Friday, December 28, 2007

Good Bye to 2007

2007 is almost gone. As I look back on this past year, I have to say, it's been a pretty tough year. But through all of the tough times, there have been good moments with great friends. So I am ending the year thankful - for many things, for the love and support of good friends, and for my family - Harry, Josh and Regis, and Sarah. I love you and I'm thankful you are in my life. May God bless our New Year!
Congrats to Josh and Regis on their new job offer in Tampa.
Peace and Prosperity in 2008 to each of you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quiet Time

I was just about to write a blog about taking a little time off from things - writing blogs, dancing, some other things. But before I wrote my blog, I read Harry's blog. He basically wrote the same thing. So yes, we're both taking some time for ourselves, it is much needed. I will likely not write anything for about a month. So I wanted to wish you all blessed holiday celebrations. Enjoy each other, your family, your friends. See you in a month or so.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I truly enjoy Thanksgiving. In fact, it might be my favorite American holiday. The part I like best is after we've all eaten a delicious turkey dinner, we go around the entire table and each person shares the things they are thankful for from the past year. It was touching this year, as some of us had some pretty rough days this past year. But we were able to give God thanks for seeing us through much pain, and helping us start over again. Some were thankful for new "friends", meaning new friends of the opposite sex. Ha. Some were thankful for good health. So when we came to Bryan, he said well, I'd say I was thankful for my "friend", but she isn't here, and I'd be thankful for good health, but I'm sick as a dog today. So by the time he was done telling all the things he could be thankful for, we were laughing pretty hard.
As always, I'm most thankful for my family. Harry, Josh and Sarah are the blessing and calling of my life. And they each bless my life in their own way, by just being who they are. And this year I was blessed to be able to take a trip to Texas to see my grandmother, my uncle and Josh and Regis. I also got to meet Regis's family. And I got to meet my Dad for an hour in the Detroit airport. I'm so thankful for the moments God gives me, and for all the joy He brings into my life. Even living on an island in dire economic conditions, there is beauty and joy and friends around. I'm very thankful for that.
Thanks to my Saipan family for once again sharing Thanksgiving with the Blalocks. Oh and Sarah, awesome cranberries this year!
Check out Harry's blog for more pictures from Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Visit Paradise?

Relaxing time on Saipan sometimes means a trip to the spa for me. On the pathway down to the lower pools, there are plenty of lush green tropical plants, this one with a few little bananas.

When you reach the lower deck and walk to the railing, this is your view. Some days the water is various shades of aqua, depending on the sun and clouds overhead. You can always hear the waves crashing on the reef line from here, though.

Here are two of the lower pools. The closest one is very cold, which is nice on a hot day. And the far one is warm, with a waterfall feeding it. It's very shallow, so you can just lay reclined in it and watch the ocean.

If you get thirsty out there, you can order one of these - an iced green tea latte. Mmm - they are so good and refreshing.

This is the cafe where you order the green tea latte. You overlook the jungle gardens and the ocean. It's very nice, breezy, peaceful. Unless of course someone sits next to you and lights up a cigarette, but then you just need to relocate and you're back in healthy peaceful paradise again.
Well, you might be asking, why did Kelli write about this? I decided I needed some visual enticement to lure some of my friends out for a visit. Did it work?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Company Anniversary Party

