Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lovely Piece of Writing, by My Grandmother

My Grandmother was a really neat lady, she gave this little tribute to my parents on their wedding day.

Angelia and Jon
By Angela Carter Cameron

I’ve tried to put in writing
Some things I’d like to say.
To this very lovely couple,
On this their wedding day.

Morris was nine when Jon was born,
And looking back now we can see.
The Lord wanted a very special spirit,
To send our family.

And special Jon has always been.
He brought us all such joy.
When he first came into our home.
Dad took charge of his baby boy.
He diapered, bathed and fed him,
Acted just like a mother.
Morris too, was very proud.
He now had a real live brother.

Jon often said such funny things.
The one I remember still.
Was the time he told his first grade class.
His Mother was mentally ill.
The reason – unrealistic fears;
The sight of a mouse brought hysterical tears.

With everyone he always gets along fine,
Especially the little folk,
“He’s the Pied Piper, followed by children.”
Is a common neighborhood joke.

He’s had quite a few accomplishments,
But the one most precious to me.
Is the role he played in making us
An Eternal family.

We’re so glad Angie Kay came into his life.
We were happy when he asked her to become his wife.
She’s the middle one in a family of nine.
The first time we met them, we knew it was fine.
To have our son join such a well knit clan.
We didn’t know then the romance had began.
They help one another – they feel it’s their duty.
And their love for their Mother,
Is a real thing of beauty.

Angie’s real special, but I’m warning you , Jon.
Her first day at school, she cried on and on.
There were two first grade rooms, she told her Mother.
The reason she cried – she wanted the other.

And then when she started attending third grade.
Her teacher, she said, was an ugly Old Maid.
When Mom went to visit, goodness gracious, alive!
Her teacher was beautiful – about twenty five.

Angie’s beautiful, spiritual, she cooks and she sews.
She’s gracious and kind and her good humor shows.
What more could a man ever want in a wife.
And we all know it isn’t just for this life.

Today in the Temple of The Lord, you see.
They were married for all time and eternity!

And now as you start the next phase of your journey along the sea of life, you should surround yourself with a fleet of ships to make the voyage successful. All of us here today are honored to share this festive occasion with you. We will deem it even a greater honor to be members of your crew on your good ship, friendship.

You have already been on board Courtship, but you have just barely reached the top of the gang plank. Don’t be afraid to express your love for each other, continue to go out and do fun things together. When children come into your lives, take time for just the two of you to get away once in a while. This ship along with her sister companionship should sail along together side by side all the rest of your lives.

Don’t neglect citizenship. Take an active part in community affairs. Get involved in politics, do your part to elect the right public officials. Our great country is at stake. Voting is not only your great privilidge, but your obligation.

Fellowship – our Prophet has told us we should all be missionaries. This is very true but many full time missionaries have reported it isn’t as hard to convert people to the gospel as it is to keep them active. Too many of us forget to show our love for all our fellow men – members and non-members, active and inactive, everyone needs our love and fellowship.

Hardship will no doubt be one of your vessels, but may it be the very smallest. And may you both be made even stronger for having endured the storm with it.

The mightiest of all will be the majestic Worship. To it you will go when the night is dark and the sea is rough. The Captain at its helm will guide and direct you in your darkest hour of need. Pray to him daily both individually and together, and live your lives worthy to have his Holy Spirit with you at all times for guidance and direction.

And now as you set your sails and determine your course, we wish you, smooth and happy sailing into the harbor of eternal joy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How to Make Kombucha Tea

HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA TEA (A completely caffine free version using Roobios instead of Green Tea ;p) (Pronounced kom-BOO-cha) (Roobios pronounced Roy-Boss)

KOMBUCHA is a handmade Chinese tea that is delicately cultured for 30 days (14-30 days). During this time, essential nutrients form like: Active Enzymes, Viable Probiotics, Amino Acids, Antioxidants, and Polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that immediately works with the body to restore balance and vitality.


1 Gallon of filtered water
5 Tbsp + 1 tsp of Roobios tea (or use green, black or white)
1 Cup of white sugar

2 Tea Brewing Methods:

Hot Steeping: Bring gallon of water to a boil. Remove from heat and place tea in water. Let steep for 10 min. then strain and let cool.

Cold Steeping: Place tea in a gallon of water and steep for 24 hours. Then Strain.

Place Tea in a glass bowl. Add 1 cup of sugar. Place culture in the bowl (Do not let it touch metal!!).

Cover with a clean cloth or paper towels and use a rubber band to keep it tight on top. This will keep out other spores from the air.

Let cultivate in a 70-90 degree room temperature for 14 or more days. (Maintain it at a higher level if using Roobios Tea).

*You can place the whole thing in the oven and leave the oven light on.

Harvest tea and leave 1/4 cup of original tea in bowl to maintain the acidity level for the next batch of tea.

*You can also place SCOBY in a quart sized plastic bag with enough tea to cover it up. Then it can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month.

Make sure the tea is cooled enough before you add the SCOBY.

-I bought the large glass container and strainer at Wal-Mart, you can often order large glass containers like this one on-line, just look around. Plus my friend got the SCOBY for me from a lady who grows Kombucha tea locally, it cost her about $20 dollars which I split with her. She also ordered the tea in bulk on-line and split it with me. (Plus some PH test stips as well)

The tea starts at an acidity level of about 5.6 and ends at about 2.5 - 3, test it at about day 14. If you don't have test strips taste it, the more vinegary it tastes the more acidic, if it's sweet it isn't done yet, if it tastes just like vinegar you know its at about a PH of 2, not particularly a bad thing.

You can keep the tea in the fridge when its done.

Roobios - African Red Leaf Tea (No Caffeine)

Tea Steeping For 10 Minutes

Straining The Tea

A Cup of White Sugar (I have tried raw sugar and maple syrup but the SCOBY doesn't like them)

The SCOBY in a baggie, with a bit of the last batch.

Dump SCOBY into the cooled tea, use your clean fingers to spread it out, don't let it touch any metal!!

Cover with a clean cloth and use a Rubber Band to keep it tight

Keep out light by wrapping a paper bag around it and taping it as a cover. (Sorry didn't get a picture)

Benefits of Kombucha Tea

Kombucha Supports
Immune System (also red raspberry leaf tea and if desperate golden seal)
Appetite control
Weight Control
Liver Function
Body Alkalinity
Cell Integrity
Healthy Skin and Hair

(Nutrition Facts on the Back of a Bottle of Komucha Tea that I bought)
Serving Size 8 gl. oz

Calories 30

Total Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 10mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Sugars 2g
Protein 0g

Additional Nutrients:
Folic Acid 12.5%
Vitamin B2 10%
Vitamin B6 10%
Vitamin B1 10%
Vitamin B3 10%
Vitamin B12 10%

Probiotic Content:
Lactobacillus Bacterium: 1 billion organisms
S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms

Antioxidants & Organic Acids
EGCG 50mg - Glucuronic Acid 5 mg
L(+) Lactic Acid 12.5mg - Acetic Acid 15 mg

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bike Ride For MS

My Cousineth Julene was diagnosed with MS 6 years ago. Well coming up on June 27th her husband has decided that he is going to do a 75 mile bike ride for MS!! But he needs sponsorship of at least $250.00 before he can even enter.

Here are the details: (and a link to her blog post)

"Hey everyone! As many of you know, I was diagnosed with MS about 6 years ago. Well, my wonderful husband has decided to get actively involved this year by participating in the MS Bike ride of 2009. (And yes, it is actually called, The Best Dam Bike Ride) He plans to do a 75 mile bike ride coming this June on the 27th, but he needs to earn at least 250.00 in donations before he can even ride. If any of you would be willing to donate to our cause either big or small, we would greatly appreciate it! The proceeds of the event will go toward MS research.

