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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One More Day til Revolution

Today is my last day of "finals."  After writing 45 pages worth of essay in one week (and plenty more in the weeks before that) I finally finished my last paper of the semester this morning at 3am.  All I have left to do is study for and then take my Statistics final, which will take place this evening from 7-9pm.  I feel like I am already finished!  It's a testament to how much I hate writing essays that a day full of stats studying feels like absolute freedom to me!  I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and it has never left.  To make things that much better, I found $20 yesterday, we got a huge Christmas present package from family with lots of nicely wrapped presents to put under the tree, my "Artisan Bread of 5 Minutes a Day" book came from inter-library loan, I finally realized than I get three weeks of Christmas break instead of the three I had assumed and gosh darn it angels are dancing.

During the break I look forward to cooking, baking, cleaning, exploring the city, photographing beautiful Philadelphia churches, spending time with friends, spending time with Tom, spending time with Kitty, sleeping, doing nothing, working out with Tom, drinking hot chocolate, thinking about the meaning of Christmas, getting caught up on my Young Women's responsibilities, taking my time, oh, and updating my blog!  The only things that could make this break better are being able to see family (anyone feel like coming to see me???) and Tom getting a job for Christmas.

I love you all.


My favorite church in Philadelphia (building that is).  I'm sure it was even cooler before lighting struck the tower and destroyed it.  I shall photograph it myself soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Craigslist Posting

Alright, so I'm working on my Craigslist posting for my foster kitty and in order to insert images between my text I have to take the images from the web.  So, I am using my blog to get the images on the web.  So, you can see my add too if you'd like!

Here it is:

Looking for a kitten to take home for Christmas?
This adorable little 9/10 week old kitten could be your Christmas kitten!  He doesn’t have a name yet, but has plenty of personality.    
He is both very playful and very cuddly!
He is litter box trained and almost never meows.
He is shy, but when he warms up, he is very curious and is great entertainment!  You can get rid of your TV, because he is just so much more fun to watch!  This is one endearing ball of fluff.
He needs a loving forever home that will treat him like family!  If there is any chance that this is not you, please don’t apply!
Kitty has been / will soon be spayed, microchipped and fully vaccinated and tested negative for Felv/FIV.  He will be ready for adoption by Christmas!

Currently, the ACCT adoption fee for kittens is $50.  ACCT is also currently running a special where you can get two kittens for the price of one.  So, if you’re looking for two kittens, there is no extra price!

If you’d like to meet him and see if you would be a good match, please email me at the link above!

So, would you be convinced by this add? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So, Kitty has gotten really funny lately.  I think he was just sick our first week, so he mostly slept, but not he is a playing maniac.  It's hilarious to watch!  Instead of describing it, I'll just show you.  These video obviously doesn't catch his hilarity perfectly, but they're a good taste of it.  I still need to catch his pounce, then bounce away sideways move and how he bats the aluminum foil ball around the house like a champion soccer player, but for now, these will have to do.  Also, sorry for the bad video quality and the fact that usually the cat is kind of in the background.  I don't have a real video camera, so I'm using photo booth and I can't stick it right next to him or he gets nervous.



And, of course, some photos:

Also, we've come up with some name options, but none have stuck yet.  Here are some we've come up with:

Asparagus (Gus for short), Physysics (joke from the show "Psych," and pronounced Fiz-EYE-sicks),

 Mendelssohn (like, there's Felix the cat, and there's Felix Mendelssohn, the composer), Filbert (Philly for short, for obvious reasons), Dumbledore (though we'd rather not call him "Dumb" for short), Hugh, and some cool soccer player's name because he's so talented with batting the ball around.  Tom's nieces and nephews also came up with Catsford.  Thoughts, suggestions?

By the way, kitty is currently falling asleep right next to me as I type this.  All that backpack attacking tuckered him out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So, a mouse showed up at our house (or maybe two, who knows?) and it's been the best thing to happen to me in a long time.  I feel bad for Tom, because mice are his second greatest fear and he's been about to pee himself ever since, but other than that it's been great for me.

First, the day the mouse appeared, I didn't have to walk home from school because he picked me up so we could go to Home Depot for rad eradication supplies.  This was a double bonus because it gave me an excuse to gawk at all the Christmas stuff which pretty much made my day.

Then, when we got home, I found that he had completely deep cleaned the house.  Yes!!!

