Friday, 28 September 2012

Mon. Sept. 24th 2012

Pres. came by at 6am to take Baret and Greciano to the airport who are now going home after serving excellent missions.  Around 8am, Sis. Rumbach called - she was having trouble checking in at the Larnaca, Cyprus airport to fly over here - they had no record of her ticket!  I realized that her ticket was one of the original ones that had to be changed. Previously,  she had a ticket to fly from Larnaca to Athens and was going to be assigned here, but Pres. changed his plan which meant that she needed a return ticket to Larnaca after attending the training meeting. After considering what could have gone wrong, I guessed that when I asked for a return ticket, they thought that we didn't need the flight over here and cancelled that one!!!  You have to be very careful how you word your requests.  Anyway, she was able to buy a ticket herself at the airport and it all worked out in the end so she was able to fly over with the rest of the group.  Their plane came in about 10am and so the Assts in their vehicle and Brent & I in our vehicle were there to meet that flight and we transported the two sisters to the Mission Home.  Pres. & Sis. F. were putting up five sisters, while we had eleven elders here at the Mission Office!  Later, when the Assts. had all the missionaries in tow, going to Acropoli centre, Brent & I met the Elks (it was also Preparation Day) and we decided to explore Kifissia centre which is a trendy part of Kifissia.  It was fairly hot, but there was lots of shady trees and we walked and walked and walked - looking at smallish boutique type stores - many of them bearing top fashion names - nothing that we would want to wear though.  You marveled as you looked at these obviously expensive fashions, how they would keep afloat with the economy being what it is in Greece!!  It was fun to see though.  We thought we would find an "eatery" and sit outside to eat our supper, but nothing really appealed and so we went home and ordered in "Noodle Bar"  which is the closest thing to Chinese that we have tried (it's probably closer to Thai) but it's really nice.  It was the first time that Elks had tried it and they loved it.  Later, Pres. came over to meet with this "golden" investigator - he is Greek and is so anxious to embrace the Gospel that it is amazing - especially since he is Greek.  Greek people have a lot of problems with their families ostracizing them if they join the Church and in the work place, some have been known to be fired after they join.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sun. Sept. 23rd 2012

Church as very full as the member from the Athens 2nd Branch joined us - because of the demonstrations scheduled this afternoon at the US Embassy - so it was nice to have so many - it felt like we were in a real ward again!  We helped transport some elders to different places this afternoon and then made a large pot of soup in preparation for the eight elder who came this evening.  Four of them fly out to Cyprus tomorrow and the other four stay - waiting for their new companions to arrive.  We probably will have some missionaries staying here most of the week  -  so the fun begins!

Sat. Sept. 22nd 2012

Our doorbell rang at 7:30 this morning and there were the Elks with Neville and Baake!  They needed the big van to move furniture into the new apartment for the sisters.  A bit later, much to our delight, our substitute cleaning girl, Lucy, came.  It is great that she came as we have ten new missionaries coming and about 20 current missionaries gathering who are involved in transfers - the place needed a good clean - it's been two weeks since it was done last.  We had a Spanish lady (from Peru) baptized today.  The boiler that heats the water for the font had broken and the water was really cold - poor Inez just about had a heart attack - but she did well in spite of it.  Later, we had our traditional "going home" testimony meeting on Mars Hill for Baret and Greciano.  We normally have it on Sunday, but because of a Muslim demonstration scheduled for tomorrow in front of the US Embassy, we did it tonight.  The weather was really nice - it was sunset as we were there and when we came back down, the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis was all lit up and it was stunning.  As we made our way back along the promenade, there were tons of people, strolling, sitting and generally enjoying the soft warm air.  There was also a fun little "train" that goes  along the promenade from where it begins to the entrance area of the Acropolis.  The whole area had such a festive feeling!  As we headed home, President called - he was hungry AND it was his birthday!!!  So we finished up going to "3 Pigs."  By then it was about 9pm and we have not been there that late a night before and it was packed!  Greek people tend to eat their supper meal around 9pm!!  We had fun though.

