Archive for 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding Nemo

It may look a lot like Christmas in Vietnam but the work is still going on here.  Both here and in China, Christmas is slowly becoming a more important event.  Decorations and lights are everywhere.  Yet, Chinese New Year is the REALLY big event and that doesn't happen until the end of January.  So, work goes on as usual here and the factories are pumping out product as fast as they can.

We were very fortunate to meet some wonderful people at the Las Vegas Hardware Show this past May, who run an excellent ceramic factory.  We placed an order with them and flew out here to visit to check out how our order was coming along for the Spring 2011 selling season.

Of course I can't show you what our ceramic line-up looks like because that's a secret until they hit the store shelves in April.  But I sure can show you what the KILN looks like here in Ho Chi Minh....

This gigantic oven pumps out glazed pots 24 hours a day these days.  There are 3 of these BIG BABIES at this location. 

The factory we visited was fascinating!

There were acres upon acres of drying greenware as far as the eye could see.  We were just amazed to learn about the process of making ceramic pots from start to finish.

Unfortunately, my post is not going to be about that.  Nope.  My post is about the DINNER we had after we were done at the factory.

By 8 pm, our hostess brought us to a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant so that we could try some authentic cuisine from the region.

The chicken in orange sauce was UNBELIEVABLE!

The beef satay with lemon grass was yummy too!

But what was the COOLEST part of the meal was the VEGETABLE SCULPTURE, in my opinion!

Fashioned from a SINGLE CARROT, these fish shaped legumes were a work of art!

This little fellow looked just like NEMO!  I wanted to take him home with me but the Big Guy thought we might get in trouble at Canada Customs on the way home.  So, I had to leave him behind.

I wonder, do you think they RE-USE this little fella?!  I contemplated his future with trepidition.  Would he go directly in the garbage?  Would he live to sit on another dinner plate again?  Hmmmmm!  I was waxing sentimental about this little fella.  Our dinner companions must have thought I'd lost my mind.

"It's just a CARROT!"  the Big Guy reminded me. 

So.......I left Nemo behind.  He'll have to find his own way home, I guess.
Besides the amazing food we ate that evening, we also were entertained with authentic Vietnamese music.

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for LIVE MUSIC!

What a great experience.  I wish all my blogger peeps could have been there.  But since that's not possible, I made sure to take a video just for YOU! 


Monday, December 20, 2010

Use Caution When Crossing the Street in Vietnam

The Big Guy and I only had a little time in Vietnam but it was certainly sufficient time to learn a very important rule..........use GREAT CAUTION when crossing the street!

As a matter of fact, we decided against crossing the street at all.   After watching the city traffic for a short time, we decided the lilly livered Canadians should never attempt to step into traffic if they want to return home safely.  You don't believe me?!  Just watch THIS......

We ended up standing at this uncontrolled round-a-bout for a full half hour.  It was fascinating to watch the way that the swarming mass of people on bikes, scooters and on foot managed to dance gracefully around each other without an unfortunate mishap.  How is it POSSIBLE?!

This family of 3 prepared to cross the street as we watched.....

They gingerly began to move forward.....

and SOMEHOW......

they made it to the other side unscathed.  They didn't even break a sweat! 

I am not that coordinated.  There was no WAY I was going to attempt such a feat!  So, instead we remained where we were and watched the people pass.

We saw people moving furniture.

We saw people delivering tires.

We saw FAMILIES on bikes.

We saw an entire KINDERGARTEN CLASS on a bike!

Can you imagine trying to deliver WEDDING FLOWERS like THIS........?!

This poor delivery guy is motioning for people to make room for him.  Of course, no one is going to give an inch.  So he just plows forward into the mess.......

and safely continues on his way.  These flowers are going to make it to the church on time!

The Big Guy and I just stood and watched this steaming mass of humanity move around eachother like graceful ballet dancers.

They went about their business while we snapped photos.

People pointed and laughed at us as we stood gawking in wonderment at the crazy traffic jumble.

I can highly recommend coming to Vietnam JUST to watch the traffic!

What fun, wandering down this busy street taking snapshots of people going about their regular lives.

People smiled and waved if they noticed me take their picture.

Maybe next time we visit, I should book more than two days here!

Now I leave you with another glimpse of some of the most precarious traffic I have ever seen!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Good Morning Vietnam!

Sunday morning in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.  We are perched on the 10th floor of the Equatorial Hotel where we can watch the comings and goings of the locals from our balcony while sipping a fresh brewed cup of coffee and listening to the bustling sounds of the city below.


This is our special day.  Sunday.  A day we set apart to stop our busy travels and labors to concentrate on our Creator.  The creator of all these MILLIONS of people living all over the world.....

all of them with a life of joys and triumphs, pain and sorrows......

lives filled with laughter......

 and work they need to accomplish.....