If you would like to donate, you can contact Gabe at, or you can just go to this link and donate on the national ms society's secure website.

Friday Shoot Outs - Water (Sorry I'm a Bit Late)

Starting with Clouds (Big Masses of Water)

Puddles and Snow

Sledding WAHOO!!

(This is my little fellow Sione) (Sione means Jon in Tongan incidentally)

(This is Koli Bear - Intense!!)(My oldest)

(Angie and her Cousins)(Angie's on the right)

(Daddy and Baby)

(Angie in front of the Fountain at Lagoon in her clogging outfit from last year)

(Ahhh, the river... The Provo River - My Favorite)

(Watch out Roxie!! Your going in the stream! This is taken up in Opher, our regular reunion location)

(My Feet, longing for the water!)

(Utah Lake)

(Fishing at Strawberry Resevoir) (Hmmm, Strawberries, YUM!!) ;p

(Sam off in the distance with a shirt on his head. His brother Lee and my niece Sabrina)

(My big brother Jono B)

(Roxie loves the water)

(Kids hangin in the water. Get out!! You'll scare away the fish!)

(Roxie is always up for a good bath, even with all of her clothes on!!)

(She really needed a bath after this!)

Yikes!! The exterminator is a coming - to chase out the bed bugs, darn those critters! So, I gotta go!! Hope you enjoyed. :D

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Building Anticipation

Scorching heat, dry weeds.

Tall, sparse weeds, some cockle burs that stick to your socks.

A lonely desolate place, though somehow it is a place that speaks softly of expectation, as though at any moment "something" exciting will happen.

Languishing in the sun, following the lines down, further and further as the anticipation builds.

Almost giving up, when...

A low rumbling starts, so faint only vibrations and expectation is felt at first.

In the distance, clickity clack, tickity tack, clickity, tickity, clickity, tickity.

Growing louder and louder, the rumbling as well.

Suddenly a long slow whistle, like a lost soul cries out.

Wooo wooooo

Bursting onto the scene is the rattling train, clickity, tickity, clickity, tickity.

The weeds shiver and the smell of coal dust and steel emanates from the shuttering beast.

Clickity, tickity, clickity, tickity, clickity, tickity on and on it goes.

Until suddenly,

Scorching heat, and dry weeds,

are the only thing you can see.

Short lived fulfillment,

as the anticipation begins to build again.

Situational Shortcomings

It seems that,

No matter how much we try, we all fall short sometimes.

No matter how much we want to be there for someone, sometimes there is nothing to say.

No matter who your talking to, and how much they like you, sometimes they can get sick of you.

No matter how much we want to be in control, we are not.

No matter, try, be there, be patient, and learn to adjust when things don't go your way.

Disorder, Chaos, Serenity :D

Hmmm, still cleaning!!

It'll be just like we moved and washed everything, wahoo!!

I'm gonna make the kids scrub the walls and take a Mr. Clean Magic eraser to the crayon left by my budding artist Roxie. ;p

After that I can redecorate, not really had a chance to do that in this apartment. I'm sort of rearranging my room right now. I have an idea of how I want it to look, I kind of like the open, no bed look, because I don't have another creative space, but I am sure my daughter would like me out of her room... :D

I want a bed with open slats that the mattress sits on I saw one up at IKEA, but its out of our budget range... so it's on the list. I think that will keep the Bed Bugs out, because they like hiding out in box springs (my kids beds were all replaced last year for the same reason and they have not gotten reinfested).

The exterminator was supposed to come this morning, but apparently there was a mix up and he's coming tomorrow. Lucky for me ;p because I didn't get everything washed dried and vacuumed yet (can ya blame me?) So I was frantically trying to get at the last little bit of stuff (actually I would like to dig into Angies room, oi!!), when I realized that the exterminator hadn't come yet. So I called them up and they had me down for tomorrow, well, I have a lot of stuff to get done besides for all of this so they better come (grrr.) ;D

It will feel lovely to get everything cleaned, put away, rearranged. Plus when I get my new bed it will be lovely to sleep in a bed, bug free bed, (in my own room). :D

Sometimes its nice to have stuff like this happen, because all the old feelings and junk gets cleared away as well.

Hope your all having a lovely day.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Renee Award


I am deeply honored to be given this award.

When I first became aware of the award itself I thought how truly appropriate that someone recognize the impact that Renee has on so many people. She is somehow able to keep track of the little details in regards to others lives, and she makes an effort to uplift and bless, even through all of the difficult things that she struggles with at the moment.

I also saw that my dear friend Michelle was given this award and thought how appropriate that was as well. Her thoughtfulness in living and the little things that she does for her dear mother who is struggling with cancer right now brings hope and inspiration through her words and through her paintings.

I was incredibly surprised to have been bestowed with this award, it means a great deal in itself and it means a great deal to me.

Thank you CES, Bella and Renee and all of my blogging friends. I was given this award on my writing blog, I love it so much though that I wanted to share it here as well. :D

This is what CES had to say:

You are Renee's friend but I don't see you have this yet. I came here especially to give this to you.

I Ces, happily present this award to you Strawberry Girl! You are Renee’s Friend and should rightly have this award. I shall quote my dearest friend Bella from on here.

Bella says:

"This one is meaningful to me in three profound ways. Firstly, it was created in honor of Renee, one human being who has made such a difference in the lives of many just by being. Her honestly, wit, intelligence, and grit are a tremendous source of inspiration. She can elicit raucous laughter and guffaws in her banter, and then turn right around and offer the most heartfelt, gentle words of wisdom and emotional support. She is a spreader of love, simple and true. And her love is infectious.

Secondly, this award was created in collaboration with one of my best friends, Ces. She is, in Renee's own words, truly original. She is an incredible artist, both in pen and ink and paint. She is fiery passion with a gentle hand. She is laughter, fun, joy, intellectual stimulation, a sister. The concept and design of the award belong to Ces.

Thirdly, this is a brand new award, and I have the pleasure and honor of spreading the seed, watching it grow. I hope it finds its way to those who are like Renee: the acorn, a small package becoming a tall and sturdy oak giving more acorns, becoming tall and sturdy oaks, giving acorns…"

And now!
I present this award to you. here is the award logo. You can copy it from my blog:

or at Bella's:

There you go!

Roxie's Incredibly Hard Day and Updates on All the Kids

Well, Roxie has been having a difficult day.

First of all, she couldn't get mommy to wear the sandals that she wanted mommy to wear. She stood in front of the mirror while I blew my hair dry, practicing her pouty crying face and egging herself on, I just kept laughing periodically at her (which made her mad!). ;D

The toilet at the public restroom scared the heck out of her by flushing, twice, while she was trying to go potty!!

She couldn't put her shoes on over the footie pajama's that she insisted on wearing!

The rose that brah, brah gave her had little thorns so she decided to destroy it.

Life is tough!!

Koli is playing baseball again this year, though he needs some new pant's because his old ones are too small!! (and who said he wasn't growing? Angie just grows so much that we miss it when Koli gets bigger)

Angela's hula teacher is starting a little technical class on Tahitian dance and wants Angie to be in it!! She's incredibly impressed by Angies improvement over the last little while and in fact so am I!! That girl works hard at learning her dances, it makes me very proud to see it. :D

Sione, has been writing stories about the cats (Koli is actually the main one doing this and Sione follows suit). He also writes stories involving him and our neighbor William though we all call him Berg for some reason, I asked his mom and she dosen't know either. Sione and Berg are Jedi Masters and when he draws pictures of them he makes them have enormous muscles!! (Funny Kid);p

My Blogs Thoughts

I am Blog!!

