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We celebrate independence and the abundance of freedom we enjoy as Americans remembering that equality is also a symbol of freedom, one we struggle tirelessly to achieve. Every American should have a right to a quality education, full time employment that pays a livable wage, the right to marry the partner of their choice and the right to competent, timely and affordable health care.

 

 
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Lao New Year

Community Celebrations

April 4, 5 Jacobs Center - details

Wat Lao Buddharam Celebrations

April 14, 15, 16

Newest Family Member


We Welcome Anne Nahka


Welcome to the world Anne Nahka - Daughter of Kate and Peter Nahka, Andrew's Sister and Brother-In-Law.

Aryn mugs for the camera only hours after Anne was born.

Mother and baby are fine. Grandma adds another name to remember and another soul to love.

Andrew 'Touy' has another darling to shop for and spoil.

Anne and her aunty Tam now share the same birthday... January 15.

 

Christmas Day Family

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2014

With a house filled with lovely friends we celebrated our annual Christmas party on December 20th.The pictures tell the story. Thanks to everone who helped make this another special evening and to Bea for taking most of these pictures.Thanks for the lovely gifts and thanks to those who brought gifts for our Mama's Kitchen Food Drive.

Wonderful Imaginative Art

Getting Ready for Christmas Parties

 

Andrew is busy getting our home ready for the holidays with tree trimming and flower arranging. Click the Toyland parade and see Andrew and his festive Lao Community in the parade.







Andrew

Excited to celebrate our 14th anniversary on October 14, 2014

While we were touring Lisbon in August - Andrew happened upon this lonely statue and took great pleasure in filling in for her arms and head - at least for a little while. Passersby were enamored by Andrew’s dedication to that forlorn statue once I explained the situation. Who would have thought that all those miles away people would know what ‘He was recently released from Bellevue’ meant?

Happy Anniversary Andrew - without a doubt you are my absolute favorite. Without you I would have to do all the statue work myself.....

Summer Vacation - Mediterranean Cruise

Gotta love vacations even when you spend three hours waiting for the Pope and he never shows. So we survived two weeks in Europe and returned home all the richer for having stood face to face with amazing art, history and colorful people.
Our photo albums are loaded -

Our Itinerary and Photo slide Shows

Rome
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and 40+ piazzas, pizzas and glasses of local wine.

Vatican City
Vatican Museum - St. Peters Square and Basilica - and Sistine Chapel - OMG. The art is breathtaking.

Savona, Italy to Monte Carlo
Bus ride into France and on to Monaco and Monte Carlo. Oh how nice to be rich.

Barcelona, Spain
Christopher Columbus got lost there too. Tapas and local wine, divine. Very roman architecture.

Cadiz, Spain
Beautiful beaches. Much more Spanish than Roman in language and local architecture with French and Portuguese influences.

Casablanca, Morocco
Islam is apparent everywhere. In place of myriad churches stand mosques of equal grandeur. The local cuisine, Tajines, marvelous.

Tangier, Morocco
Camels, French and British influence, excellent coffee and picturesque hills overlooking the Mediterranean. Less Islamic than Casablanca. From the top of the hill you can see Africa and across the straight of Gibraltar, Spain.

Lisbon, Portugal
Sprawling coastline, Bay Bridge by the same designers of the Golden Gate bridge, magnificent stonework and architecture, new and old. Seafood, Sausage and Portuguese Beer, oh my.

Valencia, Spain
The Torres family has a long history there and the city is beautiful. Old sea facing fortresses and modern architecture using rich stone and brick. Like every city we visited, except Monte Carlo, you can't swing a cat without hitting a church or mosque.

Travel Tips:

  • No matter how many people get in your way while you're taking pictures, don't yell - 'photo bomb.'
  • Italians are culturally warm and friendly even when their conversations seem loud and animated. They clearly have a different concept of personal space than we do. Don't be offended if you get squeezed tightly on a crowded bus or elevator or bumped in a cafeteria line. Yes, like France, there is no deodorant in Italy.
  • The Leonardo Express train from the Fiumicino airport to central Rome is very convenient and efficient. The train station has multiple options for buying tickets. The kiosks are easy to use but don't ask that woman in the brown smock for help - she will cost you one euro and will happily haunt you until you pay her.
  • When you dine in a restaurant in Rome many, but not all, will include a 'service charge' which to us is a gratuity. Check for this before you leave a tip unless the waiter was exceptionally handsome and double tipping is your delight.
  • Hop On - Hop Off busses are now in all the big cities in Europe. It can be a great way to get a first broad look at the city and once you have completed the entire loop, you can decide where to hop off first. Just be sure to keep cab money available in case you have a tight time line. These buses provide ear buds so you can connect to their tour sound track in multiple languages.
  • Be wary of the smarty-pants touts that claim they can get you to the head of the line or an audience with the Pope. Head of the line, maybe... but the Pope, not happening.
  • The Vatican is a must see if for no other reason than to stand face to face with some of the most exquisite art in the world. But be aware... they take security seriously and they don't take American Express. The €7 elevator ride to the dome of St. Peter's Basilica is worth every penny. From the roof top you get an excellent view of the Vatican grounds and statue level view of St. Peter's Square.
  • In Casablanca, you buy something with euros you get change in Dirham. And that's ok... the Moroccan King, like Elizabeth in England, has his young portrait on the money. Rick's Cafe does exist in Casablanca but it is not like the movie and according to our guide, the food isn't worth the effort. The Hassan II mosque is beautifully crafted, second in size only to Mecca and open to all people who wish to pray.

 

First Epi Blooms of the Season

Enjoy them while they last, which is one or maybe two days. Even with the most extreme end of April we have seen in 900 years our Epiphyllums , AKA orchid cactus, start their annual bloom the first week of May.

They typically bloom at night and for some species the flowers bloom and fade in the same night which of course is where the saying 'if you snooze, you lose' comes from.

Ours seem to last about two days which better compensates all the care and anticipation.

 

Lao New Year - Festivities

One of the highlights of the LCCC Lao New Year Gala was Carol Manisouk and friends performing a surprise candle dance.

Andrew is once again busy with festival stage decorations and a host of family arts and crafts to highlight this year's Lao New Year. We will have a full photo album to share.

 


Festivities include a 2 day celebration at the
Market Street Plaza - April 5 & 6

2 day tradidtional festival at the Wat Lao Buddharam
Or call and come party with us...

 

 

Robert Manisouk (Andrew's Dad featured here) and his brother Van have fashioned a beautiful tiger for this year's Lao New Year celebration. Hand sculpted and painted she is getting the finishing touches and ready to adorn the parade float.

Chloe named the tiger 'Tara'

December 5, 2013 Nelson Mandela's Legacy "No One is Born Hating. If they can learn to hate they can be taught to love." -