The next day he offered me a 15 minute foot massage if I'd put rat poison in two one of our cupboards (he was too afraid).  I didn't even suggest the massage and would have been happy to do it, but hey I'll take it!

On top of that I got all kind of praise just for walking in the door first each time we came home.

All of these perks were definitely appreciated, but the biggest perk is that finally, after wanting one our whole marriage, we got a.......


Now, we're only fostering him, but still!!  Isn't he adorable?  Yeah, he's about 6 or 7 weeks old and super precious.  We are taking him in so that he doesn't have to wait at the shelter for someone to adopt him.  He gets to wait at our house, instead.

He's super scared though.  When I took him home last night he ran away from me and hid behind the bookcase.  I figured it was best to leave him be and just put his water and food and everything over by him.  After a while he started to peek his head out, but as soon as I looked at him he'd pop it back in.  Then, with time he'd just leave it out and kind of fell asleep back there.  I was so proud of him when he finally got the guts to take a few steps out and eat some of his food.

Here he is peeking his little head out at us.
The real fun came though when we got in bed.  After we were there for a while, but before we were asleep he came all the way out and started wandering around!  I was afraid he'd be behind that bookcase for days.  He gingerly went around the whole apartment (not saying much) and inspected all the fun stuff we have.  

At first we were highly enjoying his exploration, but this also coincided with a near constant stream of meows that only stopped for very brief moments.  It was a completely sleepless night, punctured with occasional poo cleanup since he wasn't onto the whole litter box thing yet.

The second day and night he got a little better about sleeping, litter boxing and letting us near him, but we were still pretty worried about how it would all work out.  The kitty really almost broke Tom and I had to face the thought of having to return him to the shelter if he didn't get better.  But...

Fast forward four more days and voila!  He's now a litter box champ, he doesn't make a peep at night and he and I are quickly becoming best (or second best) buds.  He likes to cuddle up next to me at night and he barely flinches now when I got to pet him.  He pounces on invisible mice and chases his tail.  He likes to climb on Tom's back and hide between Tom's sweaters.  He still isn't completely used to his new home yet, but MAN has he made progress!  I'm really loving our new friend and I'm so glad we waited out those first few miserable, sleepless, worry filled days.

Here are some more pictures!!!:

He's a very spiritual cat.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Communication is Underrated: Taiwan's East Coast

Well, part of the reason it has been so long since I have updated is that I just had no idea where to start!  It has been a little daunting to think about.  This post will just be about a trip that we took and then whenever I get the next chance, I'll try to wrap up Taiwan altogether.  Eventually, I'll tell you about what's actually going on with us right now!

Anyway, the trip was with a family in our ward (church congregation).  I'm not quite sure how it came about because they don't speak English and we speak hardly any Chinese.  I'm sure you're wondering how going on vacation without any communication works.  Well, it's interesting for sure.  Basically, we never had any idea what was going on or where we were going.  They would try to explain, it wouldn't work and we'd just indicate that we didn't care.  Eventually we'd get somewhere and sometimes would be like, "oh, thaaat's what they were saying," and sometimes we'd still just be confused.  Alright, so let's begin!

Day 1 started with us meeting them at 5am, piling into their van and driving for a few hours.  They have two little boys, aged 3 and 1.  In Taiwan, seat belts aren't seen as essential, so the 3 year old just wandering around in the van.  We became good buds, the three of us.  Also, we were driving through VERY windy and thin mountain roads at breakneck speeds.  On top of the terror involved with that, we were sitting in the back seat and were constantly being jarred up and down.  I'm not complaining about this though, because it's all just part of the adventure.  I assure you that most of the time we were just cracking up about it.  Below, you can see our first stop:

The way it was explained to us, is that it had something to do with the ground shaking.  We never really did figure out what it was though, because we never got it.  We drove up, talked to the guy (about what?  who knows!) and waited around for a while.  Then, we drove to a place I'll show you below, where we took a bit of a hike.  After the hike, we came back, waited around for even longer and then we eventually left.  I couldn't tell you what the problem was.  We just did what we were told and went with it.

The van.

There were some pretty entertaining pictures displayed there.  This one's for you mom.

We assume this is demonstrating what happens when the ground shakes...

Ok, so below are pictures of the place where we hiked.  It was quite nice.

Some water buffalo.

Tom with "the older one."  Don't ask us what his name actually is.

So, these pictures are a bit out of order here, but this amazing bug flew up while we were waiting at the earth shaking place.

