Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First makeup job done by Big Sissy

Aunika Laughing

"Aunika what are you doing?"

"I'm coloring Naomi's Face"

"You're WHAT?"


Thank you for the post card Daniel. I would make a wonderful Banana seller!!!

Dad and I received a card from Dan. It was a picture of a older woman and older man. The man was pushing the woman in a wagon, as she surrounded by bananas, selling them in a market.
He said that if Dad and I had of been born in Vietnam he could see us doing so!

Aunika built a frog for peanut

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My New Pentax Site.

You have all noticed my new LINK...for my Pentax Gallery site. I want to explain:

I was accepted into the Pentax Gallery...it is such an honour. They chose thier artist based on ones portfolio. You will see when you read my Bio....why I was accepted.

I am allowed to submitted 10 photos a week. All photos entered are voted on by other Pentax artist that belong to the site. They decide if my images are displayed in the Premier Gallery, My Personal Gallery, or rejected. After the voting of the Pentax artist, it then goes before a Board of Judges who work for the Pentax company , and that board gets the final say of acceptance or rejection.

I have no say whatsoever as to what gets picked. It takes about 2 weeks to get the results of each and every photo. I have to date had 4 photos make it to my gallery, 2 rejected, and about 8 undergoing the voting process. I am hoping that one or two might make it to the Premier Gallery. So every week or so....hit my link and see how I am fairing.

Oh ya...as one of thier artist, I am now able to vote on my peers work. Such Fun!

The voting criteria is as follows: When viewing the image please consider

1.) Can you see this image in a photo gallery.

2.) Does this image elicit an emotional responds.

3.) Is the image original

4.) Does this image offer a personal perspective of the subject and display the unique vision of the photographer.

5.) Would this photo stop you if it were hanging in a gallery.

When reviewing photos please consider the composition, exposure, subject matter, lighting, and focus.
Please vote on the technical and artist merit of each image

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Roxi

I just wanted to send out a happy birthday wish to Roxy. I love you. And do I see that your three weeks quit smoking?!?! WOW. I'm so impressed!!! Vicky also wants me to send you a congrats and happy b-day from her.

Thanks for being such a great sister.

I couldn't be there for the cake, so I made you this one...

Happy Birthday again...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Auntie Roxi

Happy Birthday Auntie Roxi


Happy Happy

33.... Who, ME?

Just a quick and heart felt Thanks for all the B-day wishes I have recieved today.

Dear Daddy, I loved you home made card and will be preordering a book I have been waiting to be released for over a year. It promises to be well over 1000 pgs. long in its hard cover addition. We all had Cake yesterday, and will have a special apple pie today. With the remainder of my gift, I will go restock my shelf with some new (to me) reading material from vallue village.

Now for my big announcement, At 33 I am a Quitter!!! 3 weeks in, and a life time to go.

<3 U all xoxoxo Roxi

Roxi's Birthday Today




Friday, February 11, 2011


To My Beloved Son Daniel:

You have spoken from the soft place of your heart tonight. It is called compassion and it is a character that you seem to have arrived with, at birth.

As a very small child, you would become very concerned for another child whom was suffering. They say that "TRUE" compassion for others, is not really developed until age 3+. I remember when you were only 18 months old, sick and in the hospital, you would so endearingly ask me, "where's the baby's mommy" when you saw them crying alone in there beds. You would become very sad. When you were two, you would go and climb into the beds of other sick children to cheer them up! When you were three and had learned the rules.."such as no climbing into other patience beds", you would pass toys to them through the bars, and sing them songs and act silly...just to cheer them up. When you would leave the hospital to go home, you would give all your treasures, treats and toys to the other children, so they might have a happy good day. I think that your heart often ruled your head, when you saw true suffering.

Tonight as I read your blog Dan, I found myself eyes watering up at your tender, precious kindness. I do believe that giving needs to be without judgment, once we have decided to give, to another, we do not need to control the situation, so that we are not taken advantage of. ( Of course we are not talking of someone who is cheating or stealing from us), who is not in a greater need then us. Dad had that experience: a taxi driver lying to him, and faking the amount Dad had payed ...etc. That is a different kind of greed.
I do agree, that when you are poor and hungry and downtrodden, the desperate feelings you have for the "wanting" can be read as "greed".

