Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday Is Almost Here

I thought I could sit out here on the patio and clear my head. It may take a while... It is a nice evening with a clear sky and almost no wind. I refilled the tiki torches so I have them burning. I just wish that I didn't have to get up in the morning. The whole time I'm sitting here I'm thinking that I need to go to bed so that I can get up before the sun again. I didn't get up on time this morning. I was awakened when Jordan knocked on my door at the time we are supposed to leave. We left about 3 minutes later. We were on time for work. It left me with a dull headache the rest of the day. (I guess that I sound whiny - but that is how I feel.) I need a long vacation (like several months).

We watched the elimination show for So You Think You Can Dance. I really didn't want to watch two of the final six get eliminated. They are all very accomplished dancers. Next week is the finale and then I will be released from mandatory TV for several weeks until the next episode of Survivor starts (I don't know, maybe I won't watch it this season. I don't really like having a show that I feel compelled to watch.)

After reading Jared's email and seeing his pictures yesterday, I am really grateful for the family that he is living with. The Hann's are so wonderful to take care of two teenage boys. I see the picture of Sister Hann with the silly string on her and I think of what a great sport she is. I am looking forward to meeting them when we travel to Alabama to meet Jared at the end of his mission. I hope the Lord pours lots of blessings out on them for taking on this assignment.

I worked out on the Wii again this evening. I lost 0.7 lb since yesterday. That was good because I had gained 5 lbs yesterday. My medication doesn't seem to be working as well as I have been retaining water. It is so difficult growing old - things start going on healthwise and the doctors can't seem to figure out what is happening. Jordan's friend overheard me talking about my water retention and said that the same things happens to his mother (it must be age). So tomorrow I am hoping that I will lose about 6 lbs. It really does make you want to work out. I just need to get it moved out of my family room and into the rec room in the basement. I surprised the kids and beat them all at the downhill slalom skiing game. I scored the fastest time with just over 27 seconds. The next fastest time is about 45 seconds. I also hold the top scores on several other Yoga activities. I think it is funny that the kids are surprised that I can do these activities. They must think that I am near death.

I hope there aren't too many typos in this blog. I am sitting here in the darkness typing on a laptop (not my forte). Sherrie is reading to me out of the Ensign (I guess that is the elementary school teacher practicing). It is supposed to be a hot one again tomorrow. I am really over the heat and ready for cooler weather. I did get the mirror on my car fixed (well, at least the mirror housing - the mirror itself is a special order item - stupid deer). I was pleased that I was able to repair it so that it is structurally sound and fully functional. It also saved me 80 dollars (yeah!!!!). Well, it is time to go to bed. I can't be late leaving in the morning because I need to put gas in the car. Jordan is counting down the days. He only has two more weeks before we take him down to SUU. I guess that is two more weeks until we have a cleaner house (when his room is overloaded he overflows into other parts of the house - lucky room mates). He is such a good kid, but not very focused on keeping his living spaces clean and organized. I guess it is time to put out the torches and swallow all the medicines that they tell me keep me alive (they can't tell me why I retain water) and sleep for a few hours before I have to tackle another long, hot day. Well, now I have whined enough to clear my head. It is quiet except for a few dogs barking and the occasional chirp of the Wii inside while Jordan does his exercises. I really love it when it is quiet and cool and dark. I feel like I could sit out here all night, but I'd better not....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jared Pictures July 30, 2008

Jared sent some pictures via email today. He must have figured out how to do it with his myldsmail account. I've posted them for anybody to see. We are all sitting around in the family room again exercising on the Wii. It was discouraging because I gained 5 pounds since yesterday (that is what happens when I don't take my water pill - my hands feel like water balloons). At least tomorrow I should lose about 5 pounds (yeah!!). I did 20 minutes exercise tonight. I seem to excel at the Yoga activities (I guess I'm good at exercises where you just stand still), but they do cause me to break out in a sweat. I also got my exercise returning the chairs to the church from Jared's farewell luncheon (it took me a while to get them back). It was getting to where I couldn't get into my garage so I had to get some things out. It is nice to have that done so I don't have to fret about it everytime I open the garage. I think I have my mirror fixed also. I glued it twice but each time it re-broke (is that a word). I finally took it completely apart so that I could apply more structural adhesive. Now I just have to get the replacement mirror. Tonight Sherrie and I watched our So You Think You Can Dance. It is getting to where I don't know who I would vote off. I didn't get to spend my time on the patio tonight. I guess it was probably too hot to to sit out there anyway. Well, again it is way past my bed time. Last night I went to bed too late and slept through my alarm this morning. Jordan knocked on the door at the time we are supposed to leave so we had to exceed the speed limit at times to get to work on time . Tomorrow is Thursday which means that it is almost Friday which is almost the weekend (wishing my life away) Well, until tomorrow ....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Garden

