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Monday, May 22, 2017

Linger Longer.....Good Bye Rego First Ward

Today was the last Sunday we will attend the Queens, New York, Rego Park First Ward before going home to Arizona.  The time we spent with the members will long be etched in our hearts. They not only welcomed us into the ward, but into their lives.  After the first week we felt like part of the ward family.

After the block of meetings, the members held a surprise Linger Longer honoring us and our time with them.  It was so thoughtful and it gave us an extra hour to visit and say our good-byes.

They surprised us with a nice lunch and cake.

This cake made us smile......see anything wrong?
It just endears them all the more to us.

A large card signed by some of the ward members.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dim sum, Yum Yum

Nancy, a ward member in the Dyker Heights Chinese Ward, has always been very kind to us.  She has referred us to several apartments and has come along to translate, as many of the landlords speak very broken English.

On a few occasions, she has asked us if we had ever eaten dim sum and our answer was "no" but we had eaten Chinese food.  In walking the streets in Dyker Heights and Flushing (both big Chinese communities) we had ventured into very "Americanized" Chinese food.  This was fine with us as we were not anxious to eat fried chicken feet or other such delicacies.  Nancy was very kind and said she would like to introduce us to authentic Chinese food.

We met Nancy along with another senior couple serving in Dyker Heights, Elder Ho and Sister Lee (they are married), and a Chinese mother and daughter who we did not know.  The daughter had just graduated from Cornell Law School and her mother travelled from China to attend the graduation.

We parked at the church and walked to 8th Avenue (the heart of Dyker's china town) and then walked on 8th Avenue to 65th Street.  On the outside, the restaurant looked like any other establishment, but once you entered it was huge with a line of people waiting to be seated, all Asians. The restaurant could seat 300 people, and every table was filled.  It reminded me of a casino in Las Vegas with all the lights and glitz.

Starting from the left, mother, daughter, Sister Lee, Elder Ho, Richard, me, and Nancy
 We soon found out that dim sum is a Chinese cuisine prepared in small bite size portions and served in steamer baskets.  Servers stroll around pushing carts with food and you just point and say what you would like.
All of it looked very strange to us.

Server with a cart of food.  This was very "tame" looking food.

As you can see the restaurant serves many people starting at 8 am until 10 pm.  We were the only non-Asian people in the room, but then that is not usual.
During the lunch conversation, I asked mother how many children she had and she answered one.  She spoke very little English.  Elder Ho then told us that in China if you ask someone that question they will look at you as if you are very naive or stupid.  He explained that it is government policy for a family to have just one child.  They might also look at you suspiciously thinking that you are government informer and are going to report them if they have more than one child.  I didn't tell her how many children we have!

It was a lovely lunch and will be a wonderful memory of New York.  By the way, we really don't care for dim sum but it was a fun experience.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Can You Guess What This Is??

Richard and I would see these in every neighborhood and wondered what they were used for.  The shape didn't seem to suggest any practical purpose.  We tried to imagine.....

And, then we understood.  Here are a couple of uses that seem to be quite common.

This is a little different, but I have seen dogs tied to the round shape also.

As of yet, we haven't seen any parents tie their children to this apparatus while they dine at one of the restaurants.

Here is another typical New York money maker.  A parking meter.  One of our favorites.

Generally, we have about twenty dollars worth of quarters in a coin purse in our car.  Each quarter will purchase fifteen minutes of parking. The time limit for parking is either one or two hours, depending on the location.  We feel fortunate when we find a parking place in a two hour limit space.  Actually, we feel fortunate when we find any parking place. We have driven around the block for thirty minutes waiting for a place to become available.  After being in New York, we don't mind paying to park, we feel blessed.  Imagine that!  We haven't kept track of the amount of quarters for parking we have spent while being in New York, but it is quite of few twenties.

We do have a couple of sad experiences with parking receipts.  After you put in your quarters, you press the button for a receipt.  That receipt needs to be place in the front windshield so it is visible for a traffic police officer to see when your time is up.  Our first bad experience was when we first arrived,  After purchasing our parking space, we placed the parking receipt on the front dash only to return to our car to find a ticket. We had placed the ticket upside down.  Cost: $30.  We learned our lesson. The second sad experience was on a windy day.  We placed our receipt on the dash only to learn on our return that it had blown off the dash onto the floor.  Cost: $30.

By the way, when we go to Costco it costs three dollars to park our car. Imagine that.  Today we drove to Manhattan to see a sister in our ward who is in the hospital.  Cost:  twenty-three dollars for a forty-five minute visit. We sure are looking forward to go ol' Arizona, especially Payson.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Scout Fund Raiser and Surprise Birthday

Saturday, May 6th was the annual camp fund raiser for the Scouts and Young Women's.  It started off with a dinner of contributed food.  Richard made his amazing spaghetti.  We are trying to use the food we have on hand since we are going home at the end of the month.  Literally, we are not buying anything.  When we run out, then we will eat out!  So his spaghetti was an original recipe that cannot be duplicated.