When I was a child, we were the poorest white folk I knew (I say "white", because the Native kids were as poor). It was terribly hard, to never look as nice as the other little kiddies, and to never have the food that they had. It was hard to go to school and not have my own pencil nor notebooks and have the teacher mad and 'put out' with me.

Every once in a while, someone would take pity on me....there were two kinds of people who helped. One kind, would try to tell me how I needed to treat and appreciate what they did. They often wanted many thanks and praise. They would express that they were awesome for helping and that they would help more if only my parents tried to resolve there finances better and get a grip on things.....work harder and do more, cause people like themselves could only give so much, if they(my parents) did nothing for their-self.

As a very poor child, these people made me feel great shame. They damaged my self-esteem even greater, then it was. My needs often being so great, I complied, I thanked them and always promised to do better! I never did do better, and often did worst, due to my emotional downing!

Then Daniel, there was the other kind of giver. This person would hand me what ever it was that I needed. They would make no request, ask no questions, but simply seem happy to give, and let it be. That was a good day for me. I felt liked I was cared for. As strange as it may seem that such an intimate feeling could come from and for a stranger...it came just the same. Sometimes someone might actually give me money. I would always take that money and rush to the candy store and buy CANDY. One may say, "sakes alive", why not get that pencil you so needed? I wanted the CANDY not just because it tasted good, but because it made me feel normal, and special all at the same time. Then that made me feel happy!! I think that every little child needs to feel happiness and joy. I loved it when people dropped of things at our house for us to have, and we never knew who they were. Or when the exceptional person would bring us treats and food and seemed delighted to do it. You can feel those things so deep...it gives human dignity a place within despair.

I think when you make up your mind to give, whether it be a little or a lot, the most important thing in tha,t is HOW you give it. If you cannot or will not give it cheerfully and without the need for something for yourself, then you are no doubt best to just not say anything or give anything at all. BUT if you TRULY can freely give, and cheerfully give, then I can tell you, you have made a difference to someone, somewhere.

I often think of the story of the little girl who walked on the beach after a great storm. And hundreds and hundreds of starfish were tossed way up on the high sands. Knowing that they were living creatures and knowing that the sea would never wash in far enough to bring them back out to the sea,where they needed to be in order to live, she began picking them up and tossing them back in the water.

In a distance a man was watching her, shaking his head in dismay, he approached her.

"You know" he said, "there are Waaay to many of these starfish for you to put them all back, it cannot be done. In the end all your work will not make any difference"

She stood up and looked at him. Then her eyes looked at all the starfish around her. The one that she held in her hand, she tossed into the water and said to the man,

"Well it made a difference to that one, now didn't it"

The man had to smile, so he leaned down and pick up a star fish and tossed it into the sea, and he add;

"and to that one too!"

You Daniel, are like that little girl...you made a difference to someone, you may not have changed a life, nor a people, but you might have filled a belly, or brought some happiness to that one person, and in that one moment, a difference was made.

I hope that my expressed feelings will help you not to feel so far away, and you realized that you did share this moment beautifully. Do know, that you are heard by those who know you best and those that love you the most.

You my son, are a fine, loving man. . As a little poor girl, you were the kind of human being that I would have hoped might has passed my way too!

I am proud to be your Mom. May God continue His work through you, and enlighten your heart even more. XOXOXOXOX

Your Mother
Hi Dan,
You've written with such honesty & modesty that I feel I can really appreciate & feel your sentiments even though I am sitting pretty in my nice warm & cozy little house "half a world away" This might be the best blog you've posted yet.
I love you brother & look forward to more posts & especially....SEE YOU THIS SUMMER!

Love Corinna

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Vicky and I will leave our hotel here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in about 30 min from now. I have an enormous amount of blogging to do, especially in posting photos of Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor. That will have to wait, but I will share some thought's until it's time for me to go.

