Saturday, February 28, 2009

More images of Mexico...

By popular are some more images of Mexico:
Some dancers advertising their upcoming traditional dance program:
A typical Mexican scene:

Woodwork in Tonala:
The artist, and the weaving Jared's mom bought in Chapala. It cost $100 pesos ($7.50).
The ice cream man on the Chapala Malecon
Coconut, anyone?
Amazing metalwork on a building side in Tonala (15 feet tall?)
The Tonala street market fills both sides of the street for blocks and blocks. This is "drive by" photo...looking at the backside of the market. If you were to walk into this mass of tents, you would have the opportunity to walk down 2 different isles, with vendors on every side. Then, cross the street, and do it all over again! It is a mad house!

The first time we were in Tonala, we were amazed by a some amazing embossed metalwork we have never seen before in ours lives. We walked into a little store like this, and met this fellow and his wife:

The work in progress...
Much to our astonishment...they were working on a piece that looked like this:
Was it a sign?!! We learned that his couple is very popular with all of the missionaries from Guadlajara. They come to them to get their favorite temples embossed in metal!

So...we commissioned them to do several pieces for our store. We simply gave them pictures of artwork that we liked, and they came up with their metal rendition. This was one of our favorites (2 feet by 1 1/2 feet):

Now our biggest hope is that customers in Alaska will love this that we can support this couple for years to come!

Years ago...

Living in a community of retirees, I am constantly reminded of how young I am. This was no exception...

***15 YEARS AGO (1994)****

1) How old were you? 11
2) Who were you dating? dates...but I had a terrible crush on a boy in my 6th grade class. I would bike to his house every day, all the way from the other side of the lake (2 miles each way). Of course, I'd never knock...I'd just ride on by...
3) Where did you work? Didn't.
4) Where did you live? Topeka, KS
5) Where did you hang out? Again...that was the year I was probably biking across the lake every day...
6) Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? I think I got contacts that year, or the following.
7) Who was your best friend? Sarah Petz and Ami Schmidgall
8) How many tattoos did you have? none
9) How many piercings did you have? one in each ear
10) What kind of car did you drive? Hahaha...lest you forget how young I was....
11) Had you been to a real party? A birthday party? Oh, yeah! I even threw quite a few...but likely we all ended up in the basement because of a tornado siren.
12) Had you had your heart broken in love? nope...unless you count the fact that the 6th grade boy didn't love me back :-(
13) Were you Single/taken/Married/Divorced? single
14) Any Kids? no
15) Education? 6th grade, baby, 6th grade.

***10 YEARS AGO (1999)***
1) How old were you? 16
2) Who were you dating? I didn't actually date anyone that year...but the year before, and the year after...
3) Where did you work? Helen Hocker Theater at Gage Park. I did every show I could, and even got hired on to be the musical director of a children's show that toured to local schools.
4) Where did you live? Topeka, KS
5) Where did you hang out? Helen Hocker every day of my life, I think.
6) Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? Contacts
7) Who was your best friend? Annie Patterson.and Sarah Johnson
8) How many tattoos did you have? none
9) How many piercings did you have? one in each
10) What kind of car did you drive? Teal Nissan Sentra (1994?) which I had gotten in a wreck with the year it had a nice gray streak on the side.
11) Had you been to a real party? Lots of parties, but what is the definition of a real party? One where people are doing things they shouldn't? No.
12) Had you had your heart broken in love? yes. My first major crush had come and gone.
13) Were you Single/taken/Married/Divorced? single still.
14) Any Kids? no
15) Education? Junior Year in High School

****TODAY (2009)****
1) How old are you? 26.
2) Who are you dating? Dating? Does that require getting a babysitter?
3) Where do you work? At home and at the store in Alaska every day of my life (Alaska being only partial-year).
4) Where do you live? Ajijic, Mexico (AKA Paradise)
5) Where do you hang out? Home home home...gotta get some work done before we leave in 11 days!!
6) Do you wear contacts and/or glasses? Glasses and contacts
7) Who is your best friend? Jared Jared Jared. I love my best friend.
8) How many tattoos do you have? none
9) How many piercings do you have? 1 in each ear
10) What kind of car do you drive? 2001 Pontiac Montana that we got a killer deal on.
11) Have you been to a real party? Again...definition? I've never been big on parties...but I love small get-togethers with friends.
12) Have you had your heart broken in love? Yes. With my kids every day. Ella says "I'm NOT going to be your friend" when she gets mad at me.
13) Are you Single/taken/Married/Divorced? Married forever and ever
14) Any Kids? 2 crazy girls
15) Education? Bachelors in Theater Arts Studies


Friday, February 27, 2009

Ready for an Optical Illusion?

