to Christianity or

Out to dinner with friends, we can say, "That was fun, What will the next forty-eight years bring?"
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