Feed Me!!

NO! Not that drivel! More entertaining please.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Opportunities :D


A general update I want to spend some time reading about marketing certain things like writing and my own personal interest gluten free mixes that form a really good bread, and pancakes I have a really excellent recipe for both.

Plus I want to study herbs, Spanish and HTML coding.

I found a solution to a problem that I was having with trying to compost (or at least I hope its a solution) We had a large round flower container thing out front that I have rolled around to the back kitchen window. Now I can throw the scraps out the window without having them stuck there on the ground attracting ants and other pests. I need to mix it up with dirt and some grass clippings as well.

Plus "Space Bags," yes you to can organize your life for only $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). They are my salvation, wahoo!! I have managed to condense almost everything that has been cluttering up my closet, now the goal, vacuum everything!! ;p

Hmmm, it's like a gigantic vacuum has come into my life sucking out all this old cluttery stuff and after the general house cleaning (both literally and figuratively).

It is exciting, a terrific opportunity to fill up my home with things that I like!!

The bed that I threw out has been a drag to me, we bought it several years ago at a yard sale. There never was a head board, the mattress was uncomfortable, it was a big bulky boxy bed (can I fit more b's in this sentence? ;p).

So now, though I have to be patient, I can wait to make a decision on a new bed. I have one that I sort of like up at IKEA, just have to give it some time and I know I will either get that one or find one at a yard sale.

I don't have a whole lot of crafty decorations around the house either, and with the walls washed and floors vacuumed (hopefully carpet cleaned, but I have to wait a bit for that also) I can put a bit more spirit into decorating my home.

I never realized how stuck I have been feeling with all of that stuff!!

Opportunities abound, if you look for them. :D

Quick Update

Roxie is running around in her swimming suit, no chance sweetie!! We've got more cleaning to do. :D

I don't know if it was the Goldenseal herbal tea (to boost the immune system), Roobios (calming). The sun being out after a refreshing rain, or what it is. It all feels like healthy restoration.

I do have a lot of stuff to do though, so much, I am swamped!!

So I am off to do it and hope to write up some proper posts later on, perhaps a recolection of the identical triplets who were my good friends until we grew apart and away.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Reflecting Again

This has been an interesting sort of day. One of my favorite things to do (when I am not distracted by pressing matters) is to clean and reorganize things. That's what I have been doing today and it's been glorious.

One of the things that I have been thinking about for the past couple of days is what is the essence of a person. Why are some people so naturally confident while others struggle to decide which socks to wear for the day?

The thing that I have noticed in myself is that I go through these periods where I will feel completely myself, like right now I am more or less thinking straight about stuff.

At other times though I get insecure, sad and depressed, even down to the way that I feel when I put on my clothing and walk down the street.

The things that I think contribute to this is, well I will name the big one first, hormones. I can chart almost exactly when I am going to lose it, start being needy, clingy, doubtful, fretful... not every month, sometimes it doesn't happen, but most of the time it is like clock work. (The only benefit is that I sometimes write a bunch of great stuff at this time). ;D

The things that make it worse are stress, problems that I can't solve, the weather, other peoples insecurities especially anger and of course eating poorly as well.

Sometimes I think also that not having a routine messes me up as well, because I drift about the day doing whatever it seems apparent to do and I forget to do things like take meat out of the freezer to un-thaw for the next day and I forget appointments.

For the life of me though I don't know how I am going to develop a routine because I have never operated that way! It's terrible, I don't cook dinner regularly, I don't get the kids to bed at a set time, I don't do laundry on some kind of schedule (though it doesn't pile up that bad because I have bins to sort out everyone's clothes).

Actually, these kinds of things need to be done better I think. It has been a symptom of going to school as a young mother and the fact that my husband often comes home already having ate somewhere and I get tired of the effort going to waste. As for the bed time bit, my older kids actually get themselves to bed around 10 pm and Roxie has been my night owl hang out partner. Not exactly the best situation I know... then she sleeps in, then she takes a late nap, then shes not tired earlier... bad pattern.

A lot of this all ties into how much you can concentrate on the things in your life, if you feel overwhelmed then one thing tends to spill into another.

One thing that I have rediscovered to help me is the herbal tea Roobios, it is a calming tea, I just bought some and I love it all over again!!

Another thing that I have personally been feeling empty over is visiting with my cousins. I want to go hang out with them, they understand me and always make me laugh. However they are busy (still single out doing single things), I am busy being a mom. They don't think of inviting me to things, I think I just need to call, call, call until they remember I exist again. :D

Plus I have neglected my spirituality a bit, I need to focus on it some more and I haven't been in the mood for reading either so I am hungry for some good words to read.

Ah, I guess I have just been reflecting away today. I hope your all doing well.


(Oh, I had a couple of experiences today that made me really appreciate what I've got, even feel a bit silly over complaining last week. Perhaps I will write about them later.) :D

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pam and Star both gave me this lovely little award

The following rules came with this prize: These blogs are exceedingly charming.These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.I know some of you don't do awards or meme's and that some of you may have already received this award... and that's okay. You are under no obligation to play along... so with that being said...My nominees are:


I also want to mention my first blogger friend, Clone Girl, Reggie Girl (so, so neat), Renee (beautiful soul), and all of the other new bloggers that I have been getting to know.

Feeling Blessed Today

Today has been an odd sort of day.

It is as though each part of my day has held a lesson for me, something to think about.

I spoke about church earlier. Sometimes that happens when I go, the talks, and peoples comments all seem to be things that I have needed to hear.

I spoke with my husband, don't know how he received it, but at least I know what I need to expect from him. Just have to continue to communicate what I need and ask for the respect as I said.

Then I went over to my friend Janae's house and she split her SCOBY mushroom for me (to make Kombucha tea). Plus she illuminated me on the fact that the SCOBY doesn't like the light and doesn't like to touch metal. So hopefully this one will last longer than the other two mushrooms that she's given me (may they rest in peace).

After that I had a good long think, then we went up to my moms for dinner. I brought back the family pictures. I gathered them up a few years ago with the intention of scanning them all, but have found it difficult to get started, I have been putting it off.

The pictures have sat around here too long, kind of a little niggling reminder of something that I haven't done. So I figured I would bring them back up to mom's and dedicate Sunday to scanning them up there. Unfortunately there scanner has issues, there is not a good program on their computer for scanning them, the one that I found generally scans surface oils and dirt and leaves out the details of the pictures. My scanner is a lot better, captures the image and it's easy to cut it afterwards. So I guess on that project I will just have to bring a little bit home at a time, maybe have mom get me an external "jump" drive.

Dinner was fun, we had a conversation about a theoretical van that we are going to buy to go to the reunion in this year and we all get a row to sleep in. This because it's hard to pin down my dad to get him to commit to renting the trailer we need.

Somehow that conversation led to a discussion about the boys sleeping on the roof (or under the van) because several of them snore. They will be allowed a hammock, which will somehow or other be on top of the van. That idea led to the absurdity of the idea of driving down the street in a large van with a hammock on top, with someone sleeping in it.

Of course, the hammock would have to have a seat belt, and some kind of clasp to encapsulate the occupant. So someone threw out the idea of a cocoon hammock, if you slept in it you would sprout wings. Someone else mentioned that zooming down the freeway in a hammock might make you shed your skin like a snake so we decided that we should market this idea as an idea for getting rid of skin cancer. We have absurd ideas for all sorts of products, like canned air, canned butter, boxes of nothing (only $19.95, we promise to give you a great no return policy, nothing will be charged to your credit card, nothing will be sent and we will throw nothing in, extra, just pay no shipping and handling).