After dinner was a "talent" show.  We felt like we were in someone's living room watching their kids perform (a captive audience).  We never knew there was such talent in our ward, from a mother/daughter doing their version of a hula dance to a family pantomiming to a popular song. The funniest act was a skit by the missionaries. 

Throughout the evening, was the additional fund raising effort to bid on auction items including food, a guitar, Jet Blue round trip tickets, and two tickets to a Met's baseball game.  We brought three trays of brownies, decorated with m&m's to appeal to the children.  I'm not sure how much money was raised, but I can proudly say my brownies raised the amazing sum of $15.00!

We noticed our friend, Miguel, had his eyes on the Met's tickets.  His wife, Kenya, had told us she had a surprise birthday party waiting for Miguel in another room of the church.  As we checked the Met's auction sheet, we noticed that Miguel's bid was raised by $5. He had spent all he could afford.  We stayed close to the auction table and as the bidding was drawing to a close, we outbid the highest bidder by $5. We won the tickets.

At the end of the fund raiser, we all slowly drifted into the "party" room. With the lights out, Miguel was brought into the room with a rousing "surprise" to welcome him.  He was totally caught off guard.  One of the few times that a surprise birthday party was actually a surprise.  We enjoyed presenting him with the Met's tickets and he expressed appreciation.

It was a fun Saturday night.

Miguel with the ward missionaries.  Miguel is the ward mission leader and prior to that counselor in the branch presidency.  I guess we didn't get the message about finger pointing.

As you can see the theme of the party was the Met's.  So well done.

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Three Hour Night to Remember

This is the "cheaters" car.  Notice the traffic on either side of us.

You are probably wondering what this car has to do with a night to remember.....

The other afternoon we had traveled to Corona, which is a little city about 10 mines away, or I could say thirty minutes away.  We were delighted with the apartment and started the leasing procedure.  We were so happy to start our trip home before the evening rush hour.

Now, one of our pet peeves about New York drivers are the cheaters. Remember when you were in school, and some kids would cut in line at the lunch counter or to swing?  Well, New York drivers who cheat drive up on the right side of your car, where there is no lane, and then crowd in front of you.  If you don't stop, they just keep coming.  So what choice do you have.  You let them cut in.....that's probably the main reason there are so many "honkers" in New York.

Well, back to our story....we were driving along when a "cheater" came rushing on our right side and swerved in front of us.  As he did this, he clipped our right front bumper and torn off his left rear bumper.  So we both pulled into the space between the two merging freeways.  A really safe place to be!

Richard and the young "cheater" got out of their cars, examined the damage.  Richard said our car was undamaged and since it wasn't his fault we would be on our way.  The "cheater" said he was going to wait for the police.  We couldn't leave the scene of the accident, so we decided to wait to tell our side of the story.  

After waiting an hour, Richard decided to call 911 and report the accident.  Then we called again after two hours.  Finally, at three hours as we were making our third call, the police showed up.  Very frustrating.

Just as we expected, the "cheater" lied about what happened.  He went on his merry way, I am sure only to continue to cheating.

As Paul Harvey would say, Now to the rest of the story.....

The police officer asked Richard for his licence, registration and proof of insurance.  Registration and proof of insurance were no problem.  But, when Richard looked in the back seat for his murse (that's what I call his purse) it was not to be found.  No drivers licence.  The police were very kind and attempted to find it on the Arizona site, but did not have any luck.  Richard received a ticket.  The good news is that when his ticket is posted online he can submit a picture of his licence and the ticket would be dismissed.

Who ever said New York living is not exciting.

Talk About a Good Deal

We all love free stuff....even if we don't want or need it.  Come on, we have all been to Costco and as we are entering the store say, "I wonder what the free snacks are today?  I'm ready for some lunch."

I probably mentioned on a blog a few months ago, that our favorite neighborhood pizza placed closed.  It was a sad day in the Johnson's apartment.  Then a month ago we noticed some activity in the empty space and wondered who was going to be our new neighbor.  Then we saw a sign, The Shawarma and Grill.  And what exactly was that?

We were coming home about 7:30 one night and noticed the doors were open and people going inside.  It was a beautiful night so we decided to go for a walk and take a look.  As we walked, in we were greeted by a friendly young waitress and also a husband and wife behind the counter. They offered us a menu and said to order anything we would like...tonight the food was free as they were getting ready to open tomorrow and wanted to make sure everything would run smoothly.  We were happy to be their guinea pigs....and we were (pigs) happy to help out.  The meal was wonderful with lamb, rice, hummus, pita, and pickles.