Fri. Sept. 21st 2012

Well  - after Maria's cleaning girl telling us that Kristina was coming to clean today, Lucy phoned to say Kristina is NOT coming today, but she, Lucy, will come tomorrow!!!  EEEEeeek!  The Mowers flew home today - we are going to miss them sorely.  Greciano and Baret flew in from Cyprus today as they return home on Monday.  They had their traditional final interviews with President and then a special lunch at the Mission Home.    After a lovely afternoon, they returned here with instructions to clean up the basement apartment and have it nice and clean for the new missionaries that are coming.  I felt kind of bad that these two, with about two and a half days before they go home were told to do this kind of a job, but President is always worried about missionaries having too much idle time.  They were kind of dismayed, but after a bit of grumbling they did some of the jobs on the list!   Our computer man came this afternoon and completely overhauled the one computer that hasn't been working well - especially the lack of internet - so it's great to have it available again.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Thurs. Sept. 20th 2012

We received an e-mail from Jani first thing this morning telling us that they had arrived and that their little hotel was really quaint and nice. Since our cleaning girls went on holidays in July and Aug. we have not had much success in getting them back on a regular basis.  Their phones don't seem to work and we can only make contact through Maria's cleaning girl - and because of our lack of Greek, communication with her is questionable!  We hope that we're getting one of them this Saturday because we could do with a good clean before the big changes next week.  Our special couple, the Mowers, go home tomorrow morning early and I did up their release packet.  Then we got a call from Elder Mower - he had been trying to do his Web Check-in and it wouldn't work.  The problem turned out to be that the travel dept. in Salt Lake, when they made the booking, reversed the passport numbers for Elder M. And Sis.M!!!  I quickly phone SL and they took care of it - but it was fortunate that Elder M. had discovered that error then instead of turning up at the airport in the morning with the problem not solved!!

Wed. Sept. 19th 2012

We planed to take Jani & Rich to the Plaka this morning and since Pres. And Sis. F. were going down, we hitched a ride with them.  Brent had a previous appointment - setting up with the electric company a new a/c for a new apartment that we have just leased - so he didn't come with us.  We spent a leisurely time checking out the wee little shops which offer a lot of the same stuff.  It was fun looking at everything.  Jani found a shop that sells "Pandora" beads for the Pandora bracelet that she has and found a nice one to add to her bracelet.  After a couples of hours of that we got a cab home.  The cab we chose was a nice, clean, new looking Toyota, with a pleasant neat looking lady driver. She was parked in a spot where, ideally, she needed to back out to get to the main road.  The alternative was to squeeze around a small garden area on not much more than a path to get out.  A dilapidated, dirty cab with an unshaven grubby driver boxed her in and when asked to move - he wouldn't!  There was a bit of yelling at each other and then she took the narrow path to come around onto the road.  As she got onto the road, she told us she was going to use some not nice words and apologized, and then proceeded to let loose with a string of Greek which we assume was not very complimentary!  There were a bunch of guys sitting at the side of the road and the look on their faces was priceless - they looked stunned!  Later, we took Jani & Rich to the airport in good time for their flight to Venice, so we had some more visiting time with them before they left.  After a couple of days in Venice, they'll be on a cruise ship doing ports and islands in the Adriatic, arriving in Athens for one day on the 29th which will be great.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tues. Sept. 18th 2012

Brent & I got permission to skip the Zone Meeting and he came a took our cakes down for us.  We Chose Poseidon's Temple to visit today.  It's about an hour and a half drive south of Athens through some really neat little towns.  It's a much nicer area than Athens - the houses have plenty of land around them and the growth is amazing.  Rich kept exclaiming how it was just as he had envisioned Greece.  Lots of trees, shrubs and lots of flowers on everything.  The architecture intrigued him too.  There seemed to be more palm tress down this way as well - giving you the feeling of a tropical area.  We arrived at the "temple" and bought tickets (4 eruos ea.) and made the short, but gentle climb up to the ruins.  It is situated on a bit of a headland and sits high above the sea - which is on three sides there.  The views were incredible and not too many people were up there which made it great for lingering and enjoying everything. We watched a number of large ships go by and many smaller craft speeding along - making that "slap - slap" noise as they bounced off the swells.  It was really warm, but there was a lovely cool breeze right off the sea that felt so good.. Jani & Rich decided they wanted to scramble down a fairly steep slope to touch the way - we waited up top- it would have been do-able going down for us, but getting back up was another thing!!  We drove back home taking the coast road which was incredibly beautiful - the color of the sea is remarkable -so blue and clear.  Back home, we fixed supper and Freestones called, so we invited them to eat with us (we knew they'd be really tired after meeting all day) - then the Assts. turned up and they also joined us.  It was a lot of fun

In front of the temple of Poseidon

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Lovely clear water

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A grouse making itself at home on a restaurant table!