My brother has a blog with all sorts of products that you would never want to buy, like do it yourself dentistry kits, root canals, home demolition in a box...

After that we went over to a the church to hear our friend Paul speak about acting in independent movies. But couldn't stay long because we needed to get over to the cemetery for Memorial day visits.

It's been a gray kind of day, and it started sprinkling a bit as we all piled out of the car to visit my Grandparents grave site, plus my Uncle Jack and cousin Todd.

We stopped briefly at mom's for cheesecake (at least the kids, I can't eat it because of the gluten).

Now we are back home again I made up a cup of Chai Roobios tea, it has a really lovely flavor, and I got to work cleaning out my closet a bit and thinking about how I want to tackle the problem of washing everything to get rid of bed bugs.

I am washing and drying, then encapsulating everything in "Space Bags," blankets and eventually clothes. Then I need to go through our books and stacked nick nacks to try and ferit them out. The exterminator is coming on Tuesday, my mom volunteered to pay for one.

So I found myself standing in my room, the smell of the rain coming to me through the open window, the gentle steady sound a calming reminder of renewal. Standing in the midst of my room, where my bed used to be, I felt as though this was an opportunity to evaluate the things that I allow to be in my life.

The books and papers, the blankets and clothes, the stuff, all of it is sort of like a bit of responsibility weighing down on my consciousness. Having things weighs on your awareness I think.

So I actually feel calmer with the bed gone, maybe it has something to do with how I hated that bed anyway, how I never really slept well on that mattress and the general bulkiness and ugliness of it. Heck I can dance in the middle of my room now!! :D

It feels like I can actually handle cleaning out everything, a bit at a time, and perhaps coming to a point where things are reordered in my life and I will be able to see clearer what I need to do with my time. What I need to study, learn, and focus on, and what I need to teach my kids.

A lot of things happen to me in this way. I go through periods of confusion, things come to a breaking point, and then a path seems to open up to what I need to do next. I find a book I need to read, a friend I need to talk to, it is all a very interesting process.

I think that a lot of it has to do with being open, grateful, trying to be a good person, and continuing to look for ways to improve in life that leads to opportunities.

May things work out for you my friends.


Sunday Lessons

I want to thank everyone for the help and support over these past couple of weeks. I was afraid you would all get sick of me, so it's so nice to see how warm and loving people can be.

Today was a really good day in church. We talked about the need to teach our children and we had a really good lesson on the sanctity of women and the role that men should play in our lives.

I have been generally inspired to make a few changes, ask for a few important things directly (what I expect). I think that I have a tendency to let things slide, not get angry over things, to keep the peace, even when I should be upset I let it go.

That type of tendency, though good in some ways, can tend towards greater and greater amounts of disrespect if not kept in check and women need to demand the respect they deserve.

I mean, we don't need to be whiny and overly demanding, but we should draw a line somewhere about what we expect or we are not going to get it.

This is a frustrating thing for me because I hate asking for things. I generally think people should do things because they are thoughtful and want to do them. But as someone pointed out, some times (some) men get too focused on earning the bread and they forget the small details.

So my failing has been letting everything slide. Plus I need to do certain things around the house as a mother a bit more, just focusing on that aspect a little more, though it gets discouraging when the cooperation is not there.

I think I need to balance things a bit better and do a better job of being "present" when he gets here.

Anyway some thoughts from our lessons today.

General Thoughts

Thoughts from this morning.

Insecurities mess up a lot of things. They come out roaring when we are vulnerable, when we are sick, tired, stressed out.

Indecision can change our lives. Not deciding is a decision in it's self.

I need to "parent" a bit more. I have been stressed, I have been sick, I have been tired. A lot of my decision power has also been taken away, yet I still need to parent. Which means more than listening, more than just being a warm body for your kids to hug.

It means teaching your kids, I have been lost lately, but I need to do it.

I am not really afraid for my little boys, I am afraid for my little girl. She is 5' 3" about already, she is only 11 but she looks much older.

I do not want my little girl to get caught up in the whole worldly focus on image. I know I can't hide her away, but I think that she should at least be able to be a little girl for at least a few more years, she's 11!!

They start thinking about relationships at 11, these little girls. It wouldn't be so bad and I wouldn't be so scared if she didn't already look like a 16 year old!!

Gah!! I need to talk to that girl.

In other ways my insecurities, stress and illness have been messing with other things. Like how I relate to everyone, and what I write.

I am feeling a lot better today, more like myself. I am really thankful that my dad and mom have stepped in to give me just a bit more support. Buying us some things that we've needed.

I think that with Sam, I have gotten into a rut as well. He's gotten stressed out over schooling, and he's so goal focused, it is hard for him to see past his nose sometimes. I need to try harder to be there when he's there, even if I don't want to watch another action thriller movie... :D (Though he did rent "He's Just Not That Into You" the other day, really funny movie, though a bit over the top).

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I might be a silly, silly person but I think plants just fill you up sometimes. Have you ever walked into a green house and just sighed? Well... I was walking around with my dad at Costco, not feeling particularly inspired by anything, then we walked by the plants for sale and I just had this lift.

There's a lady that I know of who studies "energies." Gardens with them, walks around divining things through her intuition, I'm coming around to her way of thinking.

Had an interesting story idea while walking around, but still not feeling up to much, maybe Monday...

Another thought that I had while walking around, was about the magazines and stuff. I think I need to spend more time reading and reflecting. Sometimes I get stuck in these thought ruts (which usually have to do with basic elements, as you all may know) and it's hard to pull something else out. But I do think of many other things, they just get stuck in my head sometimes. :D

Pedicures with the Girls

I am just sitting back a bit today, recovering from this bout of stress and sore throat (and bed bugs).

So I'm gonna relax with my sister and girls (and my sisters friends) and paint my toenails (something that I don't do very often).

Maybe I will even get a shot of my foot (I think my feet are kinda cute). :D

...OI' did the pedicure thing, took a picture (I'll have to upload it later). I'm feeling kind of drained out today, empty of words, took me forever to compose a few e-mails.

One thing that happens to me when I get sick is a feeling of insecurity, and I have this feeling of not wanting to do much. Yet feeling like I should somehow, that I should be better than I am. Like I am an empty person, uninteresting, it's illogical I know.

Sort of like I would like to fill others up, and be filled up with their words as well.

I think I need more rest, so off I go. :D

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Thoughts Today

Today is a new day!! I am happy when things get reordered as they have been because it makes life a lot more interesting.

If you've followed my blog you will notice that about every other post a while back was me asking the question "what am I supposed to do with my life?"

Well I found what I am supposed to do, write!! :D

Really, it is very funny that I spent all of this time earning a degree in Accounting and now I want to write.

The thing is though is the basic question of where it's going to go. Because, that is probably why the more practical side of me focused on getting a degree in accounting.

I could write all day, write stories about my life, make up poetry (which I have found is a weak spot currently), develop articles about health stuff (which I like to do... ;p)

Even when I was sick I was writing stuff.

I guess the thing to do is to find a class or something. While I am looking and waiting for the opportunity, I will just write my heart out and enjoy it. ;D

Oooo, happy news!! My dad brought me a bunch of blueberries, fruit (oranges and apples) and veggies. So, so nice, puts a smile on my face. :)

The lympth nodes on my throat got really swollen up the past couple of days for some odd reason, doc. said it was a virus not strep. so there were no antibiotics to take.

I'm feeling better today, having all sorts of happy good feeling vibes coming on (the nodes are still a bit swollen and sore). I better not over do it though.