Cambodia is a poor country, with violent past. It is filled with beggars and the homeless. Even those who work often live in shacks made of thin metal sheets, or reed thatched bamboo. Still, the people of Cambodia have a generally upbeat attitude. They are polite and kind. There are an especially large number of amputees in this country, due to the landmines that were placed here in the 1970's.

Even today, people are advised not to go far off the beaten trail. The lonely planet guidebook actually advises peeing off the side of a path rather than venturing a few meters into the forest. "Better to get spotted with your junk out than to lose it all together".

I have found negotiating my own behavior in this environment to be somewhat challenging. As a traveler who tends to visit countries where prices are not set but negotiated, I have become a careful, if that's the right word, consumer. My blond hair only compounds the message of my white skin, telling all "here comes a man with money". I usually check out multiple stores selling the same product, stopping in each to haggle, telling them I am comparing prices, I know what they are charging is ridiculous... I tend to be on guard for those trying to take advantage of me. I sometimes feel they are being greedy.

It's strange when stop to consider that thought. Greed. Taking advantage of another. I have find myself wonder who is taking advantage of who. Are they not correct in that I can afford to pay a dollar or two more. For my 2 dollars, they can live for a day. I will have a couple of beer.

I have seen ladies, who night after night bring their baby to a street corner to beg. My first instinct is to be angry. That baby could be home in bed. You are selfish to try to increase your nightly income by playing on my heartstrings. But what life situation does this lady lead, that she feels that this is her best option. Perhaps, as much for her child as for herself.

I have heard travelers everywhere say the same thing as they walk by these people... There's so many, you can't help them all! I was saying this to myself one night as I walked by these ladies, on my way to my air-conditioned room with a balcony looking out over the pool, surrounded by palms and flowering vines. I realized just then that I had been lying to myself. "you can't help them all".

I begin to do the calculations in my head 500 riels is about 12 cents. If I keep my wallet full of 500, or even 1000 riel notes I can pass one to every beggar who asks me for help. It may cost me about 2 dollars a day. I made sure on my last night in Siem Reap to to stop at each of the regular beggars I had seen, and give them a small charity.

As I stopped to give the ladies with the children money, a little girl catches sight of me and runs across the street. "Buy some food for me sir... food for me." Thoughts spring into my head. What are the chances that this money will be used for food, what are the chances that you will even get to keep this money for yourself. I catch myself again being guarded. 'What am I guarding??? my 12 cents?' I pass the girl a note.

As I rolled out of Siem Reap on the night-bus heading for Phnom Penh. It were these thoughts of greed and charity that tugged at my mind for the first couple of hours. My policy for the past couple of years has been to always give to those who are provided no other avenue in their society. I never wavered in giving money to a man missing limbs, or a blind man calling out "sir... sir" as I passed by. But for some of the other I thought, why can't you find a job...

I suppose I'll never have an answer to these questions. I don't think that anybody can tel you whether a beggar needs money, or is just lining his pockets. I think for myself, what I need to do is start asking the question "why not give a little" rather than asking, "why give my money to you" or "how do I know you really NEED my money".

It will end up costing me a few dollars more, but I'll hardly notice it financially. I have heard so many times, how little of the money given to North American charities actually reaches those in need. At least I can be certain that my money is going to someone who needs it more than anyone I have had the opportunity to know. Maybe I can give up on the haggling a dollar earlier from time to time as well.

Few things in this world can be put into neat little packages of correct or incorrect. I would love to be sitting down with any one of you as I maul over these thoughts, but alas, you are all half-the-world-away. Most of my posts give a shot of what I am doing. Today I give you a shot of what I am thinking (among so many other things)...

I would love to keep writing, now. I have lot's more I could share, but my tuk tuk is here to take us to the airport. We are off to Thailand.

I love and miss you all

May peace and joy find each of you


Monday, February 7, 2011

Joe is the Best Daddy ever!!!!

