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.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Forgot a few

Ok, in order to understand this blog, you need to read Harry's blog from today first. He listed the many many animals that we have taken in over the years, and their imaginery cost to him. He admits not listing them all, but I just couldn't believe he would forget these guys. In his defense, he does have one of Jax and himself. This one is of Jax and Doobie. Yes, we named him Doobie for the reason you might think. He was a mentally challenged cat, who had the noted skill of eating from his dish while pooing similtaneously. Mmm, yep, guess who got to clean that up? I'll give you a clue, it wasn't Harry.

And then we move on to endearing family member number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. That's right our cat Cuda was just a tramp, plain and simple. Here she is with her nursing brood of kittens. You get to guess again, who had to clean out the litter box? Well, you'd be wrong, I had to go to LA with Harry for surgery, so Sarah and our poor neighbors had to do the massive scooping. One day we came home from work and heard this squeaking noise under Sarah's bed. Huge Cuda went from rotund to rather skinny with 7 babies at her side. Sarah was in kitten heaven.

And on to family addition #10, that we just can't leave out. BABY EMMA ! Yeah, Sarah came home from NMC one day saying there was only 2 puppies left under a building at NMC and could we please adopt one? Knowing Jax was getting old, I thought it might be the right time to introduce a new dog to the family, and hopefully Jax would have company in his old age and be able to teach her how to be a good dog. How silly am I? Jax just wanted her to go away. And she had to get a dog training collar to learn how to be a good dog. We told Sarah, ok, we'll take her, but Sarah had to clean up all the puppy training messes. To her credit, she did clean up most of them. Here's the fat little girl dog.


As the fall dinner approaches I was remember-ing our past dinners. Yes, this is the 3rd annual dinner already. I came across this picture while reminiscing about the old dinners. This is Rachel and Bryan. Rachel lived next door to me for one year on Saipan. For a whole year, we laughed, played with our often rowdy dogs, we cried, we shared some of ourselves. It takes me about a year to let a person get to know me very well. I must have trust issues. I realize the policy with some long termers is not to get to know anyone until they've been here for 4 or 5 years, and they plan on staying. I guess the thinking is that it takes a lot to invest in a friendship, and when they leave after a short time, it's heartbreaking and you have to start all over. Well, I've taken a different view on that. I feel I should enjoy the moments I am given with the people that God brings along my path, even if I know that person will only be around for a short time. I'm so glad I did that with Rachel. She's a great person, and I'm guessing we'll be lifelong friends, even if she doesn't live here anymore. Our family sure misses her, but we're also happy to hear about her new life in the states. Most of you probably know Bryan. He's a long termer. Bryan hung out with our family from the time he arrived on island. Even after getting married, he still hangs out with us now and then as they have become adopted family members. He and Hozumi are always a part of the fall potluck dinner parties, too. So I guess the fall parties have become a time to share good fall American food with Saipan "family" and long term and short term friends. I definitely have some treasured memories so far.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Kiss

The Kiss

She is pregnant, he had just saved her from a fire in her house, rescuing her by carrying her out of the house into her front yard, while he continued to fight the fire. When he finally got done putting the fire out, he sat down to catch his breath and rest. A photographer from the Charlotte , North Carolina newspaper, noticed her in the distance looking at the fireman. He saw her walking straight toward the fireman and wondered what she was going to do. As he raised his camera, she came up to the tired man who had saved her life and the lives of her babies and kissed him just as the photographer snapped this photograph.
A friend from Michigan sent me this picture and story. Lately, I discover that I am touched by the oddest things. This is one of them. Harry's story about the turtle that followed him around last weekend is another. Sometimes the innocence, intelligence, and open affection of animals helps to overcome the lack thereof in humans. Anyway, I cried and smiled at the same time - at this photo. I hope you enjoyed the story, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I was watching the lightening storm last night after dinner. It was just spectacular! I just curled up in my nightshirt and sat out on the patio and watched and listened to the loud, vibrating thunder. It's hard not to be WOWed by God while watching and listening to His fabulous display. Emma was just giddy with joy running around in the rain, trying to figure out a way to snap at the "fireworks". You just have to wonder about a dog that jumps after fireworks and lightening, but runs from your house guests. Sheesh. Anyway, I just had to smile at the wonder of it all. I also enjoyed the fresh smell of the rain and the coolness of the air. In the states, fall is coming, so my friend wrote me about the temperatures dropping in the evening, the days of cool air approaching. I was slightly envious. I remember being in LA with Harry while he was getting one of his surgeries. We went walking everywhere for long distances and just truly enjoyed it because the air was always cool and refreshing. We actually walked so long that my feet and legs hurt. It was so nice. So last night I just sat on the patio, breathed deeply cool refreshing air, and enjoyed the wonder of the lightening and thunder. Great stuff! The pictures are from the NOAA Photo Library. I was so caught up in the storm, that I didn't think to take my own pictures.

Job 37: 2, 4, 5
Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that comes from His mouth.
After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard.
God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.