Tuesday night was our company's anniversary party. I was volunteered to be one of the VIP registration girls. This is a picture of me and the greeters for the party. Each of the girls standing would escort the VIP's back to the party and provide lei's for them. It was fun to dress up and visit with different people. The program was nice, but since I was working the reception desk, I couldn't fit inside the party, so I watched it all outside on a big screen. But that left me close to the buffet tables for dinner time, so it worked out. I don't think I've ever seen so much meat in one place, outside of living cattle wandering on a nearby farm (in the states). There were chickens, many pigs, meat, meat and more meat of every kind. Being a vegetarian (really just a non-meat eater), it made for an interesting challenge, to put together a nice plate of food. But I managed to find some soup, a piece of fish and a nice salad, and a dinner roll. For dessert I had some fruit and cream puffs. So all in all, it was a tasty meal for me. Some of the girls from work performed a nice dance routine that was fun to watch. And I got to share my table with co-workers from Fiesta and Cathy, so the conversation was fun, too. I was really tired by the end of the day, having worked for 13 hours - 8 at work, then 5 more at the party. But it's always nice to have a chance to chat with fellow co-workers from the other companies and with friends who attend the events.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Lately many of my conversations have led to the topic of peace. It seems many people I know are struggling with peace in their lives, in one area or another. While in Texas, Sarah saw a book in Walmart she thought I would like - Beth Moore's, Breaking Free. I read the back of the book, and thought it looked like a good book so I bought it. I began reading it before I went to bed each night in Texas. I have to say, it is one of the best books that she has written, that I've read so far. She covers a number of areas in our lives that are obstacles to peace. Not just obstacles to peace, but obstacles to joy, closeness to God, and abundant living. The book has been a real blessing to me so far, and I'm only halfway through. I plan to reread it more thoroughly when I'm done, but I'm excited to read it all right away for now. Anyway, it has led me to begin the process of removing obstacles in my life - that block my peace. I'm working on other lessons I'm learning from the book, too, but I brought up this one because it seems there are quite a few others of you out there struggling with issues of peace - in various areas of your lives. This is likely not any coincidence, that I'm meeting so many with the same thoughts and topic on their minds.
I guess there are alot of things happening on the island right now to disrupt peace, so I can relate, to be sure. But I found that it's not just my island friends that I'm hearing from, it's a fair number of statesiders too. So what is causing all the unrest? Well, it's a number of things, I guess. Some of you are just plain exhausted, working so much, keeping so busy. Those in the states who hear about my life on island, envy the peaceful, laid back life out here. Those on island envy the convenience, competence, fresh food, good conversation of the states. Maybe envy isn't the right word, it's more like each side is getting really tired of the things that wear down their peace and wholeness. So what did I learn so far from listening to friends and reading, and listening to God? Well, all of us are in dire need of refreshing. We need to find a way of rest and rebuilding, relaxing and, well, refreshing. Our bodies and our spirits need it. We can press on and on, but will eventually reach a level of discontent that moves us to make changes. I posted the picture above because it just says 'peaceful' to me - I'm with my son, the scenery is beautiful, the river is peaceful. So I guess I'm on another bit of a journey, this one is to discover more deeply the meaning and importance of peace in my life. I might keep you posted on the journey's progress. But if you see me around island, feel free to share your journey - I've heard from a few so far.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


At the beginning of our trip to Texas, we bought ourselves a bouquet of fall flowers. This is a picture of them two weeks later - still looking great. We truly enjoyed waking up to our colorful flowers every day.
Now that I'm home, I'm enjoying the rainy Saturday. It's such a quiet, peaceful sound. Very soothing. I had a good girl cry this morning, over nothing and over everything (yep, that is scary to guys, I know), but walking out into the kitchen and listening to the rain, and praying brought comfort. I'm thankful for God's presence and comfort - when I cry my heart out, and when I laugh out loud, and when I'm dancing or working or just being a wife and mom. I treasure all of the moments given to me, and reflecting on them sometimes brings tears, and sometimes makes me smile. But I'm just plain thankful - I guess is what I'm trying to say, without much success. So I'm looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, as it is custom in our house to share our blessings with each other during or after the meal. It's always a great time for me - I love hearing how God has blessed other lives during the year and hearing all the things they are thankful for.
Guess I'm rambling a bit today, trying to collect and process a few things. So I'll just post some more pictures from the trip. Again, I'm very thankful for the trip. I got to spend time with my son and daughter-in-law, my daughter, my grandmother and uncle, and my Dad who drove down to the Detroit airport to catch an hour of visiting time with me.
Thanks family - it was great.

Josh and Sarah on weird face Phase 10 nights.
Sarah and Kelli enjoying soup in a bread bowl.
Josh and Regis having lunch at McAlister's.
Kelli coloring in Kate's coloring book at the lake house.

Brief visit with Dad at the Detroit airport. Flying over Russia.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lake House Visit

I had the pleasure of spending some time over the weekend at a lake house owned by some of Regis's relatives. After many days in the city, it was a refreshing get-away. I got to enjoy things I haven't experienced in a long time. Cool, crisp morning air, lake water, the fresh smell of trees and lush grass. I laughed a lot at the dogs, all jumping in the lake and playing together. And I just enjoyed stretching out in the sun on the deck and chatting with Britney, Steve (who was shelling pecans from his yard), Josh and Regis. Steve's aunt, MaryLou, was in the house and joined us later.

This next picture is some hammock time, you can see the lake house in the background. f

Lake house, notice the Texas star and the wild flowers on the side. Everything was very pretty.

Dogs and Josh enjoying a swim.

On our way home, we had breakfast at Blue Bonnet Cafe. Notice our big plates of Texas breakfast.

