Sister Rounds

Sister Rounds
California Arcadia

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Speaking of ALHAMBRA-isms...

Living in this place of Alhambra is quite cool.  It has some wonderful features, not the least of which is amazing weather in any given season.  The foliage and flowers are vibrant in every season.  Given its early beginnings of Spanish heritage, archways are a characteristic around Alhambra.  It is home to many railways systems, and so incoming roads over the decades have revised their routes to accommodate roads going over the top of railways, rather than having to wait for long trains to pass and stopping traffic for miles.  There are pots of plants on overpasses and climbing plants along highway walls, and they are lovely to pass.  Here are some photos to help tell the story of many "isms" in Alhambra...

This is a painted mural along a busy highway section on Mission Road.  It depicts the archway and railways that typify early Alhambra.  Wish it still looked like this! 

 Foliage can be found growing along highways, roads, and walks, even in the most crowded and used areas.  Continual sunshine does that for plants.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Colors are deep reds.

   Alhambra is now predominately Chinese, around 85%.  This is the look on buildings and signs around town.  You would think I would learn Chinese with all the opportunity.  NOPE!  Very hard!
And speaking of Asian culture, when I stepped into Alhambra, I entered a whole new world of assorted hats and umbrellas of every size, type, and color.  Unlike many Americans, Asians prefer to deflect the sun as much as possible.

Here's a fun irony.  This is the name of a supermarket.  Heh heh.

And I will never forget the sites along our 6 a.m. walks.  The homes, all different sizes, types, styles, are all meticulously kept.  It's actually quite a nice area, and feels super eclectic.  There are hobbit gates leading to backyards that beckon, and trees that look like they come straight out of Dr Suess.  The vines that grow up around front porches are magnificent, while stately homes with pillars make you feel like you are seeing George Banks' beloved home in "Father of The Bride."

Check out the truffula tree from Dr Suess! 

This is a home that is often used on movie sets.  Easy to see why.

Then we have our beloved Alhambra church, which houses both the English ward and Chinese branch.  It's a vintage church, built in the 1930's, with magnificent features, beloved by its members.  We look towards the front where the podium is and a beautiful stained glass, reminiscent of Weston Ward's depiction of the Savior standing at "the door."

 And toward the back, where we see overhead windows for "cry room" areas, also used as classrooms.  The ceiling beams are quite amazing, and something not often seen in churches.

A cool music stand, which I would guess supports many years of many layers of paint, but still has such character.

 And one of many "Hobbit" doors, another fun example of character seen in this old building, and one of those types of features we don't see in many LDS buildings anymore.  There are winding stairways and an old kitchen much like  the Denver West building.  It's a terribly inefficient, impractical and charming building, one beloved by its members and the community alike.

Alhambra-isms a pretty cool place to live, all in all.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Before I get too far past July 6, I want to make sure I make a record of the many blessed ways I was remembered.  I was seriously going to slide through this birthday quietly.  But I discovered there were too many wonderful people that remembered me and took time and effort to make their love known in my life.  
Even while I was still home for Jaimie's wedding, the children and grandchildren remembered with a backyard birthday celebration.  Sister Thurgood remembered, even though she had already gone home, and made sure there was a healthy contingency of people in LA to remember my birthday.  It started at the Employment Center...

and continued throughout the day with cake, cards, letters, calls, texts, gifts from parents, children, grandchildren, friends, and missionaries.

          HAPPY BIRTHDAY,             MRS. 58!!!

And during the course of my workday, what should be delivered but a beautiful bouquet of roses from my dear friend, Ruthe.

I want to remember how I was remembered with an entire drawers top full of remembrances...

and kind missionaries, tipped off by Sister Thurgood, that came together for a fun birthday pizza party before FHE at Shakey's.

And cute Sister Huang, who remembered my birthday with her own original dance version of a birthday wish...

How remembered am I!  

I feel so blessed to have been so remembered. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Speaking of LA-isms...