Today I was pondering how it is possible that our great Creator knows us ALL!  He even counts the hairs that fall from our head.  What a wonderful realization.  And what a blessing.

Hope you are all able to take time to count your blessings today.

Greetings from Vietnam

Make sure you also check out my "blogjacker's" post here because it's a must see.  This is what my kids do while I'm gone......break into my blog and post FANTASTIC music.  Why do I worry so much about them when I leave?!  They are clearly very well behaved in my absence........RIGHT guys?!



When your parents use the exact same password for everything they are practically asking for you to highjack their blog! :D 

Check out my newest video.

Love you mom! Hope your having fun in China! :D


Monday, December 13, 2010

Leaving Your Loved Ones Is Hard To Do!

How am I going to do it?!  I have to leave the Wee One and all my kids behind yet again.  We are jetting off to China with a pit stop in Vietnam starting Monday morning.  I really hate to go at Christmas.  I really do.

So I decided that it was time to decorate the Tree before we leave.......

But FIRST, we had to make sure that the organza wedding tent which arrived for Junior's wedding was the right dimension.  We didn't want to find out the week of the wedding that this lovely fabric tent isn't the right size after all we went through to ship it over from the orient.  So, finally we got a chance today to unroll it and take some measurements.

It's big......really BIG!

We almost lost the Wee One in a see of sparkly white organza.

Eventually, we managed to establish that the tent is the correct dimension so that takes one more item off my "To Do" list.

Then I tackled the Christmas tree!

The Big Guy went out and bought me a fake tree this year since I'm putting it up so early.  Can't have a fire hazard in the house while we are away, now can we?!

I am looking forward to getting home to enjoy the FESTIVE SEASON soon!

Since Blogger and Facebook are blocked in China, I will begin to go COLD TURKEY starting noon tomorrow.  I'm starting to feel jittery already.  You have no IDEA how tough it is to not have access.  It's horrible......cruel and unusual punishment, I tell you.

Wonder if they have a complaint department somewhere in Asia that I can go to?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Before and After - The Darvonda Christmas Edition

I have some exciting news for you all today.  The busy season here at Darvonda will soon be over.  Just last week we were completely plugged full of the most gorgeous poinsettia's you have ever seen.  We have been working really hard to ship those all to market.  As a matter of fact, the place is starting to look down right EMPTY!

Want to see that again?!  Here is BEFORE......

and AFTER.....

Hey, this is FUN. 


and AFTER......

All I can say is "Woohoo!  It's party time!"

But wait.  What do I see in my future?  Is it time to relax and start preparing for Christmas dinner?  Can I start my Christmas gift shopping finally?  Or maybe I have time to send out my Christmas cards?!

Not a CHANCE!  This is the greenhouse industry, people.  We've got a lot of organizing to do for NEXT Christmas!  Unfortunately for me, that means another trip to the orient on Monday. 

Yup, you heard me right.  Back on an airplane to China to work on samples and ideas Christmas 2011.

Oh, woe is me.  Another week away from the Wee One......

But, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right?!

Now, make sure you stop by Steve Whysall's blog today because he's done a really cool article on Darvonda and all the innovative things we've tried over the years to bring new ideas to the market.  Not only that, he's got some GREAT photos in the greenhouse (I borrowed a few for my blog today).  His photographer makes my poinsettias look REAL good.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Jansen Family Christmas Card Photo Session

Every year I like to send out Christmas cards.  I love the personalized touch, so for the last few years we have sent out a family photo. That way our friends and relatives can keep up with us and how we are all aging over the years.

But, have you ever noticed how STRESSFUL family photo sessions really are?!

First of all, we have the difficulty of finding a suitable place where we can have the pictures taken that isn't too far away from the greenhouse since this is BUSY SEASON and no one actually has any TIME to sit for pictures.

Then there is the issue of color coordinated clothing.  Have any of you EVER tried to get the ENTIRE family into similar tones of clothing for a photo shoot before?!  Trust me, this sort of project is not for the faint of heart.  Much organizing is involved.  Complicated clothing swaps will ensue.  Safety pins and belts are used to keep borrowed clothing on for the picture.

Of course, once everyone arrives for photos, care and attention must be paid to how long certain members of the family will be willing to sit and smile for the camera......

Some of us LOVE getting our picture taken.....

and others, not so much!

Some of us end up looking like we should be in the pages of a glossy magazine.....

and some of us just look like we should "GET A ROOM!"

All in all, family photos always APPEAR a whole lot more RELAXED than they were in real life.  But I don't care.  I am happy to force my kids to get all dressed up for my Christmas photo regardless of how hard they fight me......

because it's worth every last bit of stress and anxiety it causes!

Let me know your FAMILY PHOTO FIASCO's by leaving me a comment.  I LOVE to hear from you!

And just in case you were wondering who took our wonderful photos, just pop by my favorite photographer's website, Dragonflight Photograpy,  to check out more of her amazing work.