Hope everyone's well out there!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sorry no Shoot-Out I'm Shot again!! :D

Well, I am absolutely shot, plus I can't find the dag gum camera.

But I have been seeing red... poison ivy rashes that is.

My son had a case of it last year, and it's come back again. My dad took pity on him and bought him some calamine lotion (Reminds me of a song from girls camp...).

Of course he might have caught it by going rummaging around in the brush (which he likes to do).

Speaking of rummaging in the brush, have any of you been camping and been told that the toilet is in the brush?

Well... we were hiking once as a family. On the way back my brother and I needed to go... really bad and my dad was dawdling around somewhere. We were pestering my mom about it and she said to go in the nice clover patch over yonder (though not in those words and she deny's ever having a part in this). So we went in the clover over yonder... and had a fun encounter with the poison ivy. Itchy, itchy scratchy, scratchy oooo...

When we got home we had baths and the hot water both aggravated the rash and oddly made it feel better. Then we got some calamine lotion to put on it.

I've had other encounters as well (since I am an annoyingly explorative creature). My brother as well has had his turns with it... in fact there was one incident when he was trying to "prove" that some poison ivy wasn't poison ivy to a kid on our street.

So they were arguing about it and the next thing I know they have taken off. I went to find them and found my brother vigorously rubbing it all over his legs and arms!!
I screamed at him to stop but something seemed to possess him, I got it on my arms as I was trying to stop him. Ooooo, brothers!!

Here is a picture of the result (D' had his picture taken as well... but I don't feel like digging it up).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prairie Roots

Open wild prairie and dessert.

Dawn breaking over the horizon, lightening from a pale yellow to an azure blue, awakening the earth to yawn and stretch forth with the warming sun.

A word painting... moved over to my writing blog (need to keep more writery stuff over there I think).

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Why does history tend to repeat itself?

Well for one thing, do any of us (or most of us) take time to study out the personal history of our parents, try and learn from their mistakes?

I think some times we are too busy trying to heal from their mistakes. Or we are mad at them, or just think we can do better.

Plus sometimes what they have learned doesn't seem to apply to our situation.

Maybe we should spend more time teaching kids history eh?

My own little daughter is starting to do things that I remember doing. One of which is a slightly amusing reminder of the way that I would get my parents to let me do what I wanted to do.

My daughter is an extremely nice little thing. I am starting to notice though that she asks for things in a kind of practiced, nice way, and I have been letting her do what she wants. Thus she has been doing what she wants and she is away from the family a lot and hasn't been doing as many chores as her brothers, tsk,tsk So I've gotta watch that!! :D

So in extrapolating the thought out about learning from our parents, I was thinking about law makers. They are constantly repeating the same mistakes as their predecessors.

Perhaps they should be required to study history, a lot.

I believe that is how the United States government got off to the right start. James Madison effectively locked himself in a room with books on government and history for several weeks before drafting anything for the constitution.

Plus the men who all convened together to draft and approve of the constitution were all learned men.

The only disappointment to me about the constitution was that it did not abolish slavery outright.

But then that is how a lot of things happen in government. Often things are not taken care of because they are an accepted fact, and idealism is often put aside. Sometimes that's how it has to be (unfortunately).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sister say's I'm a hippie...


I guess I need to re-write my profile description. My little sister says she can't read it, that I sound like a hippie!! :D

I guess I kind of am. I need to write up some adventures of Shannie and Annie, (and actually Danny as well, my brother) we were quite the earth children.

We used to hang out at a little shop called Ako Ako (or something like that). It was a little hippie shop full of incense, hemp purses, and natural beaded jewelry. They had curious rings and jewelry. A big picture of Bob Marley on the wall, and Jimmy Hendricks as well.

We called it the "Blue Door" because it was literally a blue door hidden in the midst of other more appealing shops.

We used to haunt the shops downtown, especially the run down deserted ones. There was an interesting sort of "mini-mall" which had unique shops in it.

We once had a serious discussion between us cousins (our other cousins had joined us) about going to Alaska to become salmon fishermen. We discussed this because we were sitting around in a sunken seating area, which used to be popular in the malls around here but they have since taken then out of most of them, and one of us was scanning through the ad's for "Help Wanted" and that was one of the options for a job.

I still remember the curious smell of stale air and a hard to describe "old building" smell. Center street was an area of decline for quite a while, until the current mayor got into office. I'm not sure if this little place is still there, or if it is where they took out some buildings to put in a Marriot hotel.

We loved it anyway. It had mysterious stairways which led to the uppper level that wasn't open to the public. The hallway sloped upward past all of the stores to the other side where you could exit out the back.

Many of the stores were empty but a few businesses still hung on. They had one store dedicated to all things Scottish which I loved to haunt. A curious shop full of sparkly things, a coin shop, a material shop, a few restaurants.

One of the little restaurants was a Chinese restaurant. We would order egg drop soup and pop (because it was cheap). Then write ridiculous songs on the back of the napkins.

There was actually another interesting store down the road a bit from there that rented out tapes of music from around the world. I wanted to rent some but was a minor (they didn't trust me, for good reason). :D

The music was interesting though, I am still drawn to all of the different musical styles out there. Plus different languages, though I have yet to discipline my self to mastering one.

Mostly we would walk barefoot down the street in our cut-offs and hop on nearby patches of grass, when our feet got to hot.

We had many adventures involving torturing the neighbor boys, by doing really random things like giving them strange pictures for their interpretation. Jumping up to pat their heads as they walked (actually suck their brains with our hands - evil grin. We were terrible flirts).

Hanging out in the wild back yard and oddly throwing salt over our shoulders (for good luck).

Alrighty, that's enough revealing information for one night. ;p

I will put up a picture that was on Ako Ako's door later,(which I was surprised to see on someones blog) because I am up at my mom's. :D

Alrighty it's later...

Here's the picture

Actually this is a good depiction of how I feel when I start to talk about this time in my life.

At that point in life I felt aimless, drifting, and I suppose somewhat selfish.

I get nervous when I think about how I was at times. I guess in some ways it was fun, doing random things, hanging out and writing songs about flowers.

But in other ways it was unnerving. Not taking anything seriously, doing whatever we pleased without regard to what others thought of us. What was most unnerving about this was how selfish it led me to become.

I suppose that is the crux of things. I don't like being selfish because I care about others and I don't like myself when I am selfish.

I sort of think that a bit of the hippie movement was about being selfish, doing your own thing, free love and drugs. I think it was a mindset that ruined a lot of peoples lives.

I have been thinking about changing my profile description. Though I think it is a very good description of me, it came from a poetical moment that I was having. I think that it is not a full enough description of me, because I am not all mountainous streams and wild strawberries (though ya' all know I love them and would love to hang around up at Strawberry Reservoir hunting for wild strawberries).

Hmmm... I guess we shall see what comes to me to put there. :D

Culture Shock

When I first met the Tongans, as I stated before, I thought they were either black or Hawaiian. So I had a lot of misconceptions about them.

One of the peculiarities that I have actually observed in the culture of white people (or a lot of them) is that they are fascinated by the Polynesians. Given that the Polynesian boys make good football players, it elevates them in peoples eyes to a strange kind of wonder and reverence that I have observed in some.

In a lot of instances, when Sam has been about doing regular things, like going into the store to buy french bread. People stop to talk to him in breathless wonder mistaking him for a BYU football player.

He and his cousin were in the store the other day when this happened. They held a long conversation with these girls (which Sam told me about later) pretending to be football players from many years ago (they told them they played in 94' so that the girls wouldn't catch them by asking their names... as if they were current players).

I usually roll my eyes when Sam tells me about these things.