Some interesting and diverse geographical characteristics surface after I discover I've been living in a bubble for most of my life.  The longer I'm here, the more they become commonplace, and their uniqueness almost escapes me.  I don't want to forget how amazed I have been regarding such things.  Differences in LA that I won't find in my own beloved home valley:
  • Each morning at certain times of the year there is a marine layer from the ocean that keeps us from seeing blue sky much of the morning until it burns off.  You can feel the humidity from it, almost like a fog, but not so thick.  It is a result of living this close to an ocean, truly a unique blessing.
  • Each night (and pretty much through the day) are the city noises of sirens and emergencies taking place constantly.  I've discovered when there are soooo many people, there are also soooo many hospitals and medical facilities.  Thus, there are many emergencies and sirens that go past my work window multiple times daily, and also into the night-time sleep hours.  It's something to get used to.  Another noise is continual car honking.  People are in a hurry here, so they go at Mach speed from stop light to stop light, a block between each, to wait for a LONG light.  If you happen to wait a millimeter of a second longer than the light turning green, be prepared for a honk behind you.  People are laying on horns continually, and think nothing of rudeness about it.  Where I come from, it's rather rude to honk your horn so readily, but here, it's just normal and expected.
  • Though we're in a deep drought, the unique foliage is beautiful.  I never tire of the variety of palm trees and colorful bushes.  Even in the heart of Concrete City, a palm tree can be found here and there.
  •  There is a good system here for junk that people need to get rid of.  Few own a pickup truck, wherein is used to take junk to the landfill. Normally. I have no idea if there are even any landfills here, though big trucks take big garbage dumpsters to be dumped multiple times a week from our own apartment building.  But if people need to get rid of something they just put it out on the curb, even in the inner city, and someone will come along and take it, either for their own use or to sell it, or refurbish it, or get recycled money from it.  So each morning we can see trucks loaded to overflowing with just junk picked up from curbsides to take... somewhere.  I've seen old couches and chairs out on sidewalks to be picked up, or old metal doors, or broken a/c units.  You name it -- if it's too big to fit in one of these fancy high-performance cars, you just put it out on the curb and it will get picked up by SOMEONE.

  • I love the buses here!  They have to fit so many people on them, they are almost 2 units.  So to be able to turn a corner, especially with so much traffic on the road, they expand in the middle, like an accordian.
  They are seriously so awesome to watch turn.
  • The graffiti is a given, but there is a particular apartment community, with several buildings in the complex, and on the side of each one are these amazing murals that depict some cultural story or capture some important feeling to those in that unit.  There are about 25 buildings, so the murals on the sides are diverse and unique.  These are seen on our way to work in East LA.

That includes random murals on random buildings on the infamous "Soto Street," or Latin Mecca USA.

  • Sidewalk vendors.  You only need a product you think people will buy, a cart, and an umbrella. Then you  just set up shop wherever there's sidewalk space and hope to make a living at it.  And that includes the used-clothes-on-the-front-fence capitalistic venture also!  Sometimes the clothes are on there for days, but that doesn't matter, provided it doesn't rain!

You gotta love it, America!

  • And let's not forget about the juggling clown who comes randomly juggling into the middle of a BUSY intersection while the cars are stopped, hoping for a few dollars someone may toss him.  And if your doors aren't locked, careful!!  He's liable to just open the back door and hop in, thinking it's a fun trick that may bring a few more dollars.  YIKES!

  • And ever, and always, the traffic.  The endless traffic, and cars, and stoplights, and people, and...   you know, typical LA-isms.  Speaking of...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Now begins a new journey, a new era in the mission field.  I came back from a whirlwind but rejuvenating week at home for Jaimie's wedding and the birth of our new little Missy Petunia.  I got to meet two new babies in that wonderful visit, Alex Edmund and Chloe.  It was a hugely rewarding week on a number of levels.  Each day was so full I wondered if there was enough time to sleep!  The feeling of seeing all and each of my children in the temple together is too overwhelming for words.

Though it was good to be back amongst those whom I enjoy serving, it was a little difficult coming back to be alone.  After so few short months with dear Sister Thurgood, I knew there was still so much more to learn from her.  Her kind and patient guidance, her inspired leadership, her gentle ways had such an impact on my life.  Though we were companions for a mere three-and-a-half months, it felt like we had been kindred spirits forever.  She has been a beautiful, fun, wise, and stellar senior companion!  So I pay deepest tribute to such a wonderful and loving companion, and know we will be dear friends throughout...oh, let's say ... eternity.

We visited the California Science Museum and saw the space shuttle Endeavor.  It's been in space multiple times.  One of our MANY outings for p-day!

This was at Sister Thurgood's farewell meeting.  It is taken with our Chinese branch Relief Society president, Sister Wu, who is extremely awesome.

Also leaving at the same time as Sister Thurgood was Elder Schwindimann, going home to Idaho Falls.

Here we are with our beloved Mission President and Sister Villanueva

and our Employment Resource Center groupies.

Such a typical look for Sister Thurgood, who responds so positively to everyone she interacts with.

Opening a going-away gift from ERS staff...

Taken with little Rosa, our Chinese friend who reminds me of my Mayci.  She was no less than tickled when I told her that.  So when I refer to her as "Mayci" she giggles this delightful little laugh.

Wherever you are, Dear Sister Thurgood, I'll love you forever.  THANK YOU and see you soon!!!