Click on this link with someone sitting next to you. Decide which way this girl is spinning...and share it with the other person (the more people...the better)!! It is waaaaay crazy (and please ignore the immense detail they put on this womanly figure):

Images of Mexico

At our local market:
From our balcony:
Our favorite pottery in Mexico (and of course, the highest priced)
The Tonala market:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

4th File, 4th folder, 4th picture TAG

My friend, who lives in Germany, got tagged with the above instructions. Okay, so I tagged myself in return, but not because I wanted to talk about my photo or myself (although Ella was so darn cute in my Little Mermaid socks...and she loved to do the splits...not to mention this was the age before she really learned to talk back...):
The truth is, my friend posted this photo, with a link to her prior post to explain how this photo came to be. I read the story for the first time, and she had me laughing SOOO hard that milk would have been pouring out of my nose (if I happened to drink milk). She gave me permission to link to her story, so you could read up, and I sincerely hope that you never have a day like this :-) Prepare to LAUGH!

And if you want an excuse to post a photo or talk about're TAGGED!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Riding Sharks at Tobolandia

A few weeks ago, when the weather started warming up into the low 80's, we finally took advantage of our local water park, Tobolandia. It was surprisingly great! Gee, I wish we would have known this before driving 2 hours out of our way to the lame water park back in November. Oh well!! Now we know!!

One of the most amazing things about this waterpark is that they let children ride SHARKS at no extra cost!! You read that right!! SHARKS!!! No dolphins here....

The girls also had a great time in their innertubes
And as usual, the Mexican children flocked to them. They wanted to touch them, talk to them, and play with them. Ella and Maiya eat it up.
The park was quite large, and this "children's" area had a lot of slides. The adult slides were in a different section, and although there were likely 9 BIG slides, they would only open 1 or 2 at a time!! Seriously!! They had a schedule posted with the opening times of each slide. I'm sure it was a money-conservation issue. If you only open one slide at time, that means you need only 1 or 2 staff, and water running on only that slide!! The water park was so full on this particular Holiday, so we had to wait in line for quite some time to go down the 1 available slide. Kind of frustrating.

And at long last, here is that shark photo. Ella ate it up, but Maiya had a breakdown. Can't win them all...
Problem was...the sharks were entirely lifeless.
Entirely. Meaning: Fake.

Love Affair with Tortugas...

The tortugas have become a part of the family quickly. As I said before, they are MUCH happier in their new, larger home. Ella and Maiya think they're great, and I've finally found some foods they'll eat (they like broccoli and LOVE cilantro). So much for that turtle food they sold me...they don't eat it at all!!

I really don't know who loves the turtles more. The girls or Jared? I'm voting Jared. He is obsessed with his new funny friends. He took this glamorous photo of the duo:
And I just thought I'd post a typical view in our house. I'm sure the girls were contemplating doing something mischievous in the backyard.

Our doors stay open like this all day. We would prefer to work outside, but the "deck" isn't shaded, so it's a bit too bright and warm for computer work (it can't really be considered a deck, since it's all brick...I can't think of any other word for it). The weather is in the mid 80's all this next week. It is warming up!! (from the 70's, that is) The hardest part is simply not being able to actively enjoy it, although we are definitely enjoying it from the comforts of where we work on the couch.
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Maiya's Walking!!

I forgot to mention that Maiya has learned how to walk!! Well, sort of. Okay, not really.

She started by doing some pretty entertaining squats in the middle of the floor, and then voila! One day, she just stood up!! So, she loves to stand by herself, but she's not too keen on walking. Several weeks ago she did take some steps for us, but she still prefers to crawl. ::sigh:: As long as she learns to walk by the time we get to Alaska, that'll be great! If she learns to walk in 1 more month's time, she'll be right on schedule with Ella's development at the same age.

Below, Ella was helping Miaya "walk" around the house (Maiya held on to her pants, and followed her around).

Earlier this week Ella got very ill. She was fine one moment, and a disaster the next. Her temperature spiked to around 102 degrees when she was going to bed, but she woke up fine. The fever returned once during the day, then came back again at night, and then a few nights later she even broke out in sweat and the chills. We kept her home from school, and her and Maiya snuggled briefly on the couch.
Isn't it funny that even babies know what phones are? I don't think we are on the phone that often, but she sure knows what a phone is! In fact, anything phone-shaped becomes her phone (try a calculator, or remote control?). I guess it is preparation for her teen years...
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Valentine Burbujas

This last Friday Ella's school had a gigantic Valentine's Day Party at her school for 3 hours (with early release at noon). I volunteered to help out at our class's "Burbujas" stand (bubbles), and helped the children make giant bubbles all morning. I also escaped briefly throughout the morning to follow/take Ella around to all of the activities. Ella decorated a few sugar cookies (with a TON of sprinkles), went "fishing" with a group of her best friends from school (there's Pablo, the boy she is head-over-heels for, as well as the only other English speaker from her class, Olivia, and her best buddy from church, Amelia). Ella got her face painted, and most enjoyed getting "made up" at the Beauty Salon station. They painted her fingernails, put on eyeshadow and lipstick, and even blush. Below is a picture of her admiring the final product in a mirror.