Friday, November 2, 2007

More Texas Time

Josh and Regis at Red Lobster.
Josh, Regis, Teddie, John, Kelli, Sarah out to dinner in Austin. It was nice to meet Regis's parents.

This picture is for Harry. No, we didn't get to see it.

These guys were at Riverwalk playing the wooden flutes. Very nice.

A common site on our trip. Ben, Ty and Sarah - all on the same chair. The dogs have been fun. We took them to Petsmart and the dog park today. They had a great time.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Texas Trip

I am enjoying my vacation in Texas very much. I flew over to meet up with my grandmother, as I haven't seen her for many years. It was just so good to finally see her again. We talked about a lot of family history, and shared some recent events in our lives also. She was able to update me on many family members that I have not seen for years. In this picture, we are at Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. It was much easier for my uncle Jerry and Nani (my grandmother) to ride down the river to see everything, rather than walking the very long distance around the river. I'm here sitting next to Jerry, with Nani across from us. Nani and Jerry stayed for a day at Josh's house, and we all stayed up late talking and laughing together. It was very nice for me. That was my first day in Texas. After that, Josh, Regis, Sarah and I hung around together and visited a number of places.
Here's Josh, Regis and me at Riverwalk. We were just on our way down the path to check out the shops.

Some Riverwalk scenery.

Here's the girls. Regis (daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and granddaughter in law), Sarah (daughter, sister-in-law, great-granddaughter), Nani (grandmother, great-grandmother), Kelli (mother-in-law, mother, granddaughter). We bought ourselves a bouquet of fall flowers.

New haircuts for the girls.

Crab at RED LOBSTER for Kelli.
I'll post more pictures of the trip later. I wanted to take pictures of Whole Foods in Austin, but they wouldn't let me. It was beyond belief, especially to those of us who have lived on Saipan for very long. Yes, I'm eating plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. YUM.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fun Stuff

Harry got a new camera in the mail yesterday, so we were trying it out at lunch time today. That was fun and we got some good pictures while we were at it. The first one is my birthday gift from Hozumi. She took me "nailing". Or in American speak, she took me for a pedicure and nail painting. Her friend, Tomoko, does an amazing job painting little leaves or flowers or whatever. She uses tiny little brushes. It's just fun. So this year I chose a brownish maroon color (for fall) and asked for silver leaves. I have pretty toes!

It was Sarah's turn to try out the camera for this next picture. Digital cameras are just fun. I'm sure Harry is going to enjoy it very much. He sure got a lot of pictures out of our old camera. I'm taking that one to the states with me, so I can bring back pictures of our family.
So, farewell to the Saipan family for now. See you soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall Trip

I never realized how many mixed emotions you go through while getting ready to leave on a big trip. On one hand I am so excited to travel to Texas to see my grandmother, my son, my daughter-in-law, and my sister's family. Plus knowing I will get to hang out in fall weather (I miss that so much) and I'll get to go shopping in real stores, and eat real fresh fruit and veggies. Then on the other hand, I have to leave Harry for a while and won't be able to share the adventures with him, and I'm rushing to get things done at work, arrange for someone to look after some things, get the house clean, get my bags packed, and get a project finished. But I guess that's the nature of living out here - the coming and the going, travel, planning ahead for the finances, animals (Harry says they will go hungry while I'm gone - ha). This picture is my son, Josh. He's been waiting for my arrival for 2 months now. He has been counting down the days, calling every other day or so, to let me know how many days are left before I arrive. I have to admit, it feels nice to be wanted so much that someone counts down the days until you arrive. Makes me smile. He's a great son, and I really look forward to this visit. My grandmother is traveling from N Carolina to Texas to meet with me. It's a very long trip for both of us. I am so thankful for this opportunity. I'm also thankful for God's timing in allowing my sister to be able to visit. She is moving down to northern Louisiana, closing on her house at the end of the month. So that puts her in our vicinity right while I'm there visiting. Very nice. So I'll try to take a lot of pictures while I'm there. And I'll share my trip adventures with you, as soon as I can.

