Sunday, September 30, 2007

Update from Alameda Pimentels

School is back in session. Megan is a senior at Alameda High School, Cari is a sophomore at Cal Poly and John has started his final year at NYU law school. The rest of us remain enrolled in the school of life - every day challenges and opportunities.

We had a fabulous visit by Gladys Knight and her gospel choir last weekend at the Oakland InterStake Center. We had to hold members at bay so the members with non-member friends could have first priority to attend. Mike worked on the parking detail. Initial counts show that approximately 1,500 referrals were generated. Adding to the more than 2000 referrals recently from the Temple Pageant, the missionary work looks promising in this area.

I enjoyed seeing many of you at Bret's wedding and look forward to further reunion at Roger's. See you then. Yours, Uncle Jay

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Liz learns the true meaning of school lunch

Things got off to a somewhat slow start here at the SCI. After hours of basic writing, converting quarts to gallons, and decimals to fractions, I began to wonder if the second graders in the local elementary school were learning at a faster pace and could I join them for some mental stimulation. There's only so many ways you can say "keep hot food hot and cold food cold" before you want to gauge your eyes out from boredom. Fortunately, our classes here are only three weeks long, so by next Monday, I'll be in a kitchen. I've been using the extra time to read some classics, bake at home, and visit the pool, so I guess I can't complain too much. I did have one especially fun adventure last week, however. The school asked for some volunteers to help a guest chef from Valrhona Chocolates prepare for his demo, so I signed up for a few days thinking it would be fun. Why it didn't occur to the school that students in the intro class might not be qualified for this task is beyond me. Having never been in any of our kitchens, I was just as clueless as the chef when it came to finding equipment and ingredients, and often felt like I was more annoying than anything else. I was only slightly less clueless than my classmate, who was not only ignorant of where anything was, but also what anything was. After prepping, I was ready to go home when Chef Derek asked if I would stay for the demo, which of course I did. Little did I know that this demo was not for my fellow students, but for the top pastry chefs across the valley--my future potential employers. Only slightly petrified out of my skin, I stood at the demo table fetching this, washing that, mixing this and that together, and praying very very fast and hard that he would not ask me to fetch or mix something I had never heard of. Fortunately, I somehow made it through twelve hours without breaking any dishes, ruining any product, or otherwise embarassing myself. Chef Derek Poirer was very patient, and taught me a lot while I was there, like how emulsifying your ganache properly gives it better gloss and a cleaner getaway. I saw Derek later this week in a video competing in the World Pastry Cup--wow. It's a small world. So while this was perhaps one of the more stressful events in my life, I learned a lot, I networked a little, and I went home with a whole lotta expensive foreign chocolates. Very cool.
Another recent highlight of the week was dining at the school's restaurant, L'ecole. The meal was on the house, and the dishes were handed out at random, giving the students a chance to prepare all the menu items. I got lucky and received the stuffed rabbit saddle with foie gras and a lentil timbale, served with a dijon taragon sauce. Rabbit was new for me. Definitely edible, but perhaps not my first choice of meats. Foie gras, fattened goose liver, was definitely new for me. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit once I forgot what it was I was eating. The rest of the courses were delighful: a tuna "amuse-bouche" (pre-appetizer), a tomato appetizer, lemon sorbet intermezzo, classic creme brulee for dessert, and truffles, madelines, and candied orange peel to finish. This experience has given a whole new meaning to the term "school lunch," and I think maybe granite school district should kick it up a notch.
Well, I was considering posting my essay "my favorite food" (just another version of the "what I did this summer" writing assignment), but given the length of this discourse, I think it might be kinder not to. Bon appetite, everyone!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Elder Jon Pimentel 9/25/2007

Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:38 AM
Subject: Update

Nyob zoo tsev neeg!
I was actually the first one Daniel told about his fingers. Ouch! I still haven't ever broken a bone, but I've been present while a few different people have broken a bone (on separate occasions) and I have decided that it isn't for me. Sounds like Kent's life is going just perfect. I heard that Daniel has caught up to him in merit badges though. Kent: Do not do what I did and put your Eagle off and try to slip under at the last moment. You're only going to get busier, so do it NOW. In this letter I send my ten points of leadership to you; apply liberally.