One of the peculiarities with Tongans is that they like to joke around like this. It used to drive me crazy!! Sam would tell me with all seriousness that he had lost all of our money, or that he had been in an accident.

Once when Sam brought some New Zealand sausages, which he boiled and ate with "Siamene," or "Top Raman," (cheap wheat flour noodles). I was eating one of the sausages which were very good, when Sam said in a dead serious voice "did you know those were made out of Kangaroo?" I stopped in mid bite and looked at him, "your kidding me?" He assured me he was serious. Though I didn't believe him, I could not eat another bite of the sausages. Maybe that was his plan...

I really hate being put on like that.

A few instances of culture shock stick out in my mind.

I went with Senita and her mother once to visit Sam's grandparents (before I knew Sam). They lived in a tiny house on a hill, hidden from view from most of the world.

In fact I they have lived in several homes like this since I have known them, and they often stay with relatives, with us for about 6 months.

One of the things that struck me about their home, was that it despite the minute size and absence of possessions, they kept it very clean and orderly. There was an enormous clock on one wall that was in the shape of part of a mans watch. They had hung very lacy curtains in the windows, there was tapa cloth on the floor (a plastic version) and everyone sat on plastic chairs (like you would find at a municipal building).

I could feel the differentness between us very strongly, plus I knew they didn't like me. Both feelings have disappeared over the years.

They were boiling some type of meat on the stove and taro root in another pot. In fact sometimes when I have visited Tongan homes a distinct stench will eminate from them... this when they are cooking horse meat. (Yuck!!)

Some other instances involve the first time that I went to a Tongan eating, which I neglected to tell before. Near the end of the event, my neighbors suddenly started collecting food in styrofoam containers. They filled them to overflowing, and looked about for more.

I felt that they were committing an enormous faux pas and was embarrassed about the whole thing. I was used to pot lucks where everyone brought home their own leftovers and dishes. Plus I was also used to lady club meetings that I had gone to with my grandmother.

I later learned that they always do this, they expect you to take home as much food as you can carry and that they are insulted if you don't.

A few peculiarities of Tongans that I have observed are that they have this culture of what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine. It was very bad living next to them because the daughters were klepto's and stole all sorts of stuff from us. Stole to us, borrowed to them.

In fact just yesterday someone from Sam's rugby team took off with his sandals. The usual things that get lifted are CD's, clothing (like shirts, shorts, and shoes), basically any thing left lying around, though there are some limits over here.

This is a real annoyance to me at times, though I haven't had to deal with it as much as my sister in law who had a lot of the relatives living with her at one point.

Another thing that is interesting is that in Tonga, they have very bad record keeping habits. Sam really doesn't know when his birthday is, and like I said I could still be a Lavulavu (though we had to change the name because of his uncle with the same last name... did some shady stuff and got a bad reputation).

Sam was baptised three times because they kept loosing the record, and even when he got over here they couldn't track it down in the church system.

There is also a big tension between Sam and I over corporal punishment. In Tonga, they smacked, beat and hit each other.

If someone didn't show up for a family function they would be hit, Sam was beat once in the middle of the night because his Aunt had told his uncle that he had stolen money from the store till.

He has told me about skipping school once and being caught by the police which smacked their behinds until they were raw and didn't want to sit down.

In fact when we were first married, we showed up late to a family birthday party for his brothers little girl (who had turned one, and first birthday's are a big deal to Tongans).

I saw his uncle breaking off a branch of the tree and Sam didn't want to get out of the car, so we backed out and came by another route. In fact Sam let me out with the kids and returned later.

In fact almost every day Sam and I clash over the difference between American child rearing and Tongan. He sees the example of my parents and the poor attitude of my sibling over helping out and other things as a failure of different methods of parenting.

I am still fighting to do things another way, a way that involves limits and time outs (he's caught on recently and Roxie has found herself sitting on the floor crying until she said sorry just a few days ago, plus she gets her nose on the wall when she is naughty).

When we go to family things, or events at the Tongan ward, I usually end up sitting alone. Or I did until I made better friends with the other ladies. That is because, the men hang around together helping with the food, doing odd tasks and helping to clean up.

I was hurt by this for a long time, sitting alone, until I finally figured out what was going on. Basically I felt insecure surrounded by Tongan ladies who I felt were judging me (and they probably were), but now that I know more of them I am more at ease at these kinds of things.

A peculiarity about the prisons in Tonga is that they do not lock in the prisoners. In fact during the day they hop over the fence and go work with their family's then they return at night. Sometimes people stay at the prison to eat, just because they want to.

Well, I guess that is enough "Culture Shock" for one day. I will write another time.

Ofa atu'

An Explanation of the Tongan Presence in Utah

I've found an excellent article which explains the reasons behind the presence of the Tongan's in Utah. I will post an excerpt bellow and a link. Basically they are here because their ancestors answered the call to "gather to Zion" as many of my own ancestors did.

The explanation of my husbands presence in Utah is the same and different from the reasons given in the article.

In 1995, during an early morning jog with my neighbor Senita, I learned that a group of her cousins were coming here soon from her island. Tonga at this time was still a vague idea to me.

She mentioned also that one of her cousins named Samuel after her father might be coming as well. At that moment I imagined him in Tonga, amongst the palm trees, in the lush vegetation and swimming in the ocean. The thought occurred to me, what would he think about me if I went over there to meet him, it turns out that he came to me.

Several months later I went up to the airport with them to pick up the cousins. A group of about six guys got into the back of their suburban, I could sense the essence of their foreignness. Their clothing hung loosely on there muscular frames, they wore sandles on their feet, and they had put gel in their hair which I could smell as I sat facing forward in the back seat.

On the way home from the airport, I listened to their thick Tongan speech. They made exclamations over things, one of which I noticed was when we passed a game of basketball being played.

At some point during the drive I felt tugs on my long blond hair, I turned around quickly and they all sat with innocent looks on their faces. I turned back around and could hear their nervous laughter and teasing tones in their voices.

I later learned that my husband was the one tugging at my hair, because he couldn't believe that my long blond hair was for real. :D

The explanation for their presance here is that they had come to work for their uncle, as concrete laborers.

This is what Sam has done ever since I have known him, he studied the people he worked for and has become very good at it.

He completed renovations on an airport down in Carbon County, Price, last year. However stubborness, the Tongan tendancy to trust word alone, a general inability to keep track of expenses, and the failure to get a contract (despite my repeated warnings) has led us into financial ruin.

With the down turn in the economy, there has been little call for concrete work. Trying to think of another natural interest of Sam's I thought of Personal Training as a career path and investigated that.

He is doing well in his classes despite the language barrier, and I hope that it will be a better choice of career for our family. There are many benefits that come along with working at the gym, besides for the gym pass. :D

He can eventually work for a sports team, or he can help train the police, or he can go into physical therapy, or he can go on for other training to perhaps become a police officer like he has always wanted to be.

There ya' go... a bit of personal history, as well as history of Tongans in Utah.

South Sea Islanders In Utah

Though Polynesian immigration to Utah is primarily a twentieth-century phenomenon that started after World War II with the arrival of a few Tongan and Samoan families, emigration from Polynesia to Utah actually began three-quarters of a century earlier. Mormon proselytizing in the Pacific started in Tahiti in 1844, three years before the first Mormon pioneers reached the Great Salt Lake Valley, and soon expanded to other Polynesian islands. Like their American and European counterparts, these converts from the Pacific islands wanted to join with other Mormons in building Zion. Often arriving with returning missionaries, they came a few at a time, beginning in about 1875. Marked cultural differences inhibited their integration with other Utah Mormons, prompting the LDS Church to purchase land to provide them with a specific gathering place. On 28 August 1889 a company of between fifty and seventy-five Polynesians, mostly Hawaiians, founded their own unique Mormon colony on the 1,200-acre Quincy Ranch located in hot and dry Skull Valley, twenty miles southeast of the Great Salt Lake. There they settled, naming their community Iosepa, meaning Joseph, after Joseph F. Smith, an early Mormon missionary and church leader in Hawaii, and later a president of the Mormon Church.