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 2007 Birthday

Well, here I am, officially celebrating being one year older. I say that with a smile, as I truly enjoy being this age. Yes, Harry will tease me for 4 whole days about being older. I am really thankful for my family, and my friends, who always seem to make this day a fun event for me. Harry and I enjoyed a visit to the spa to celebrate our joint birthdays, then enjoyed a nice homemade dinner complete with deep dish apple pie. Sarah did a great job with the dinner. Chris brought champagne and a great travel bag for my upcoming trip to Texas. You have to see this travel bag to believe it. It comes with a committment statement, yep. I already have my passport and eticket safely tucked into the bag. The beautiful roses are from Zandra. Harry got me a penguin black pearl necklace which you can see better in the next picture. And Sarah got me my favorite cologne set complete with travel cosmetic bag - so I'm just set to travel like a queen.
I met a group of friends the next day at Hamilton's Restaurant. We shared good conversa- tion, plenty of laughs, and good food. Hozumi brought me a plant she has been nurturing. Basil, that has been living in steer manure (alias cow poo) enriched soil. Bryan told us the story of seeing Hozumi out on the balcony with smudges of dark smelly stuff on her. He asked what she was doing with cow poo (not exactly those words) on her. She said it's not cow poo, it's steer manure. That got us talking about the many things that are lost in translation out here - like the Japanese version of "Shall We Dance". Let's just say Richard Gere cannot be portrayed well by someone else, and leave it at that. Hozumi is going to take me for my annual "nailing", too. But we decided to wait until this weekend, so they'll still be really nice for my trip. I guess I'll get "fall" painted toenails again. Many thanks to my stateside friends and family for the cards, ecards and phone calls. You all made it a very special celebration for me!

Friday, October 12, 2007


My birthday is tomorrow so I thought I'd write a quick note about my plans. I told Harry to go ahead and do his morning dive, but then we'd meet up in the afternoon and go to the Fiesta Spa together. I got us the Plumeria package - massage, body scrub, facial and flower bath. We always enjoy that. Harry usually trades in his facial for more massage time, though. When we get back from our spa visit, we plan to go home for a quiet family dinner. Sarah agreed to fix me spaghetti for my birthday dinner (my request). So it should be a nice relaxing day. I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I'm hoping Harry enjoys the day, too, since his birthday is 4 days later. Yes, I'm 4 days older. Yes, he teases me about being older for the whole 4 days each year. He has a story justifying his teasing. Today at work, I decided to bring snacks for my whole office. Almost all of my co-workers are Filipino, and I think it is their tradition that the birthday person buys a treat for everyone else. So I thought I'd do things according to their custom this year. I tried to buy some pumpkin and apple pies at a bakery in Garapan, but the purchasing process was taking over 10 minutes of my already ended lunch hour, so I bailed on that idea and went back to work. I thought about it and talked it over with some of the girls at work, and decided to run to Price Costco and buy a box of 40 ice cream treats and some cinnamon rolls. I think the staff all enjoyed that. We usually have pizza or bbq or heavy food, but I think they liked the ice cream snack for a change. My boss always likes ice cream, so I knew I was ok there.
Birthdays are usually fun, but I also use mine to reflect on life in general - the past year and future plans. I have a couple of friends suffering with serious health problems right now, so it has also been a time of being very thankful for my own health, and praying for them to be well soon. My Mom's birthday was just a couple weeks ago, too. I took the time to thank God for the years we shared with her. I still miss her so much (she's been gone for 12 years now), but I'm thankful I was blessed with a kind, gentle and loving Mom. Well, I'll try to post another blog next week updating you on our birthday celebrations. Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Soup, friends and bloggers

Sarah and I decided to make homemade vegetable soup last night, as that always sounds good on a rainy day. She stopped at the store to get more veggies, and was able to bring home a good amount of different vegetables. Yes, that is unusual, so we were really happy to chop, cut and season veggies for our very good veggie soup. We even had enough veggies left over for a salad. It was a lettuce free salad, but yummy just the same. We sliced up some Hyatt wheat bread and made it unto garlic toast. Mmmm - very good dinner. I'm always thankful for meals like that. I brought some leftovers with me today, in case I'm on my own for lunch.
Well, I've been enjoying my responses (to previous blog) from friends and two family members. Some made me laugh, others brought tears to my eyes with their stories. Thanks for sharing. I have thoroughly enjoyed the renewed contact and hearing more about your lives. I miss you all very much. Perhaps you'd like to come out for Thanksgiving. Let me know, we'd love to have you.
I have been reading other Saipan blogs, as I normally do when I have some time. The common theme I am seeing lately is a few "anonymous" bloggers out there leaving cruel, untrue or uninformed comments on people's personal blogs. How sad is that? Cowardly and mean, quite the combo. But I can the see the core group of bloggers have all come to the same conclusion. Block the losers. Good for you guys. Keep up the posts - I enjoy reading them.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kaye's Birthday