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Mon. Sept. 17th 2012

Brent and I went out to the airport to pick up Pres. & Sis. Freestone and they came to the MO and met Jani & Rich and had a short little visit.  Next, we took Jani and Rich to the Acropolis.  We decided to take a cab to save Brent the hassle of negotiating  the traffic down there and it was a good thing as the traffic turned out to be unbelievably horrid.  He absolutely hates driving down there. It was a beautiful morning, but by the time we made it up on the Acropolis, our "beautiful day" had turned into a very hot day!!  For me, it was really uncomfortable - but the others were OK.  They were quite taken with the beauty of the old ruins which workmen are still restoring to their former excellence.  We wandered around, chatting to different people, looking for any shade that we could find and enjoying the views from up there.  When we made it down from there, we made a swift beeline for the "Arcadian" restaurant (which we have been to before and like very much).  We were so hot and exhausted we just sat for a while, drinking water and cooling down.  For lunch we had Mousaka - which we'd had before and liked their recipe very much.  Jani really liked it too.  When we got home it began to thunder and lightning and our rain.  Jani & Rich checked the KLM website and found that their luggage was their, so they took off with Dad to get it.  It was an interesting drive with flooding in some areas and man-hole cover popping off!  While they were doing that, I attempted to make two cake for the Zone Conf. meeting tomorrow - at least Ithought I was making two chocolate cakes, but when I was stirring the 2nd cake mix I found that the mix was too thin.  I went over the ingredients again and again, but everything I had done seemed to be correct.  It wasn't until I went to throw one of the boxes in the garbage that I noticed that it said "brownie" mix!!!  All the ingredients were the same - just the quantities were different - so I opened another brownie mix and added half of it to my watery mix and it felt about right, so I baked it - iced it and hope that it will be OK!!  We'll find out tomorrow!

Jani & Rich and us.  It was so hot and sooo bright!

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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sun. Sept. 16th 2012

Brent and I had to speak at Sacrament meeting at Halandri - so we left Jani & Rich sleeping.  We came back after Sacrament meeting in the hopes that we could just go straight to the airport to get their lost luggage.  No such luck!  -  in fact, they still hadn't located it!  About an for or so later we got the phone call we'd been waiting for  -  the luggage was found and it would be at the Athens airport at 4:20 pm Monday.  That was a big relief  -  they would not have been allowed to go into the dinning room on the cruise ship without their "dress" clothes.  After a late lunch, we drove up onto Pentellis mountain which is just behind the area that we live in.  We hiked around there a bit and took photos.  Jani & Rich were fascinated with all the marble there.  It is known for its quality marble.  Then we drove up higher and there, the view was incredible, although somewhat smoggy.  We also found a little monastery nestled back in those mountains.  After that, we went for supper at "Three Pigs."    It was very good as usual and Rich & Jani enjoy the Greek food.  The owners are wonderful people and were so happy to meet Rich & Jani  -  they make you feel like family.

So, here we are on Pentellis mountain, and the following one is the little monastery we found up there  -

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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Sat. Sept. 15th 2012

The Assts. were up here again to work on their street map project.  We had to pick up cartridges for the new printer and so we did that on the way to the baptism  this afternoon.  We were surprised that the indicator showed that we were already low on the black cartridge and the computer guy told us that when they send out a new new printer, the cartridges are only half full because when the printers were sold with full cartridges, people would steal the printers during transit and rip the cartridges out as they were worth more than the printer itself!!   At the baptism, we were sitting there, totally unaware that Jani & Rich, at that very moment,were  already at the Athens airport - a day earlier than we had figured.  We came home from the baptism - stopped at the deli again and gassed up the car on the way and opened the door to the phone ringing and multi messages on my laptop from Brenda and Jani.  The phone ringing was Brenda telling us  -  THEY'RE THERE!!!   (It was sooo nice to hear Bunt's voice on our phone - she seemed closer).  We raced to the airport and found them - poor kids.  They had been considering that they take the bus and maybe get a hotel, but then Bunt sent them a text that we were on our way - so it all worked out OK.  The bad part was, that their luggage didn't make it with them and after enquiring learned that they didn't even know where it was at that point!!  They were so glad to get here to the mission office and have a place to go to sleep - they were really tired - but we did have a snack and a visit before they crashed.  It was absolutely wonderful to be together with them.