The townsite of Iosepa was surveyed, land grants were made to each family, and the colonists built homes, public facilities, and even their own aqueduct and irrigation system. Poplar and cottonwood lined the streets. Ponds were constructed where carp and trout were raised, and experiments were conducted with growing seaweed and other traditional products that were absent from this new desert environment. The residents raised livestock and farmed, and eventually cultivated nearly 1,000 acres. The population grew, supplemented by occasional immigrants from Polynesia. But the necessary hard work, exposure, and even a bout of leprosy resulted in a high mortality rate that kept the population at just over 200. In 1915 plans were announced to build a Mormon temple in Laie, Hawaii, and Mormon church leaders subsequently encouraged the Polynesians to return to their Pacific homelands.

Perhaps Utah's Polynesians could be better understood by classifying them in two general categories. One comprises those "more westernized" cultures--the Hawaiians, Maoris, and Tahitians--which historically experienced earlier and more intensive contact with European cultures. The other category includes those "less westernized" cultures, such as the Tongans and the Samoans, which experienced less and later intervention from the outside. In twentieth-century Utah, these historical differences have resulted in two very different experiences in terms of assimilation, acculturation, and the maintenance of cultural tradition.


This is a word painting combinining thoughts from two walks on clear days. The first part, some thoughts while heading back from my long walk, the second while out for a walk on a beautiful cloudless night.


Are we asleep or awake at this very moment? Walking down the pathway, the embrace of the universe, open clarity. Looking out in glassy eyed wonder as the stream thunders past, as the planes fly overhead, as the trees stand in perfect stillness in their place.

Sometimes I wonder, on days that are clear, whether, I am in a dream or whether I am asleep. It is as though the world has yet to be enlivened, that its spirit is at rest. It is at these times when I feel the breath of the earth as a living entity a soft kiss against my skin.

I am waiting in breathless anticipation for a revelation of my own essence, the clarity of the sky seems to be the open conduit to the heavens and though I walk amongst the open aired wonder of trees and birds, mountains and streams, my soul is aware of the spirit of all that I pass.

Awareness, I feel the presence of others as I pass aware of their awareness. I feel their eyes on me as I walk, the clear day having turned to inky black night.

I am aware of the shuffling sound of my steps on the pavement, the halted conversations as I pass, the slowing down of cars as they see me, the silent conversation between pedestrian and driver as I look towards a car to convey my intent to cross. I don’t see them inside, but I know they have picked up the signal.

I am aware of the people in their homes, and the homes where no one lives. What essence enlivens a place, fills it with a spirit that can be felt by those who pass?

I am aware of the cats as they slink along in the trees. The trees that I reach out to, to touch the buds of emerging leaves, lightly feeling them against the tips of my fingers.

I am aware of the blood coursing through my body as I push it to go up the hill, the muscles as they warm to their task, my breath as my lungs fill to compensate for the exertion.

The hill rises before me, the power lines overhead course along as though they too are moving. They move against the clear dark sky and the image of the warrior, revered from ancient times comes into view.

I turn around to descend and feel as though I stand on top of the world, aware of my place, a soul in the vast universe. Connected with the feeling of the ground beneath my feet and the air as I walk dances along my arms and against my face, picking up the strands of my hair.

The feeling encourages me to run, run down the hill, forcing the breath of the earth to increase, forcing my hair to trail out behind me and the wind to rush against my ears. My own breath increasing again to match the increase of speed as I rush down the hill, feet tumbling over each other until I reach the bottom.

The silent wanderer heads towards home again, wondering at the reality of each step as I go. Wondering as I gaze up at the moon, at the clouds which are making their silent pilgrimage across the sky.

As I open the door to my home, the sound of the television, the hum of the refrigerator, the greeting of my children all seem more real than the world which I have left. The world where my spirit fly’s aloft in the sky’s.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tongan Funeral

In September of 2007 a truly tragic thing happened to the Samani & Lavulavu family.

My husbands aunt Talite had six boy's and one girl. In 2007 her oldest son Etikeni and his wife Treshel were driving home from a family reunion on the notorious Highway 89, when a drunk driver in another truck going in the opposite direction crossed over the meridian into their lane. Their truck was incinerated, there was not much left of them after the crash. The pictures on the news were graphic.

This truly tragic event was to be my first experience with a Tongan funeral up close. I had heard about them, read about them, but the actual event was and is difficult to explain.

Here is as close of a description as I can get.

We immediately went over to Talite's eg. The Samani household. I am very close to her as she is one of the most generous and loving people that I know. She has helped me many times by watching my children and she is always interesting to talk to.

When we arrived at their house the first thing I noticed is that people had immediately found black clothing to wear (I too had put on some black). There were people milling about in their yard and on their front porch, and even more in their living room.

It seemed as though everyone there was able to weep profusely, but at the moment my tears were lost somewhere. When I walked in and saw Talite's face they started to flow and I hugged her. She held me tightly sobbing on my shoulder calling "thanks Annie, I love you Annie" through her tears, she held everyone in like manner.

We sat awkwardly around the living room, so many large bodies in so little space. I perched on the edge of the couch with Roxie until someone offered me their spot on the couch.

His Aunty Mepa kept repeating that he had just been to her house and left food on her table with a note.

After a while we realised that there was nothing at the moment to do, so we left them.

The next day I came back and found that they had cleared the living room of all of the couches and had cleaned the house from top to bottom. They had laid tapa cloth all over the floor and a few women were sitting around eating yams and chicken.

This was the beginning of the wake.

I learned that there would be someone there at all times, to receive visitors for the week, leading up to the funeral. There were men out cooking, I learned that the best food would be prepared later on, when more visitors would arrive. I could come back later.

I stopped by over the next couple of days, they had the same routine night and day. The woman sat in the house or made other preparations and the men cooked continuously, their efforts changing each day.

Then a sort of final wake was to occur the night before the funeral, so we all prepared by dressing in black for the occasion.

When we arrived at the house, there were so many cars that we had to park several blocks down. We got out and walked in the receding light and I watched the dark branches overhead as we passed the trees on the street.

Several groups of people were converging on their home and people, mostly men, were milling around in the yard.

They had set up a portable shade in one part of the yard with tapa mats covering the ground, their were more mats in the house.

Some people were eating, and they offered to get me some food as I found some of my sisters-in-law and sat down with our baby Roxie.

There was an air of expectation as we waited, it grew heavier as the time passed and nothing happened. Nothing but rearranging bodies and waiting.

I sat there patiently and tried to gather from little comments made in English and some of the Tongan that I know, what was going on. My sister in law Tresha didn't know either and the Tongans around me seemed distracted and anxious, not willing to explain. Sam was in the back cooking and the children were running around.

Finally something happened, a group of people showed up in several cars. They got out and I noticed that besides their black clothing they were also adorned in tapa mats, tied around the chest, the women had whale bone combs in their thick hair and gold flashed from their teeth when they smiled. (A peculiarity of many Tongans is that they fill their front canine teeth and other teeth with bits of gold, including my husband).

They opened up the backs of their cars and brought out copious amounts of blankets and mats.

The family group all stood on the sidewalk and up the front walk all holding the blankets and mats. The leader of the family called out to the house a traditional Tongan greeting/chant.

