Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Boxes, Boxes Who's Got the Boxes?


I mailed two boxes from US the day I left for UB (OK, my suitcases were way over)--due to the fact that even if one can get certain goods in Mongolia, this does not mean the goods are worth having. Ex: exploding lightbulbs, towels that totally unravel in the first wash, bogus Mary Kay products, etc. Then there are the things you just cannot get: many spices, wax paper, shampoo in English (hmm...for dry hair or oily in Russion?) etc. Now, back to the boxes.

Since I mailed them airmail (only option now available from US) and things often arrive in less than 2 weeks, I started to be concerned since it was now a month out. Randy arrived home last night with both boxes. One arrived yesterday and one the 16th. I am about to question Randy on why the one came on the 16th and we were not notified, but he gives me "The Look;" i.e., y'all ain't from around here are ya? look. (Of course I had no way of knowing what had just transpired in the underground parking garage when he arrived home--another story, another time.)

Fast forward: the one box had been in the post office in UB since the 16th because they did not know to whom it belonged. As you can see in the photo, Customs opened that box upside down. The mailing label was on the bottom side and no one thought to flip the box over. Yep. Stupid me. From now on, put a label on both sides of the box. Or maybe all four.

I do not have an answer as to why the one box made it in 2 weeks and the other one month. It just wears you out, you know?

I do not make this stuff up.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Last Weekend at Terlj


Got to spend more time outside of smoky UB last weekend. This time Randy had to wire the kitchen in the Dome Home, so we were there both Sat & Sun. Plus a room was available in the Lodge! (There are only 5 and then lots of gers--no windows, smoky and dudes come in all night to stoke the fire. Sound romantic? It's not.) Anyway, inbetween meals I had loads of time to hole up in our nice room where every single window's view was like a postcard. I had my iPod & player, so Mozart & I enjoyed a whole stack of books. I also took lots of hikes/walks. The scenery is just so stark and wild and that starkness and wildness seems to go on into infinity. 90% of the country is just that; countryside.


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From My Ger To Yours

I used this recipe to preserve my Valentine roses and it worked great (the roses lasted almost 8 days)! Plus, I had everything on hand (no small thing here in Ulaanbaatar).

Flower Preservative
1 qt lukewarm water
2 TB fresh lemon juice (OK, I used bottled)
1 TB white sugar
1/2 tsp bleach
Immerse stems in warm water and trim with a sharp knife or flower snips diagonally. Remove all leaves that will be underwater. Place in vase with recipe and fill with warm water as needed. Replace with fresh recipe every other day or so.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dome Home Update


Here's the latest on the Dome Home Randy is helping his boss build out it Terlj. Randy has been overseeing the electrical & plumbing on weekends for some time. The first pic is of Randy & the sight foreman, Amra. Yep, that's right, the foreman is a forewoman--and she is waaayy capable and can wield a jackhammer and anything else required--plus keep crews of nomads under control. The owner and boss, John, is in picture #2. Anyway, the home is 3 stories high and 44 ft in diameter. Interesting, eh?

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Terlj

We spent Saturday out in Terlj, an hour or so out of UB. It's wild & desolate (no 7-11 to be found) and so very beautiful. If you look closely at the first picture, you can spot a nomad, a horse and a ger. I love to come out here with a stack of reading and my hiking boots. Good for the soul, the mind and the body!


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day UB Style




This is our 28th First Date which occurred on Valentine's Day, 1979. The rest is history! We enjoyed a quiet evening at home--even though there was a big "doin's" at Millie's Restaurant in town, we prefer private ;)...and...Thursday night is our weekly massage night! Tsegi comes to our home every Thursday evening for fantastic Chinese-style massage. Ahh...but Randy gets the star; he braved after-work traffic (think New York traffic on steroids) and post-Tsagaan Sar shortages to track down beautiful roses and real truffles!
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Sunday, February 10, 2008

My 4th Tsagaan Sar

Below are pictures from Tsagaan Sar, past and present. Tsagaan Sar means "White Month" and while it coincides with Chinese New Year, it is very Mongolian in tradition. The first pictures were taken last week at the IWAM (International Women's Assn of Mongolia) monthly meeting. We had about 40 in attendance (good considering most foreigners try to be out of Mongolia in January when it's 30 below or so). Anyway, we had some special speakers outlining the holiday and the ways in which it is celebrated. I've also put on a picture of our farewell to our vice president, Janine, who was born to Taiwanese parents, raised in South Africa, and spent the last 9 years in Tansania before coming to Mongolia! For those of you who hear me talk about a dear missionary friend, Beverly, here's a picture of her receiving our special small project collection for her orphanage. Presenting is Evelyn, a Bolivian married to a Dutchman :)

I've also added a few pics of past Tsagaan Sars (this is my 4th!). You can get a glimpse of the traditional food and dress. One pictures my young friend, Tugsoo, who now lives in Durango, Colorado! It is a priviledge for a foreigner to be invited into a Mongolian home during this special holiday.

Enjoy!!

Tsagaan Sar!




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Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Trip Home


I had a wonderful time while at home in the US for the month of January. I spent lots of precious time with all six grandkids: Ben & Jana's bunch in Spokane (no panic--2 babies in the photo aren't real!) and Casey & Nikki's two angels in Denver. In between appointments and babysitting :) , I catch up with friends and family. This last trip I was blessed to get together with Craig & Julie! It's been years since we've been together but it was like we'd never been apart (we spent 4 1/2 hours at lunch!!). I'm afraid my pictures don't do justice to the kids--they are SO cute! I'm afraid photography is not my medium, but I'm determined to presevere with this blog, so bear with me.

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