Please take some time to notice his shirt.  Also, he carried around the plant that's in his hand like all day.

This is the little one.  We kind of know his name.  It sounds like "Shao Sheen."
After we left the shaky place for the 2nd time, we drove around for a long time again.  Then, we went to  this place where they cook a whole chicken (and I do mean completely whole) in a big tin can thing, on top of some fire.  If you saw my post about the English camp that I did, I talk about it there too.  Anyway, we don't get grossed out by it, but I think a lot of Americans would.  The dad loves all the innards the best.  We stuck to the breast meat.  I love the picture below, because I feel like our facial expressions are so accurate.  

 Then, we went to this really cool High School.  I think we were there to meet up with some of their friends who work there.  It's an athletic high school, so the kids just do sports all day.  The facilities were AMAZING and better than most good college sports facilities.  Like, way better.  I would have LOVED to go to a high school like that.  No pictures though, because my battery died after the shaky place, so the rest are from the dad, whose English name is Andy.

Here we are playing a simple but obviously extremely entertaining game where he hits my leg and then I pat his back.  Repeat.
After the high school, we had 2nd dinner.  This time at a cool aboriginal themed place with the friends from the high school.  They had dancers and everything.  The food was pretty good.

This whole day was VERY exhausting.  Like, on the one hand, we really enjoyed ourselves, because it was a great experience and we really thought the family was great, because they were doing all of this for us and they were so nice.  On the other hand, it gets exhausting not having any clue what's going on or when you be done driving or walking around a high school or whatever.  And sometimes you just want to get to the hotel room and be alone, ya know?  So, after the dinner, we drove for a while longer, all the way up this windy mountain.  When we got up, we checked into our hotel.  We were really hoping that would be the end of the day, but then we went on a little hike together.  Then, they said we could go in and change, etc., then come out like an hour later (around 11pm) and we'd go on another little hike.  We couldn't imagine why we were doing this, when we figured they must be tired too, but we said ok.  It turned out that there was some kind of eclipse or something.  So, after that, sometime after midnight we went to sleep.  Of course, then we met up at 5 am so that we could watch the sunrise.  

If you click on this, you can see us, on the left, sleepily watching the sunrise.

We were SO tired, but the sunrise was pretty sweet.  The location was especially nice, looking down over this very green tropical mountain to the ocean below.

Then, we went on a hike up this windy road that went along the side of the mountain.  There were some pretty nice views.

There's a boar in that cage up there.  Apparently they're a big problem in the area and are very mean.

Isn't Tom endearing?
After the hike, we were given a little time to go shower (read: sleep) before breakfast.  After breakfast, we took a bunch of pictures around the hotel.  The hotel was pretty cool, by the way, because it was situated on the edge of the mountain and had this amazing view.  See below:

Then we went on another hike:

After the hike, we packed up and left.  We drove for a while and then went to this...natural food place.  Basically, they grow a bunch of herbs and other things and built a really cool and informative (if you speak Chinese) museum/activity center around it.  They also had a store and a restaurant, which we ate at.  We ate so much unfamiliar food on this trip.  A lot of it was good, but there's just something about new food.  You can eat a little, but after a while it gets really overwhelming and you're body just say, "Ok, this MIGHT be good, but I just need something familiar for a change."  Like, even if it's good, you have to get used to it before you really like it.  We secretly brought some snacks that we stashed in our backpacks, so whenever we'd eat something strange, we'd just pop in a pringle or something afterward.  

Anyway, the other thing they have at this place is a bunch of animals.  The best part of that was the ostriches (or emus, who knows?).  People would hold out some vegetation to them and when they'd grab it, MAN they were powerful!  It was scary and cool.  Also, they are really strange looking.

After that place, we just drove home.  It probably took like 5 hours or something.  Of course, we had to stop at this rest stop and look around at the bridge that crosses the street and the playground and everything first.

Here we are on the bridge.
When we finally got back, we went by their house first.  We were so ready to go home, but we had to settle for going inside anyway.  But it ended up being good, because the dad (who's a chef) showed us how to make this really yummy warm drink that involves milk, Taiwanese brown sugar and chocolate.  

Then we drove home!  In the end, it was a really great trip with some VERY nice (and cool) people.  We are amazed at Taiwanese hospitality.  Where else can you go and have people who can't even communicate with you take you on vacation?  Truly amazing.