Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was in elementary school, I used to walk from my home there and back. Let's just say that while the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, I quickly found out that a few detours were more interesting. That is until I had to go to the Principal's office for being tardy (that is the word they used, I was never late, just always tardy).

Today was such a beautiful day that I decided to walk to the office.

Diane gave me the simple directions, "Take a left out the gate, another left on Linears and your office is on the right in a couple of blocks".

But on MY walk to the office, I saw a fly-fishing shop...

A gym where they were working out to 70's disco music...

A little fine art...

A few motos on the sidewalk...

I even saw a law office...I instinctively reached in my suit pocket for a red pen before I came to my senses and kept walking...

I walked by a children's park and did not stop...

After dodging a little bit of traffic, I made it to the office...

And I was not even tardy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mi Amor!

August 25th is Diane's birthday. It is probably going to be low key here on the mission, right?


Something is definitely different about yesterday and today...

Good-bye Resistencia...

Hello and good-bye Corrientes...

Monte Carlo, where our son Chris served in the province of Misiones, hola y chau...

Yes, we celebrated Diane's birthday at Iguazu Falls!

The view from our room...

This is real jungle...

The trail through the jungle to the falls...

The falls...we'll just let them speak for themselves...

How close were we?

So close that when Diane walked back down for this shot...

She came back soaking wet!

Afterwards we had a great dinner and in the morning, the chef delivered a birthday lemon pie for Diane's birthday!

So, we did ok for Diane's birthday this year...and I still have a few surprises left for 2012 and 2013!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Alfajor A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

So what does the Mission President eat for lunch?

A cheese sandwich, a banana, an Alfajor* and some nice bottled water to wash it all down. When I was a young boy I would come home from school and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich with chocolate milk every day. If you are going to be a creature of habit, it is best to have good habits!

* Alfajor: In most American alfajores, there are two layers of cake and a filling in between. In Argentina, its basic form consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with mousse, dulce de leche or jam and coated with black or white chocolate (many alfajores are sold in "black" and "white" flavours) or simply covered with powdered sugar. There is also one variation, called "Alfajor de nieve", that instead of having a white or black chocolate coating, it has a "snow" coating. The "snow" coating consists of a mixture of egg whites and sugar. Peruvian alfajores are usually coated in powdered sugar, as seen in the picture, and are filled with manjar blanco. Most alfajores come packaged in aluminium foil. In Mexico, they are made with just coconut, and are normally a tri-color coconut confection. In Nicaragua, they follow more in the lines of the Canary island type of alfajores and are made with molasses and different type of grains including corn, and cacao similarly to most chocolate bars, though hand-made are just as accessible and generally packaged in plastic wrap or wax paper.
Other varieties of alfajor include different elements in the preparation of the biscuits, such as peanuts; they also vary the filling and coating and even add a third biscuit (alfajor triple). (Wikipedia)

This is what I am talking about!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

All The News That Is Not Fit To Print

Here are a few things that have actually happened that you will not read about in our blog:

1. Ray "nudged" a motorcycle in an intersection...and after the motorcyclist had a few choice words the two parted company without police involvement.

2. Diane called the stove repairman because she kept on burning rice and thought the burners were broken. The repairman said to just turn the knob a little more to get the flame lower as nothing was wrong.

3. In Diane's prayer she said she was grateful to cook the Intendenta, when she meant to say she was grateful to meet the Intendenta. (that is a textbook Freudian slip if I ever heard one)

4. Ray went to the Resistencia International Airport to pick up two missionaries who had arrived at the Corrientes International Airport.

5. Diane thought she bought shortening but checked the label again (using Google translate) when she got home only to find out it was processed cow fat!

6. Ray thought Brother Fernandez was President Fernandez and mistakenly called him President Gonzales which thoroughly confused Ray, Brother Fernandez, President Fernandez and President Gonzales, who was standing a few feet away and heard Ray call his name.

7. Ray thought the cool air icon (a little snowflake) on the heating/cooling unit was the heat icon (a little sun) and turned the unit on full blast, left the room and came back to what was for a short time the country's largest icebox.

8. Diane tried to "self administer" a little hair touch-up, went to Walmart and bought some dye, applied it and looked in the mirror to find that her roots had turned orange!

9. Ray pushed the button to lower and close the garage door while the back door to the HiLux was raised for removing items...this caused the garage door to wedge against the car door...requiring a little surgery to release and then fix both the garage and car doors.

10. The National Police actually stopped Ray at a checkpoint and made him blow through his nose into a breath analyzer to see if he had been drinking. Although it was weird and they stopped everyone, he was confident he would pass because he does not drink and has never snorted alcoholic beverages either!

So, that is the type of stuff that happens that you will never read about in our blog!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Mission President's Office

Here it is...pretty basic stuff.

La puerta.

La mesa.

Mi lugar para reflexionar...con el televisor de seguridad.

Mi escritorio.

El tablero cerrado con sus secretos!

El tablero abierto con los misioneros y sus asignaciones!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thank Heaven There Are Only 24 Hours In A Day

This morning Diane and I had an 8:00 am meeting with the Intendenta of Barranqueras, Alicia Azula. It was drizzling and we had to get up early to get there, but it was worth it. The only problem was that her aide thought he was taking pictures with our camera, but he didn't hold the button down long enough, so we do not have any pictures.

I then spent the day in the office doing some organizational work...

I also began preparing for the next missionary transfers in 2 weeks...

I met with some missionaries...

I pondered the deeper things of life...

Then I day dreamed about some of the even deeper things in life...

And then I snapped out of it and came home for a few hours. At 12:30 Saturday morning (in 2 hours) I go back to the Resistencia International Airport to pick up Elder Juan Avila of the Seventy. He and I will be in meetings with the local leaders tomorrow and Sunday in Resistencia, Roque Saenz Peña and Corrientes. We will leave around 6:00 am in the morning...little sleep. We should have a good time driving and meeting with the people.

The flights to and from Resistencia are very unreliable and are frequently cancelled, so when I go to the airport I always hope the plane is arriving! A long day...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Secretario de la Culpa

My son-in-law Tim's cousin, Tyler Francis, has been serving in this mission. He had been the Secretary to the previous Mission President, Pres. Del Castillo, and a Zone Leader. For the past several weeks he has been back in the mission offices helping me organize my books and records for the 50 branches and 10 districts in the mission.

We needed a title for him, so after several attempts (Secretary of Technology, Secretary of Photography, Secretary of Stuff) I settled on Secretario de la Culpa, which means Secretary of Blame. So anything that went wrong in the mission for the past several weeks was Elder Francis' fault. Today he finished his mission and went home.

Here he is when we arrived.

Diane made a "little meal" in his honor tonight, attended by his amigos, the office staff.

What he thought was our final photograph together in the mission home.

Until Diane surprised him at the bus terminal with a batch of his favorite home made Oreo cookies. He just happened to have a copy of his grandmother's recipe and it found its way into Diane's hands.

And he is off...we will miss passing all of the blame on to the Secretario de la Culpa!