One funny thing about the Beauty Salon...
Earlier this week I received a notice from the school about the party. "We remind you that this Friday the 13th we celebrate Valentine's Day with our Kermesse" (what, Kermit?), and "As a form of prevention we have decided the Beauty Salon activity wil be makeup and nail painting." Hmm...what form a prevention is makeup and nail painting? I didn't understand, but it gave me a good laugh :-)

In addition the activities (bracelet making, dancing, cookies, Beauty Salon, Bubbles, etc), there were also food stands. The kids could get palentas (Mexican ice creams/Popsicles on a favorite!), popcorn, and even healthy things like a cup of corn (healthy and fresh foods are quite the'll see cooked corn, and sliced cucumbers available on the roadsides). So, I finally took the opportunity to eat some true Mexican corn! As I was warned, it was not sweet at ALL!! It was not the American sweet corn that I love so much! It was actually almost completely tasteless, but with the normal texture of corn. Generally, you see corn barbaqued on the roadsides, and then covered in chili pepper. Perhaps those flavors are necessary to make it truly enjoyable? ;-)
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Sunday, February 8, 2009


Ella loves to dress up. She doesn't run around like my nephews and play with fake guns (except for Jared's pen cap that she took today and called her "shooter"...she doesn't even know the word for gun...REALLY), but she LOOOVES dresses! She literally changes her clothes about 3 or 4 times after she gets home from school (in about 6 hours time). I catch her doing all sorts of "performances" for us, usually with "Spanish" (gibberish) dialogue.
Her moves are quite entertaining:

A few weeks ago I caught her in the same outfit, "watering the plants." Keep in mind, our house actually comes with a gardener (it's part of the deal), and he waters regularly. But, she helped herself to the hose, turned on the water, and began watering the plants.
I caught this photo, left her to her work, and then moments later heard a horrified scream. I was certain she had stepped on a thorn, or had been stung by a bee. To my surprise, when I ran to her side, I discovered that she had only slipped and fallen in the now-muddy flower bed. She was so sad that she had gotten her tutu all muddy. Well, we laughed, she lightened up, and the tutu was washed.

On another note, we try to enforce Ella's Spanish vocabulary by asking her the Spanish translation for regular household items. The other day, she sounded so certain when she told us the Spanish translation for a word we weren't familiar with. We were impressed! That is, until we asked her for the Spanish word of another item that we DID know, and she matter-of-factly told us her Spanish translation. Complete and utter jibberish. She is a good actress :-)

ALSO, the other day I asked her to say "Please" in Spanish (a common thing in our house, now), and instead of saying "por favor," she said PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEASE with a long, drawn-out, ROLLED L. Yup. I didn't know you could roll your L's...but this girl has it down! She can roll ANYTHING!

Our first pet...

Jared and I are totally against our family owning high-maintenance pets, for many reasons (shedding, smelling, feeding), but mostly because it doesn't fit with our on-the-go lifestyle.

BUT...we couldn't resist when we were in Tonala last week (a suburb of Guadalajara where we go to make business purchases, and commission artwork that we'll attempt to sell in our store)...we picked up our first family pet. Actually...PETS. Yup, we got 2 baby turtles, a new home, colorful little rocks, and a huge bottle of turtle food for about $7.50 USD.

Ella and Maiya were THRILLED by the surprise:

The turtles didn't do much, except for try to dig their way out, and push each other around. But we have fun watching them, all the same.

But everything changed two days ago when we were in a pet store at an outlet mall in the outskirts of Guadalajara. The mini turtles at this pet store were happily swimming around in their tank, and we it dawned on us that our turtles must be BORED out of their minds in only 2 inches of water. These little turtles are born to swim, play, and climb on rocks!! So, we exited 20 minutes later with a new humble, but WAY cooler $10 USD turtle home! The next day we collected rocks from the lake, and made a WAY cool (am I from the 90's?) playground that the turtles now seem to love. They are much happier, and we enjoy watching them sunbathe on the big rock in center, and swim around as if they are on constant vacation. And let's face it--they are on constant vacation. After all...all they have to do is swim, play, and eat the food we toss to them (they really like broccoli). Life must be good.
And the great thing has a lid, and is totally transportable, if we choose to have them remain in the family for years to come. I wonder if you're allowed to take these across the border....