At the Referral Center I had a really great experience. I talked to a man who had ordered a BoM (I was following up to see if he had received it), and we had a terrific, long conversation about the BoM and how it is simple and easy to understand. He had read much of it from a copy in his hotel room and thought it was great. He asked me a question about Nehor, and I had to rack my brain to remember who that was. He asked if Nehor was like Satan, but I wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that. I explained a little about what Nehor did and who he was, and the man said, "Yeah, that sounds like Satan to me!"
I realized that he had meant, "Is he like, Satan?" I explained that Nehor was a man who was deceived by Satan, and not Satan himself.

By the way, in the TRC I was talking about tithing and I accidentally said that God would pour the windows of heaven upon him...ouch.

Gotta go, love you all, keep writing, the church is true!
-Elder Meej

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Elder Jon Pimentel 9/18/2007

Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 7:43 AM
Subject: Txoj moo ntawm kev zoo siab

Nyob zoo tsev neeg!

The TRC went great, by the way. It's hard to feel the spirit when you are focusing more on how you speak than what you are saying. This week, however there where a few times during the lesson where I suddenly spoke smoothly and I could feel the spirit much stronger. This was usually as I bore testimony or resolved a concern. The gift of tongues is real, and the church is true. I'm about out of time, all of you have a good week!

Noj qab nyob zoo!
-Elder Meej

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cari's Second Gig

This is a flyer for the most recent of my events I have done. You may be asking how I was involved...well I AM DJ SNAX( the flyer says featuring DJ SNAX in the upper left above the grp name GO DAV). When I went away to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo I had no idea what opportunities I would have. While attending a hip hop show last school year I met a veteran hip hop DJ in the area whos been helping me purchase the right equipment and mentoring me. One of my best friends growing up who goes to Santa Barbara City College and wanted to throw a show and wanted me to DJ. So I packed up my turntables and headed down the coast. Little did I know that I would be "spinning" for 300+ people in what the building manager considered a "historical landmark". The event location was in a community center where Cesar Chavez held rallies for the people and there have been some pretty well known performers to go through the venue as well. The group who performed (GO DAV) is on the rise and looking to sign with a major record company which is a great resume builder for me! The event went so well the manager told me he had been looking for female DJs and asked if I would be willing to come back down to Santa Barbara to dj future events. It was a great learning exprience but I definatly have SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN. I'm trying to get in contact with some people there who have pictures from the night and will post them if I come across some. Maybe I should look into some sort of business card now...

Sam arrives in Barrow-in-Furness

On Thursday, Sam left the MTC and arrived in his first area, Barrow-in-Furness, just south of Lake Windermere, on the Irish Sea. A senior missionary couple there, Elder and Sister Luke, were kind enough to feed him and to send us a note saying he's doing great. Sister Luke says:

"What a great young man. We can tell already he will be wonderful Missionary.

"Elder Pimentel is easy to talk to and seemed comfortable about getting right in there. Everyone likes him and is already learning the names of Ward members. The members here are very humble and most of them are on welfare. They do not have the missionaries over to dinner very often so we have them all out here in groups. We had twenty three to dinner tonight and he fit right in with his great smile and good presence. He introduced himself and then gave a ten minute mini lesson as we had seven non-members here. He is well spoken and had no problem doing the lesson.

"His trainer is Elder Tomita from Japan . He is one of the finest missionaries you’ll ever meet. They seem to get on well together."

In a later note, she added, "Your son is in good hands with Elder Tomita, you would like and appreciate him. He is a good leader and does everything with excellence. He is also kind and very encouraging to his companions. Elder Tomita will be a perfect trainer for Elder Pimentel."

The Lukes gave some background on Barrow; their daughter was a missionary in Barrow 8 years ago:

"The people here in Barrow are poor and most are on welfare. They cannot afford to have us missionaries over to dinner (they call it Tea). So we have the families out here to the Farm House and feed them instead. We always have the missionaries too so they can teach the members and extra family that comes. Because our daughter was in this area and loved the people, the Ward members are happy to come be with us since we kind of know them too. It has jokingly turned into a Ward activity to guess who is coming to dinner at the Lukes. I think we have had the whole Ward over but for one family of 13 left."

There are a couple of pictures of Sam and his companion on the September 16 post on the Lukes' blog.