Here it is late at night again and I need to sleep and instead I find myself blogging. Every night I go out and look at my gardens. I find them soothing and relaxing after a stressful day. We have been eating zucchini squash from the garden and have watermelon plants that are beginning to bloom. We are anxious to harvest fresh tomatoes. Well, Now that I have put some pictures of my flowers and veggie garden on here I can go to bed. Good Night.

Dumb Deer

After all the trauma of buying a new car (well a new used car), it has had it's first tragedy. Yes, I've only had it for a couple of weeks. I don't even have the permanent plates on it yet. On Monday morning as Jordan and I were driving to the plant, right on the edge of Tooele, a large buck ran into our car. Yes, he hit us. I was watching him dance around in the field and had come almost to a complete stop when he bolted towards the car and hit the passenger side of it smashing his face into the windshield. Jordan who had not seen him was quite surprised. He bounced off the side of the car and took off across the street (too bad somebody else didn't hit him and kill him). Well, he broke the electric mirror off. I am going to try and repair the broken plastic and replace the mirror. If that doesn't work, I've located one at a scrap yard. What a pain!!! I can't believe after all the years of driving through mountains and back roads I get hit by a deer right in town (well on the edge of town). That is really just the luck that I have. The positive side of this is it is an older car so I'm not really devastated. If it had been a new 2008 Subaru I might have felt more emotional (drive that one careful - you know who you are). Jordan is just glad to be alive. That is probably the closets he has ever been to a large buck (he had a big rack on him). Jordan's face and the buck's were only a few inches apart at the time of impact (the stupid deer smeared slime on the windshield). I'm glad that we weren't hurt and the car didn't sustain serious damage. I guess that I am also glad that the deer escaped mostly unscathed. So drive careful and always were your seatbelt....

Wii Be Fit

The latest craze in our family is the Wii Fit. Jordan sold his long board (a long skate board) to a friend and recycled the revenue into a Wii Fit. This is actually a remarkable fitness system. I worked out on it for 11 minutes and broke a sweat (when your fat you break a sweat after about 10 seconds). A guy Jordan works with has lost 40 pounds in a few months using his Wii Fit. Last night we even had a neighbor come over to check it out to see if he is going to buy one. The bad part of all this is that Jordan leaves for SUU in just about 3 weeks. So now we are going to have to buy a Wii and a Wii Fit so that we can carry on. It starts off by analyzing your body using age, weight and a few fitness moves. Of course, I was diagnosed as OBESE (no big surprises there), but surprisingly my fitness age was 35. It told me that I was in very good shape for my age (I love this system). I especially enjoy the yoga and downhill skiing games. I think that it has been running constantly since Jordan brought it home last night. This morning Jordan actually got up early for work so that he could work out on it before we leave at 5:30 am. I wish we'd had this during the school year to get him out of bed. Jonathan has been working out on it a good portion of the day. You earn new games/exercises for spending time working out. Sarah has earned almost all of the extra games! In a few months nobody will recognize us, we will all be sveldt (I think that is the word). One of the funny things it does is to modify your Mii (your Wii character) to fit your weight classification. So now I have this rolly polly Mii. I guess that is to further motivate you to work toward your weight goals (in reality it is probably just the Japanese game developers laughing at all the fat Americans buying their product. Well, I am motivated. I don't like having to look at a fat Mii on the big screen TV. Isn't technology great! We finally found a video game that Sherrie likes. She actually told me that because Jordan is leaving we need to get a system for us (Jonathan and Sarah) to use. In summary, what a great system, we now have quality family time in the family room watching each other work out on the Wii....

Jared's Letter 7-24-08

We received Jared's very short letter this week (about 3 sentences) with these pictures. But as Jared says, "A picture is worth a thousand words." (He does write much longer emails). I can tell from the written word and the pictures that he is having a blast and loves what he is doing. I knew he would be a successful missionary because he has such a positive outlook on life and fully engages in whatever he is doing. It is hard to believe that he has already been out for 12 weeks (over 10% complete).