Friday night we celebrated Kaye's 55th birthday at the Mediterranean Restaurant. It was fun to spend the evening with Kaye and her friends, and enjoy good Mediterranean food, plenty of laughs, good wine, and some even enjoyed trying the hookah pipe. In the picture above Maggie and I are contemplating our dancing skills as the owner was soon to appear in full costume to show us some belly dancing moves. Maggie and I are admiring our "skirts", which were covered with layers of tinkling coin sized trinkets. After watching the owner dance, we were convinced we could not do it, but we decided to give it our best try. In the picture below, Kaye and I are concentrating on duplicating her moves - to no avail. But it sure provided for plenty of laughing.

However, Maggie seemed to master the art of belly dancing quite well. We were all proud of her! Shockingly, Chris also seemed to be pretty good at it. Here's Maggie, looking good - go girl!

I think Kaye had a really happy birthday. I know we all had a great time celebrating it with her. Happy Birthday, Kaye - and many more!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Testing, testing, can you hear me?

I just read Harry's blog this morning. It made me smile. But it also got me thinking about some things. I enjoyed reading all of the comments on Link Referral. How fun is that? Hearing from total strangers who enjoy reading about your life adventures. Now while that might be fun on it's own, what I would enjoy even more than that is if I got responses from friends and family in the states. I miss my stateside friends. I miss my stateside family. I would love to know what is going on in their lives, but coaxing them to share it with me is fairly unfruitful. I even went so far as to call an old friend on the phone, and ask them to email me. They did - once - one sentence. I'm sure we have tons to catch up on, but I guess it just isn't going to happen. So I thought I'd toss out a little tester. I decided I'd email everyone on my contacts list, saying, "read my blog". Then I'll wait for responses from those who do read it. That's right, I'm looking for responses from everyone, and not just one sentence either. I'm looking to hear about your lives. It's really not as difficult as it sounds. Just read my blog, think about what you want to share with me about your life, then sit down and write an email. I figured I'd give everyone until my birthday to write me a short email. That should be do-able. Well, I'm looking forward to this. I'll give you a report on how it went in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Project Complete

Sarah and I went to quilting class again last night. This time we brought our completed table runner quilt. Everyone really seemed to like it and complemented our work. It was alot of fun to share the whole experience with the group, and let them know how much the ladies at the fall potluck dinner also really liked the quilt. The pastor was kind enough to take pictures of our progress at quilting class. In this first picture you see us scanning the quilting magazines looking for the project we wanted to begin.

In the second picture, we have the squares connected and ready to take home to attach the batting and quilt the squares. After bringing our finished quilt into the group for review, we went through the pictures of new projects that Sarah had all picked out for us on the internet, and chose one to do next. We asked Joan first, if she thought we could handle the one we picked out. So we're off on a new project. We are truly enjoying the time learning, fellowshipping with the group and having some mom and daughter time. Here we are with our finished quilt. The next one will be kept secret until we finish.

We'll post that one when it's done, with pictures and the story to go with it. Thanks for sharing our quilting adventures.

Monday, September 24, 2007

2007 Fall Potluck Dinner

Welcome to the 2007 Fall Potluck Dinner at the Blalock home. This is one of the tables at the dinner, there were two others. After everyone arrived, we decided to connect all the tables like we usually do, and just have one big long table. But this table was graced with our finished table runner - handmade and quilted by Sarah and I just for this occasion. Of course, we plan to make another project in the quilting class, but it was fun having an event to make something for this time. The other tables had candles and cut out leaves from the quilt fabric. This year there were eleven of us around the table. We had vegetable soup and cornbread, Harry's amazing homemade stuffed mushrooms, grilled mahi in jerk sauce, homemade macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, apple crisp and pumpkin pie, ice cream, and carrot cake. Yes, it was all delicious. Thanks to all of my friends for bringing their yummy fall dishes to share.

Here's a picture of Harry's amazing stuffed mushrooms. They were awesome!

Here's some of the girls, having pre-dinner sparkling cider.

Here's a picture of the dessert group.

For our last picture, here's Harry relaxing on the couch, which is currently located in the kitchen because the tables were all in the living room. He worked hard, grilling fish, chopping, stuffing and making his stuffed mushrooms, and telling people to look in the pantry at my new rack- you'll have to read about that on his blog. Thanks again to my Saipan family that celebrates fall with me here on Saipan, as if that were a perfectly normal thing to celebrate on a tropical island.