Fri. Sept. 14th 2012

The usual Friday tasks  -  shopping and preparing a talk for Sunday etc. etc. It would seem that Jani & Rich are currently on their way to visit us.  The last e-mail we had was about 15 hours ago and they are flying "stand-by" so we're not sure when they will actually arrive in Athens.  We did some shopping at "Super 8" (as we English speaking call it).  It is a store that caters to international clientele and we were looking for Graham Crumbs, but were unable to find them.  We did, however, find some A&W Root Beer and some Canada Dry Ginger Ale - although we are not sure that it is Canada Dry, because it also has a Schwepps label on it - Brent thinks Canada Dry are the bottlers in this case.  We'll see when we open it!  Lauryn skyped before she went to school that the temperature in Calgary is supposed to be 31C. today.  That's pretty warm for September and they've already had one frost.  That sets the leaves up to turn yellow about the 3td week of September usually  -  send pictures please guys!!  Our young sisters called from Limissol  -  they have a new Estonian member lady that they are trying to teach the "after baptism" lessons to, but she speak so little English that she is not getting the gist of these lessons.  The sisters wondered if we could set up a way to have an Estonian member/missionary teach her on Skype?  We'll see what Pres. F. says.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Thurs. Sept. 14th 2012

This morning, we were nervous about the new WiFi.  When our computer guy left last night it was all up and running  -  however, this morning, it was dead!  Brent had to take Pres. & Sis. F. to the airport early and so when he got back, the WiFi was working!!!  Our computer guy had told us that for the next 24 hours, computer technicians in the U.S. and/or Germany would be working on our WiFi from their end - so we were't surprised that it was down - but it's been good ever since so we think it will be OK now.  About three weeks ago the Assts. borrowed the "dolly" to help a member with her moving and were supposed to have it back in three days!  They keep promising to return it and we issued the ultimatum last night to have it back here by 9:30am.  We had a shipment of 138 kilos coming today and REALLY needed it.  They didn't get it here until 10:30, but fortunately the delivery didn't happen until 11:30, so it all worked out.  The Assts. stayed here working on another project for the new missionaries coming on the 25th.  They made huge street maps of the areas that the new ones will be working in.

Wed. Sept. 13th 2012

James Smith, who was released from his mission in July, came back to visit with his family.  Pres. & Sis. F. came over and we had a lovely time with them.  He begins university in three weeks.  This evening our computer guy came with the new WiFi - we have been waiting over two months for this.  The big benefit of getting this is that it can handle an unlimited amount of devices.  It will help especially on Tuesdays (meeting days) when all the couples come with their iPads, iPhones, laptops etc. inevitably they don't all get on the internet and sometimes our church computers are kicked off - so it has been frustrating to say the least.  He also checked over the church computers, but was unable to fix the printer/copier/fax machine, saying that it was dead!  That is the big machine that we do most of our work on, and the only fax we have, so it is going to be interesting to see how long it will be before it is replaced.  He didn't leave here until about 10:30, poor guy.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Tues. Sept. 11th 2012