Those in the house answered with a chant, then the blanket holders chanted a reply and started to walk into the house. When they got to the front threshold of the door the leader called into the house and they were all permitted to enter.

I heard more chanting in the house. Then this group left carrying food and another showed up and the ceremony was repeated. Until several groups came and left in a similar manner.

In due course the occupants of the house came out to the portable shade and sat at the head of the group on the Tapa cloth. Everyone bowed their heads as Talavoa Samani, the head of the household, gave a very beautiful prayer.

Afterwards, it was very late. There were people there who were going to be there all night but with the kids there I couldn't stay, so I gathered up my kids and we left.

The next day we arrived at Talite's house first to offer our help, but I suppose that they had things under control because they sent us on up to the church. The funeral, it was held at a really large chapel. There weren't very many people when we arrived, we walked past the caskets. On the floor in a t-shape was some Tapa cloth, some of it in front of the caskets and some up the isle.

Their were pictures everywhere and a copious amount of flowers. Next to each casket were a few chairs, placed to honor family members, and to receive the mourners. These they did not end up using, since they have a rather large family, on both sides. So they had Etikeni's family on the far side in the front few rows, and Trechels family on the other side.

As time passed the chapel filled up quickly, so many people in fact that there were people out into the hallway. Members of each family spoke and then another traditional Tongan cry was called out by Etikeni's brother. It was a long mournful cry, filled with emotion. The congregation called their reply and then started to sing hymns in Tongan accappella.

When the Tongans sing accappella, it is always beautifully done, they spontaneously harmonize.

At this point the mourners were making their way towards the front to pay their last respects, I was holding back to wait for the bulk of the crowd to go past. I went to find my daughter Angela, and spied my sister in law Tresha. We stood off to the side observing the procession of mourners, never have I seen so many at a funeral. She was looking for her daughters as well. My other sister in law Volasinga (Vola) came over to us looking for her daughters.

I finally spied them. They were walking with the mourners, clasping their hands together and crying copious amounts of tears, sobbing really. This made Grandmother Lavulavu cry all the more and she stood up to join them.

I suppose that we had all been in a bit of shock, and their open show of emotion brought many people to weep. This was talked about afterwards with great appreciation, Tongans really like it if you openly cry like that.

I decided to get into line with Tresha and Vola. I was having trouble crying, I some times do. Eventually we made it to the Samani's and I did cry as I hugged each of them, especially Talite.

Afterwards I gathered up my children, except Angela who wanted to be with her cousins. We went out to the car to leave, and as we left we were handed food through the open window. They gave food to everyone who left in like manner.

This funeral was actually modified to accommodate Trechels family, and the fact that we were in America. So it wasn't quite as traditional as it would have been, had we have been in Tonga.

One of the differences is that the Tongans bury their dead in Tapa cloth and mound sand on top of their graves. The family visits often to take care of the grave.

This is a picture of Etikeni and Trechel

These Sam's family attending a funeral for his aunts little daughter in Tonga. The little girl with the red scarf like thing (I think it is a lava lava) is my sister in law Tresha's little girl, she was raised by Sam's aunt Molieta.


I don't know how many people know this about me, but I am a very stubborn person.

(Uh, and so is my daughter Roxie... she sat on the floor for about 5 minutes crying because I told her she had to say sorry for hitting me before she got up. It's not like she didn't understand me, I could see her little mind working and every time I asked her to say sorry she would say "No" and continue to cry... STINKER!!)

Today I was out clearing up the yard, in which we had a large fire pit (refer to previous post about said fire pit. I guess it was a really nice one, but it was situated in a bad spot I thought, because it blocked a part of the yard that would be nice to have clear.

So being stubborn I decided to move the fire pit back a few feet. So I went out there and started chucking the large stones back, then found that someone had reinforced said fire pit (I think the neighbors husband) by putting large pieces of asphault (of which were my nemisis since we moved in here, but finally got cleared up by the fencing guys...) and concrete around it.

So being stubborn I took a shovel to pry up the asphault. I got them pryed up and even got a really large piece (about two feet wide)to where I wanted it by rolling it on it's side.

Then having put things in place, I started to rearrange the stones, when suddenly one of them came down on two of my fingers, bruising one and smashing apart the side of the other!! The immediate response I guess was endorphins flooding my fingers and my brain.

So, in shock, I almost blindly went into the house. Somehow navigating around the garbage can and Sam's toolbox (which was from his truck). Getting into the house, I went up the stairs where I turned on the water and sort of lay against the counter with hot water running over my fingers. It was all I could do to turn on the cold water and lay there with my head on my arm while the water ran. I started shaking and almost passed out.

Luckily Angela followed me into the house to see if I was alright. She got me drinks of water (after I recovered a bit and sat on the floor) and the first aid kit. My mouth felt like cotton.

She also got me a camera so I took a picture, it dosen't look that bad actually because the skin is in the same position of where it usually is. The other finger is turning a bit purple. But... I am not sure you all want to see it. :D

After cleaning it up I had to take a bath (because I was dirty all over). Now for some odd reason I am sitting here blogging about it. :D

Actually some of my stubborn habits are rather amusing. I have some really amusing stories from both childhood and adulthood. Basically if stuff is not getting done, I do it, even if it seems like too large of a job for me.

I have kind of gotten stuck with the garden though. We have a big problem with morning glory, so although we haven't gotten anything planted yet... it's sort of alright because the stuff's growing everywhere and we would now be weeding everything at this point.

What needs to happen is getting a hold of a lot of peat moss, manure, and organic fertilizer to till into the soil to turn it to be more acidic (morning glory loves the alkalinity of our yard) then I think we need to get some black plastic to cover things up to discourage the weeds (though I hate the thought of using a whole bunch of plastic... which will photo degrade into our soil).

I have another problem... grrr. I guess it's because of my monthly visitor, walking a long time yesterday and not getting enough sleep (I guess being on the computer doesn't help either) but I think I have gained about 10 or 15 pounds in like 2 or 3 weeks or days even (because seriously I fit into my clothes a couple of weeks ago and today I can't find anything to wear, grrr).

This happens I guess from time to time then I consider going on Weight Watchers again (because I lost like 10 pounds in the first week when I went on it before)... but then things go back to normal. I DON'T KNOW!! Being a woman is annoying!!

Now I've got a headache, my hairs wet, skin feels dry and sore for some reason, got stuff to do... never mind about it. :D I just wish someone would show up and take care of things sometimes. (You know?)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Friday Shoot Outs - Public Transportation... or not? :D

Well... this week the assignment was "Public Transportation/Alternative Transportation" the only thing we have around here are cars and buses... (and I didn't really want a picture of a UTA bus).

SO I decided to show you a slide show of the "Provo River Parkway Trail..." (a public path that many people use to get around without a car) I went on a really long walk to show you a portion of it... (If I turned around and went the other way it would go up into the mountains. Another walk for another day) :D

Here's a few pictures (To tempt you to watch the slide show) ;p

I know one of the "gang" is going to hog tie me to a tree for this, but... I just couldn't help myself. (Sorry, sorry that this slide show is so long, I am begging on one knee for an appeasement). ;p

I also uploaded these pictures to Photobucket... which took forever. But I made comments on almost all of them. The last part of my walk was the most surprising, as I hadn't been down there in a long time. They made a new road somehow going into a previously enclosed parking lot to Paul Reams park... of which I passed up then came back to (where I used to hang out with my brother). Another neat part of the walk is where you can look up from beneath into the railway ties. The baseball diamond at the end is part of the Fort Utah commemorative park and the Tongan Rugby practice field is there as well as a skate park. What looks like a grave stone in part of it is actually a marker stone for Fort Utah.

I hope you enjoy!!