Psalm 29: 3
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Here they are! Pickles had her two puppies, both boys. They are just too cute. I'm sure Laura is excited as she sent me an email with the subject "grandsons". I had to laugh. Pickles looks like she is recovering from her bad hair cut. While I love puppies, I'm still glad that Emma is neutered, and we don't have a truckload of puppies at our house. Yeah, she wouldn't just have two, like Pickles, no she would push out 7, I just know it. And this island just doesn't need more unwanted animals. My salute to the PAWS group for their dedicated work in assisting the animals of our island. Perhaps through education and example, we can stop the animal cruelty here. It would also be helpful if we had affordable medical care for our animals, but that's another topic.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Sarah and I have really enjoyed our quilting classes on Tuesday nights. Joan is a great teacher, and she encourages us to do our own thing. She's right there to guide us and to offer advice. Since this is our first time quilting, we are just thankful to have Joan as our teacher, and that she has been willing to offer the classes. I never expected that I would get the opportunity to learn quilting way out here. So it's been a real blessing to me. And it's a great time for Sarah and I to spend together designing our table runner for the fall dinner potluck. In this picture, Sarah has just finished applying the fusable webbing to the back of our leaves. After this part, we arranged the leaves in the design that we wanted on each of our squares, then fused them onto the blocks. We have been working on sewing around the edges of each of the leaves with gold thread. It looks really nice and the sewing is really fun, too. After we complete this portion, we will begin connecting the squares and batting. Our project is simple, but we wanted something easy for our first time. And we wanted something we could have finished for fall.
Here's me arranging the leaves on my square. I have made some progress sewing around my leaves, but I think Sarah has twice as many completed as I do. Maybe I can get more done tonight. Sarah works on her leaves while watching tv in the evenings. I need plenty of light to see what I'm doing. Well, I'll probably post a picture of our finished product next. I'll keep you posted.
In other news, some friends arrived back from the Philippines with my new dance shoes! Yay! They are a perfect fit. It's really nice dancing in those, I'm so glad I got them.
Have a great work week!

Monday, September 10, 2007

September 8 Scuba Dive

Yes! I did it! Harry took me scuba diving at Lau Lau on September 8. Here I am swimming with the fish. Yes, I know, I don't look like a "good" diver because my arms are out. But it's been so long since I went diving, that I kept reaching out to the fish (not touching them) in fascination that they would swim right up to my mask and hang out near me. Yes, I was just enjoying the sheer wonder of weightlessness and swimming with fish. Harry kept the dive easy for me, so we only went to about 60 feet.

I got to see this baby lion fish. So cute. It was only about 3 or 4 inches long. Harry was hoping I would see a turtle, but there weren't any around that morning. I'll probably have another chance to see a turtle, as I'm sure I'll be diving again. I won't wait so long this time. Since I'm not in the greatest shape, hauling the gear is still hard for me, but it's great once I'm in the water, of course. So I won't ever be the regular diver that Harry is, but I'll still get in the water now and then. This was a fun accomplishment for me, so I'm really happy that Harry took me along.

September 8 is a memorable day for me, as it is also my son's birthday. Happy 24th Josh!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Well, I was hoping to have a picture for this post, but maybe I can put one up later. I really enjoyed the long Labor Day weekend. Harry and I hung out together on Saturday, which is always nice. Saturday morning we visited the Seventh Day Adventist Church. We got to watch Bev sing with a group. They did a very nice job. Then we went to lunch at Truong's, just the two of us. After that we just ran some errands and I cleaned the house while Harry caught up with some photo uploading. Saturday night Harry, me, Sarah and Chris met Bryan and Hozumi at the Aqua Resort for the all-you-can-eat fresh shrimp night. The food was very good, and we had a good time telling Aqua stories (Bryan and Greg have a good one, complete with a special song) and laughing and just enjoying each other's company. Then Harry and I headed to the airport to pick up Pete, who is back for his regular 4 months on the Lummus. Sunday morning was our usual bible study then lunch. Harry met us at Oleai for lunch and then went diving with Hozumi in the afternoon. Sarah and I spent the afternoon at Marianas Resort, enjoying the perfect day of sunshine and relaxation. We headed back home in the evening for our movie and popcorn night. We couldn't find a good movie to rent, so we ended up watching Dracula Dead and Loving It. Gruesome, but funny. And it was so good to know I could stay up and watch the movie and NOT have to work the next day - Yay! Monday morning I had toast made with fresh Hyatt walnut bread, yum, then ended up eating breakfast again with Mike and Harry at Herman's. My walnut bread was definitely better than the second breakfast (just stuck to toast). When I got back, Sarah wanted to go out to eat (again) so we headed up to Coffee Care. We had their Monday tomato soup - very good! Wow, this sounds like a marathon eating weekend or something. Sarah and I worked on our fall table runner quilt in the afternoon. We are having a lot of fun putting it together. We went to the afternoon show at the movie theater and saw Stardust - that was a fun movie. So, all in all, after all that food and more food, we did manage to do a number of things together. It was a very enjoyable weekend for me. I'll try to post a picture of the progress on the fall table runner soon. At our quilting class Tuesday night, we began stitching around the leaves with gold thread. It looks really nice.