A busy day with meetings and preparing for the couples' meeting tonight.  Besides getting his "real" work done, Brent had lots left to do on the script for the "Kangaroo Court" tonight.  We didn't have a big lunch today as only the Mission Presidency and later, the Assts. met with President.  We did however, order in pizza, but I didn't have to do any extras.  President F. brought up on the internet, Elder Holland's CES talk which was very good - but, of special interest in his talk was a story about Pres. Freestone's son, Isaac, which was kind of special.  By 5pm, we had made a huge Greek salad and Brent had finished the script and we went over to the mission home.  Supper there included Chicken in asian sauce and a big platter of egg-rolls (prepared by the Philippino housekeeper - so yummy), roast seasoned potato wedges - our Greek salad - grapes, melon slices, kiwis etc.  Dessert wad Sis. Elks' cream puffs - fabulous!  The "Kangaroo Court" as hilarious.  Sticking to the script became optional as everyone began adding their little bit to the dialogue - it would have made a good "Fawlty Towers" episode!  The Mowers were pronounced guilty of doing all the good deeds they were accused of - but then they were let off for good behavior.  We finished up by each telling them how grateful we are for all that we have learned from them and how much we love them.  It was a great evening.          Our gardener prune the trees and bushes etc. today.  In Greece, when they prune, it is a drastic  action.  Example below.  However, we have seen what happens to these poor naked trees etc. when Spring comes - after a month even, you would never known that they had received such harsh treatment  in the Fall - everything grows so well here, they just about double their size!

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Below, is actually an olive tree.  It used to look like those that you see in the background!

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Mon. Sept. 10th 2012

Today marks 11 months since we went into the MTC and 7 months until our release date!  When we were over at Elks yesterday, some mosquitos got in their house and everyone is paranoid about getting West Nile virus - there are 46 confirmed cases and three deaths - so Sis. E. produced some "kill-em quick"  spray that had a pretty strong odor and both Brent and I woke up with major headaches this morning!!  We received a call from President (who was returning from Rhodes) saying that they hadn't boarded their plane yet and thought they would be late - so we adjusted our time accordingly to get to the airport.  We were halfway there and President was calling again  -  they had landed and got their luggage already and were waiting!! Oh well!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sun. Sept. 9th 2012

It was "pot-luck" lunch at our branch today, so Brent & I made Sweet & Sour meatballs and rice to take, along with chips and juices.  Meetings were good - there were actually 35 people in attendance today.  Things are looking up!.  Pot-luck was yummy - lots of variety this time too.  After that, Brent and I and the Colmans went over to the Elks for the afternoon as the Mowers (whose place the Colmans are taking) are not available until 6:30 pm.  We did some more serious visiting along with a few laughs - had a snack about 5pm and then the Elks took the Colmans down to the Mowers.  We felt empathy for the Colmans - we all remember well those first couple of weeks - wondering what we had got ourselves into - but we also know that it will get better for them.

Sat. Sept. 8th 2012

We took Maria with us to do our grocery shopping - it's her last time - she goes home tomorrow.  We were grateful the the cleaning girl came today as we are going to be having a lot of traffic going through our mission office in the next while.  Later, we made "one-pot-pasta" and salad before we went to the airport to pick up the Colemans, so it would be ready when we got back.  Good thing too, because we didn't get back until nearly 7pm.  They are really nice folk and even though they had a reasonably short journey from the UK, they still looked a bit stunned when they arrived here.  Elder Elks is now a Counsellor in the Mission Presidency and he and Sis. E. also - went to meet and greet the Colemans representing Pres. F. as he was in Rhodes.   Everyone came back to the mission office for supper.  We had a lovely relaxed evening of "getting to know them!"

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Fri. Sept. 7th 2012

While doing his Friday mail run, Brent developed a migraine.  He was struggling with it all morning!  The Assts. are working on a big project to help the members in their efforts to be missionaries too and they were here most of the day again.  We took Pres. & Sis. F. to the airport this afternoon - they went to Rhodes this time to meet with isolated members. On the way back, we stopped off at Ikea to get some more of their frozen meat-balls.  They are a boon when you have to fix something quickly at the last minute.  Other than that, it was a quiet day.