Needless to say, we absolutely love Elder and Sister Luke, who have been so supportive of our boy. We may hear from Sam as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, when he will have P-Day and will use the Lukes' computer to send us an email letter home. We are excited to hear from him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bret and Leslie wedding photos

Well, it seems like it has been a month or so since we had any posts about the big Bret/Leslie wedding. Our photographer finally has all 744 of the still shots from the wedding posted to his website, so fire up the high-speed connection:

Bret and Leslie's wedding photos

Or here a few highlights for those of you who actually have stuff to do:

Just married.

The Pimentel contingent.

Musical hijinks.

Ruth and Liz jockey for position. Let's see a little more hustle come November, Andrea.

Avuncular, yet goofy.

Elder Jon Pimentel 9/11/2007

From: Jonathan Pimentel
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 7:38 AM
Subject: Neb tus tub rog nyob zoo!

Nyob zoo sawv ntxov nej sawvdaws!

The TRC went quite well, and we had another experience that taught us to be very careful when speaking Hmong. We were talking about prophets, and my companion was explaining what the priesthood was. He meant to say that it was the authority and power God gives to men to do the work to cause to be able to save people's lives (to cause salvation...Hmong grammar is weird) but instead of saying "kom cawm tau neeg" or very literally "to cause to save (able to) people", he said "kom kawm tua neeg" or "to cause to learn to kill people". The volunteer paused for a moment then said "Koj tau hais dabtsi?" (What did you say?) My comp realized what he said and we all had a good laugh.

Lub koom txoos muaj tseeb! -Elder Meej

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lucy reenters the fray and sends everybody to sleep

Thought I'd touch in, having escaped (for a beautiful moment) the terrors of homework and studying.
As I think most of you know, I'm currently attending a School for the Arts, capitals and all. This means, for me, two and a half to four hours of cello practicing every day except Sunday, when I just do casual playing, not to mention the hour-long cello lessons and theory homework I have to do.
This is a big step up from my twenty minute to half an hour practice period and forty-five minute lessons, so it's taking a bit of adjustment.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely, positively luuuuuuuuurve my school. Somehow I've been placed in the highest orchestra with all the child-prodigy level kids, and am having the experience of a lifetime. Plus, our orchestra does all the cool stuff - we perform really often, go on an out-of-state trip every year, etc. Currently, as the assistant director of music has abandoned us to move to New York, we are occupied in tutoring beginners (and I mean beginners, kids who've never touched a musical instrument in their lives) on their respective instruments.
Besides, I'm in a huge cello section - there are nine of us in my theory class.
Our home teacher is taking composition classes at the local college, which is just about the coolest thing ever. The first visit he made we spent almost the whole time playing hymns for him while he quizzed us on chords, etc.
This week he gave us a piece of music for two violins and a cello to try out. It's pretty cool.

On a different note, I'm thinking about taking up fencing again - a huge commitment, since I'll need to buy my own equipment and sqeeze out another one and a half to two hours every week for lessons.
We've managed to get ourselves library cards, and are now ravaging the public library in search of books we haven't read. I'm finally getting to read the books on my humongous list of books impossible to find overseas.

Now, before you fall asleep in your chair (if you haven't done so already), I bid you adieu.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

She's Checked In

Well, I signed the largest check I've written in my life, I filled my car with gas, and I made the drive south to sunny Arizona, armed only with my sunscreen and pastry bags to keep me alive. I was fortunate enough to land myself an8 month lease in a lovely penthouse condo that sits about four minutes away from school. (To your left you will see my view of Scottsdale from my balcony). I admit, I was a little aprehensive upon arrival, considering I had never seen the place before, but as it turns out, I have a pretty nice set up here. Let the gloating commence: Here at Scottsdale Shadows, residents enjoy 24 hour security, tennis courts, a private golf course, pools, jacuzzis, saunas (for those who have lost their minds and want more heat), a gym, a library, billiards room, art studio, woodworking studio, and ceramics studio, to name a few. Why the crazy amenities? Well, actually, I have a confession. I have checked myself in to a retirement community (or, as my friend Brandon so kindly put it, "grandma country" -no offense to our senior population). Now, while it may be true that 0% of my neighbors are datable, and the social scene is pretty limited, particularly after 8 pm, there are some wonderful advantages to living in a retirement community. 1. Peace and quiet. I almost never have to tell Bertha to keep her rock and roll down. 2. Safety. Though I still do, I probably don't need to lock my door. I think it's more likely that someone will accidentally wander into my apartment thinking they're at their place than somebody breaking in to rob me. 3. Dear dear neighbors. Joyce and Phyllis on the fifth floor are simply delighful people. In fact, everyone I've met has been delightful. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that nobody has to go to work or study for finals. 4. Ego boost at the gym. Remember those horribly embarrassing days at the gym or pool, when you know you're out of shape, pasty white, and perhaps a bit chubby or unshaven, and you want to slip down the shower drain as you look around at all the beautiful triple T's (thin, tanned, toned) around you? Well, I'm still out of shape, pasty white, and perhaps a bit chubby, but for the first time in my life, purely by virtue of my age, I am quite possibly, by default, the prettiest thing around. So if you're feeling a bit down on yourself, I highly recommend paying me a visit. (Besides, you'll get to sit on my awesome retro L-shaped couch pictured above.)