Well, a week passed, and we have been getting prepared for our upcoming season in Alaska. I can't believe we only have 5 more weeks in Mexico, and then we'll start the month-long journey back up North. This last week we were focused, and managed to get 34 orders done and submitted to our various vendors. We only have about 48 orders to go (from our past-year vendors) and perhaps 30 new lines to add to our store (as well as our additional store...did I mention we're opening a second location? Call us nuts...). So, I think we have approximately 78 orders to go.

Oh...I can't wait until this is done! I'm feeling good about being very thorough with the orders...getting them entered into my POS system before the start of the season begins (investing time now, when I still have it...and not later, when we typically pull too late of hours at the store with unhappy kids).

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten anywhere with the accounting which I put on hold. Every year I wonder why I don't get it done before December (or at least up to date), and then every February/March I'm cramming to get it done.

Anyways...I'm just blabbering, and can't believe people actually might read this blog. Actually, if it weren't for my FeedJit box on the lower right hand side, I'd probably assume that only 4 people ever visited my blog (thanks, you 4 for commenting). I guess I can see why bloggers do "giveaways" and "contests" on their blogs...they just want to hear feedback from people! I used to think people were crazy for blogging...I just assumed it was posting an online journal--which it is--but I totally underestimated its ability to keep people connected. To date, I follow 56 blogs. Thanks to, it is very easy to follow all of these (even though I'm currently a week out of date, due to the all-encompassing work this past week). Anyways, I just love reading blogs, and feeling like I can "know" people, even though I am thousands of miles away.

Back to what I really intended to post tonight...

This is not a typical Alisa post. It was almost going to be...because I do have another crazy business owner to rant and rave about. No, not a Skagwegian Alaskan-pride person, but someone else who I have recently come in contact with, and feel is completely dishonest, without principles, and just plain rude. at church I was asked to give a talk about "Love." You know...Valentine's Day is coming up, and yes, Mexicans celebrate it, too. I didn't talk about romantic love, spousal love (is that a word?), or love within a family unit. My talk referenced the two greatest commandments ever given. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

I talked about keeping the commandments, and ways in which we can be encompassed in God's love, and therefore show our love to him. It reminds me of (not part of my talk) when I chose to ditch my performing aspirations, and I chose a different path in life. I loved performing, and I think I still would...but I had some crossroads experiences that made me realize that the Lord comes first with me. I didn't want to be around the atmosphere that dominates the world of performance (I'm talking about the behind-the-scenes moments), and I knew I didn't want that for my future family. Anyways...just ramblings...with no exact point...

Secondly, I talked about loving our neighbors. I don't know about you...but I don't actually know my neighbors. (Okay, so I met our neighbor once, and she invited us to a Christmas Eve party starting at 10pm, and we didn't attend. We saw her a week or so later, and she seemed really ticked off that we didn't come...but I digress...) Anyhow, 3 Nephi came up in my talk, specifically:

“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."

I delivered the message, "Yada yada yada," but then I came home from church to receive a nasty email from this said mean business owner who is completely rude (well...I deserved it, I sent him a nasty one first), not to mention I have recently received some correspondances from the other Skagwegian (previously mentioned) but has never ever once said "sorry" for the insulting and horrific experience that she inflicted on us last year. These silly little things have just been eating at me, making me FUME inside, and it is hard to get them out of me.

Then, later today I read in the BYU Magazine (Spring 2008...I'm just now finding time to read it when I have extended potty time...hahaa) about a guy visiting a Muslim prayer meeting in the far land of Tajikistani. The spiritual leader, or caliph, taught that "if we will unconditionally love our enemies, then eventually our love will turn their hate to respect and then love in return."

And finally it hit me. It was a rebuke. So here I am, biting my tongue, wanting to share some tidbits of my recent (frustrating) experiences just so that I can have some feedback and feel justified in my anger...but I have been told and reminded countless times (just in the last few days and hours!) that contention is not of God. And I want to be better. I really do. And I hope that I can love, and forgive and forget. But I'm soooooooo nowhere near to being perfect.

So...that's my rant for tonight. And perhaps my one and only rant for this year. Perhaps.

Oh, and when I gave my talk in church today it was translated into Spanish, one sentence at a time (1 sentence English, 1 sentence Spanish). My Mom pointed out "Oh, you only have to prepare half as much!" true.