Thurs. Sept. 6th 2012

When I looked on the balcony for the dove (we were told it is a dove) this morning, I couldn't see him - so I told Brent he had gone.  When Brent stood there looking all around, he noticed a movement between the columns and sure enough, he was still there peeking out onto the entrance walk - looking fidgety like he was going to fly. The basement here is at ground level, so our balcony is at second story height - it overlooks the entrance walk which is lined with plants and trees, some growing in the ground and a lot are in huge pots on pedestals - some are  palms that look like huge pineapples.  As Brent was watching, he took off down into the growth there and ended up on the rim of one of these huge pots.  He just kept walking around the edge of that pot and I'd check on him every once in a while to see if he was still there and after about an hour, he was gone.  It was a happy/sad thing as we had grown to really like that little bird, but glad that he was back in his own environment.  Brent made a fruitless trip down to the electric company to finalize some payment so that we could close an old apartment - only to find that they needed more forms and the stamp to do that - so he had to go back again - BUT - the stamp, being in a box about 2x2x6 doesn't fit into a satchel very well and he wondered if we had anything to carry it in that would go over his shoulder?.  My "MEC" (Mountain Equipment Coop) bag came to mind - so off he goes with that over his shoulder and the "holy stamp" safely inside!!!  Mike called tonight to tell us that he broke his ankle - poor guy has had "his wings clipped"  for a while.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Wed. Sept. 5th 2012

Rick's birthday!    The pigeon is still here on the balcony, but he's moving around a bit more and actually perched on a hose for a while.  I think he was tired of having feet flat for so long!   Pres. came over here to work today and stayed most of the day.  He helped us set up the color printer - thank goodness! - Brent & I would not have had a good time trying to get it up and running.  It works well.  Brent inveigled Maria to come down and teach him how to make Moussaka.  He wrote it down step by step and took pictures as well.  It is a big job and took about a couple of hours.  We had some for supper and it was very good - however, we had this huge pan left and were so happy when the Assts. came here at supper time that we could share it with them.  They had been out with the Elks all day trying to find two suitable apartments as we need them by the 25th Sept. when the 10 new missionaries arrive.  Since March we have been closing unsuitable apartments so now we need to replace them.  The accounting problem with my transactions not being visible on the system has been resolved, but, the girl I check with regarding problems, wasn't told by the "techies"  what was wrong, only that other accounts had had the same problem!!!  Oh well, it's working now.

This is the wonderful Moussaka -  IMG 1205

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tues. Sept. 4th 2012

The pigeon is still on the balcony.  Brent watched him trying to break up the bread chunks and got the bright idea that some of our oatmeal might be better for him  -  so he put out about a third of a cup and he tried a bit and went back to the bread, but then came back to the oatmeal and went nuts!  He cleaned up the whole lot!  We hope that whatever is wrong will heal and he'll just fly off!  The couples came for the meetings and I got help from the sisters while their husbands were in one of the meetings.  That's a pretty good deal - helps me a lot!   Our lunch today was Curried Chicken Salad, plus penne in a bacon/garlic/3-cheese sauce, plus French bread, and dessert was Choc. Sheet cake, iced and decorated with what looked like Cadbury Choc. Fingers and served with ice-cream  -  also watermelon!  It went over well!  We had been expecting a color laser printer a couple of weeks ago, but they had sent black & white.  Today the color one came - Yea!

Here are pictures of "the pigeon"  trying to eat the bread and the other where he's in the process of shoveling in the oatmeal!!

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mon. Sept. 3rd 2012

President was over here at 8am sharp to collect the missionaries to whom he had promised a trip to Corinth before they go home.  He related to us the scare that they had last night (about 3:45am) when Sis. F. heard a door bang, followed by footsteps!!  It was very unnerving, especially to Sis. F. and they didn't really get any more sleep after that.  Just after Pres. left of Corinth, Sis. F. called  -  there was someone walking around the grounds and she couldn't see who it was.  The house has high stone walls and heavy steel gates and entrance door to the grounds, with cameras, so you are supposed to feel safe there!!  Brent went over and found that the "intruder" was a man sent by the landlady to check out the security cameras etc. - so that was alright.  After a lengthy investigation it ws determined that the early morning caller was the gardener!!!  -  nobody had told Freestones that the gardener works  three homes in the area before he goes to work at his day job!  hence his early morning activity.  Problem solved - but not before a lock & key man had come to change the locks and had actually started on the door/gate to the street!!  The gardener has now been given a new key and asked not to start at their house so early.  The elders arrived back mid-afternoon with a good case of sunburn - but they'd had a good time.  A pigeon flew into one of the huge sliding glass doors in the office and he didn't move for quite a while.  When he did move, he was just walking - he made one feeble effort to fly, but didn't get anywhere, so we think he's hurt or damaged his wing.  One of the elders thought that it could heal in a couple of days and then fly off.  We'll watch it and see. Can you believe this??  Brent went out to the bird which was on the balcony and took him some bread chunks and water!!!  I think the chunks are too big for the bird  to manage though.  These "pigeons" don't look like the Canadian ones - they might be doves!  They're small and more delicate looking than ours.  Tonight, all the couples went to dinner at "Inez's Mexican Restaurant."   Inez (she's from Peru) is a very good friend of Elder & Sis. Mower (he speaks Spanish) and she has a baptismal date for Sept. 22nd.  She is so sweet and she wanted to do a farewell dinner for the Mowers and his "guests" (we 4 couples).  Inez does not normally open on Monday nights, so this was a special dinner just for us!  First, she brought us tamales, then a large platter of sliced potatoes, covered with a mustard sauce and a half of boiled egg on top  -  it was really good. Then came sweet potatoes, then a shrimp and fish dish in lemon sauce  with mushrooms.  Savory Rice came next and the finale was a huge dish of prawns and veges in a sauce (that was so good).  Dessert was a kind of cherry cheesecake - it was a little bit different than our cheesecake, but very nice anyway.  Inez wouldn't let Elder M. pay for the dinner, so we just left money under our plates when we left and hoped we could get a ways down the street before they discovered it.