I've been fairly impressed by my little town as well. Scottsdale seems to be fairly arts-friendly, and has quite the nightlife. There are many a restaurant and jazz club I am anxious to try.
School starts bright and early 6:30 Monday morning. I've just been to my orientation and picked up my uniforms and books, so it finally feels like things are starting. Granted we won't get into the kitchens for another three weeks (sigh), but I'm very excited nonetheless. I don't think I've ever stayed up so late reading ahead in my textbooks before school starts (and considering some of the fascinating psych books I've had, that's saying something). I really like the chefs here. Our Executive Chef Jon Paul was describing this chocolate he once tasted (made by the company who will be giving us a demo next week- yay!), and he got so passionate, with his arms flailing and the adjectives flying, he reminded me of a very enthousiastic conductor in the middle of Beethoven's fifth I once saw on PBS. I think I've found a kindred spirit.
I wish you all well as the school year starts and you head back to school, send your children to school, or take on whatever adventure life sends your way. Much love, Liz

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

try again picture

The pictures didn't work before so I'll try again.

Elder Jon Pimentel 9/4/2007

From: Jonathan Pimentel
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 10:14 AM
Subject: News from "Bubbylon"

That's what we call the MTC sometimes: Bubbylon (or Bubbleon). Last Saturday was the first time we taught a lesson at the TRC entirely in Hmong. It went great. Our volunteer used to teach at the MTC and he said we were among the best he's ever seen do an all-Hmong lesson for the first time. This week we have to teach the first lesson again in Hmong, but this time we have no teaching record, so we have no idea what to expect, and won't be able to plan very well. You teach someone very differently if they are Christian than if they have never heard of God.
Can any of you read Hmong? I was just thinking that it would be a lot easier for me to tell you interesting things about the language if you could imagine what the words sound like so I don't always have to try to explain it. For example, the phrase "Ua ntej peb pib" means 'before we begin", but sounds like the english phrase 'one day, baby'. Oops--I'm almost out of time.
We got a new teacher, and his mission was where Elder Vang lived. In fact, he taught Elder Vang's family and Elder Vang went on splits with him and taught him Hmong. (Our new teacher went to Alaska, where they send English speaking missionaries, then assign a few of them to learn Hmong after they get there).

Okay, got to go! Love ya!

- Elder Meej

Monday, September 3, 2007

From Calvin Ct.

Andrea is an angel and a genius in case you don't know that. She patiently worked with me yesterday to I can now post on the Blog. I hope to include some pictures taken at the twins 60th birthday party. Pretty good looking 60 year old grandmothers. Of, course Ty and Colleen are great looking grandmothers so this is nothing new to us.

I have missed getting exciting world wide stories from David and Annette that I could pass on to "Aunt" Janice. So now she is passing on good stories to me from her daughter Julie who for the next three years will be living in Abu Dhabi. Julie's husband Gary is in the FBI and is working in the American embassy there. One of his jobs is to travel to some of the towns and get acquainted. When he went to Oman and met with the man there he had to explain that he could not drink the special drink there because it was made with coffee. The man said, "What are you - a Mormon?" When Gary said yes the man told how his country respects the Mormons and they have a statue of our prophet in their country. Can you guess which prophet it is? It is Lehi. Figure that one out.

I am spending more of your inheritance and getting a new drive way and new patio poured. I keep tripping on the broken patio and Nancy has told me that she doesn't want to take care of me if I fall and break my hip. No one else has offered, so I am forced into the new patio. Besides, Alan Carlile has time to do it right now.

Love you all, Grandma