That was the sweetest post Joe....Feeding your boys. It gave us a great chuckle!!!

Lovingly; Mom & Dad

Dan & Vicky

Wow...That was fantastic to see and look at all your newest adventures. I LOVE YOUR STORIES AND PHOTOS....

Keep on sharing, it makes our day!!!

Lovingly Mom & Dad


Vietnam's Mekong

Unexcited by the seedy underbelly of Ho Chi Minh, we opt for a two day tour of te Mekong rive by boat. On the itinerary is a visit to a local island where honey is the main business. We visit some small villiages, a place where ladies make coconut candy, have dinner by the river, and listen to some locals play music live (they weren't very good). On day 2, we visit a floating market, a rice noodle factory and a local market preparing for the festival of Tet. We had a fun time.

Vicky and I board our first boat after a couple of hours on a bus. Let the 2 day river journey begin!

We land on Unicorn Island.

Visit a local tea hut.

Cheers with new friends

The tea hut has a jar of snake wine... Also known as the Vietnamese Viagra (hahaha).

should I try it????

Eh... what the hey...

Vicky captures my immediate reaction.

This part of the river, running between 2 islands is to shallow and narrow for the larger river boats. Here we see a local traffic jam.

A fun 30 min down this small river to our big boat.

The Vietnamese often bury their dead in their yard. We have also seen many graves right out in the rice paddys.

I'm brave because he's tied up and lying down.

Chillin' on the bow of our boat.

A family makes their way down the Mekong.

This lady noticed I had my camera pointed at her and gave me a flattered smile just before I took this shot from our boat.

Some houses lining the Mekong River.

Business by boat outside of Cho Tho.

Mixing up the rice goo.

If you ever find a pit hair in your rice paper or rice noodles... You know who to blame!

The rice goo is cooked using the dried husks from the rice (rice is covered in a husk just like corn). Everything is used. Nothing goes to waste.

This lady takes about 20 seconds to spread the rice goo, and cook it into paper before putting it out in the sun to dry.

Rice paper drying in the hot hot sun. This can then be shredded into noodles if desired.

rice paper can be shredded into noodles

Finished rice noodles.

Is it just me or is this pig still smiling.

One cultural difference is how we like our cuts of meat (Mmmmmm... pig face with the eyes left in YUM!)

Everyone loves a good dictator

Next stop; Siem Reap, Cambodia and the temples of Angkor.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ho Chi Minh (aka Saigon)

While in Saigon, we took our first night to explore the city around our Hotel (Madame Cuc's). We made friends with a fellow Canadian traveler, and went bar hopping for an evening. Not really any pics to show from this excursion. Who wants to see a buch of bar pics displaying the seedy underbelly of a city... It was fun though.

Our second day was spent exploring some of the more significant landmarks, including a central par, the War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame.

The two days following that, we headed out for a two day tour of the Mekong River by a series of boats.

A pic from the park

Outside the museum, are displays of the US war machine used in Vietnam, along with some of the pidly equipment used by the Viet Kong.

A propaganda poster in the museum. Once inside we did not take pictures of very much. Many of the displays were difficult to look at. That war was really sad.

Notre Dame

Inside Notre Dame (notice all the T.V. screens). V and I sat through about 30min of service. The singing of the choir (and the priest) was fantastic.

Stay tuned for our trip up the Mekong...

Hoi An

Hoi An is a pretty, but relatively sleepy little town. We were relieved that it was significantly warmer than Hanio. Most days the temperature here was in the low twenties. Really the biggest draw here is that the town is filled with tailors. Vicky had a couple of dresses made, and I had my wedding suit mad. We also both had custom shoes cobbled for us. I had a few requests from you guys that I didn't end up having enough time to fill, and wish that I had thought to ask before I arrived. Ah well; such is life uh?

An old man will ferry you across the river for a small fee.

I found some boys playing soccer at an old temple. I have taken many pictures of the kids as I travel as per Mom's continuous request.

The goalie was pretty cute.

Stay tuned for Ho Chi Minh ;)