Here our little feathered guest.  Brent calls him "my flight school drop-out!!!

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Monday, 3 September 2012

Sun. Sept. 2nd 2012

Much cooler today - 27C. 😃   One American family was back from the US today - Mom, Dad, and four kids, so that boosted the attendance, but still it was down because two sets of couples who are normally with us went to Acropoli branch. Big changes occurred there today.  They split the branch into Acropoli 1st (Greek speaking) and Acropoli 2nd (English speaking).  We haven't heard who are filling what positions yet.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Sat. Sept. 1st 2012

Sad day!  We received news early this morning that Bren't cousin fell off a ladder and broke his neck and died instantly.  We think he was around 65 and was one of the best guys ever.  We'll miss him terribly.  Most of my morning was taken up fighting to get the Book of Mormon order to "submit" and go to Salt Lake.  I have been having this problem for months now and had talked to someone at the help desk  He said he would pass the query on to the people who work with that program - that's was about 2 months ago. Three days ago, I finally received notification that my problem has been recorded and is going to yet "some other people" who will be working on it as a "Future Enhancement"  and I will be informed when the application has been up-dated  -  via "release notes"  whatever that means!  All I want is for a person to tell me what went wrong and that they have fixed it!!!  So! to get my order "submitted" I decided to press the submit button every 15 minutes!!!!!  after about two and a half hours, all of a sudden, it went!!  -  but, what a waste of time1  The frustration with that set me up for the rest of the day it seems, because I kept making mistake after mistake.  Moral of the story - Don't let things get to you!  Another problem arose when I went into the program where you work on credit card transactions and statements.  When I brought that up, it had some other account on it - it looked like stuff from one of the Area Offices in Germany!!!  Couldn't make that go away, so I'll have to call their help desk on Monday.  Of course, there is a great possibility that by Monday, my a/c will be there then and I won't have to bother!!  We had a baptism later - a nice young man (23) from Afghanistan.  Both his parents were killed.  What a tragedy.

Fri. August 31st 2012

Brent was busy - getting the mail and then taking a large box to DHL that had to go to the States.  That kept him busy a good part of the morning!  Elder Mower has been helping me find solutions to allowing selective people to see the mission calendar - so we had another session today trying to work this out.  We would get to the point where we thought we had it fixed and then, someone would point out that the whole world could now see our calendar!!  The problem arises with the interpretation of what google names actions.  We think now that "public" means, that it is only "public" to all on our selected list.  We'll assume that and see what happens!!!  It's crazy!  Some of our elders from England are supposed to have documentation proving that they are registered under their health plan and they didn't bring that with them when they came, so we've been trying to rectify that.  One of the elder's mom told us that her son's wallet was stolen (Health Ins. card included) and when they went to replace that card, they were told that it isn't being done anymore that all you need are your health care numbers. They did say they would be willing to provide a covering letter to confirm his insurance number, but that the elder in question would have to phone them directly himself!!!   Never a dull moment!