It's been 23 years since I returned from my mission. Hard to believe that in a few short months I will see the next generation of returned missionary.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday is too Short

Here it is late on Saturday evening again. This time of the week comes all too fast. I hate to go to bed because I know I will have to wake up and it will be Sunday (not that I dislike Sundays, but it means another week starts). I don't think I dreaded Sunday quite as much when church started later in the day (we have 9:00 church which is so hard to get to with teenage children). Families with small children think that it is hard to get to church, wait until they have teenagers that aren't going to move any faster than they want to. A teenage daughter is not going out the door until she is completely ready, even if it means arriving 30 minutes late! I love my children dearly, but I can see where some things will be much easier when they are out on their own.

I didn't get to go hiking today. It was really too hot to go, but I still felt disappointed. Jordan, Jonathan and I went to the indoor city swimming pool to get out of the house for a few hours. It was my first time there. It is really nice. It was fun to swim and not be out in the blaring sun. We all had a good time.

Jordan had a birthday party to attend tonight, so Sherrie and I took Sarah, Jonathan and Britney to dinner at the Chinese Buffet. Everybody seemed to enjoy it but me. For some reason, it didn't set well with me and it left me with an upset stomach. So Jonathan and I came home and watched a movie (The Bourne Ultimatum). I felt a little better by the end of the movie, but even now I still don't feel well.

The time keeps ticking by and I keep postponing going to bed... Tomorrow morning is going to arrive much to early!

Lagoon Day Two - July 25, 2008

Well, I survived a second consecutive day at Lagoon. Today I actually only had to survive from 5:00 on (when it was much cooler). The kids went out earlier in the day so they could have more time to ride the rides. Sherrie and I went to watch the shows but I convinced her to ride some rides. I prefer the rollercoaster rides. I think it is because when I was much younger I was so afraid of roller coasters. The first time I remember going to Lagoon as a child I remember sitting on the steps of the White Rollercoaster while everyone else went on it. I had fun tonight. We rode the White Rollercoaster, the Fire Dragon twice and the Wicked. We slowed it down a little and rode the Ski Lift and the Ferris Wheel. Sherrie is a good wife because she will go with me on the rides even though she doesn't necessarily like them (Fire Dragon). The kids are all trying to get me to ride the Samurai. I decided that next time we go I will take some dramamine and give it a try. I just worry about getting on the ride and getting really sick.

We had a good time tonight. Jordan was too tired to go with us so he opted to go swimming with his friends. I guess he was so tired that he is still out with his friends at 1:00 in the morning. It really is amazing how quickly the young adult body recuperates. I guess that I should get to bed.

One Year Anniversary

It is the one year anniversary of my Grandfather's death. To me it doesn't seem like a whole year has gone by. We visited Grandma last week and she was in good spirits and mentioned the one year anniversary. I have fond memories of my grandfather and his dry wit. I remember one time driving in the car and he commented, "Oh, it's a lady mountain. The sign says soft shoulders." I also visited my grandparents on their fiftieth anniversary. It was a Sunday and I drove up from Provo to see them not realizing it was their anniversary. When I took their picture, Grandma told him to look like it had been a good 50 years. They did have good years. I now enjoy gardening like my grandfather. I was blessed with good Grandparents and feel fortunate to have good memories with all of them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Day at the Mag Mine

Here it is another day at the Magnesium Mine (technically it is a mining operation even though we are taking the magnesium from the Great Salt Lake water). I am so tired from being out in the sun all day yesterday that I am having a hard time staying awake. I actually took a short nap in my chair at lunch. I feel for Jordan today. He got home at about 1:00 in the morning after working 12 hours and had to turn around and get back up at 5:30 to come back out here for another 8 hours. I was thinking as I was driving out here that maybe I should have swapped yesterday for today. Pioneer Day is kind of like Halloween or Valentines Day, it's one of those holidays that doesn't necessarily justify time off work (we don't even get President's Day off here). It would have been much easier to go to Lagoon today and then sleep in tomorrow. But I guess that is what we are doing anyway.

Tonight Sherrie and I are going back to Lagoon to watch the shows that we didn't get to see last night. Britney, Sarah, Jonathan and Kelsey (the neighbor girl) went this morning to enjoy another day in the blistering heat. You just don't feel the heat as much when you are younger. They are likely having a blast without parents there to worry about them. I remember when our children were young and we would see the older teenagers there by themselves and wonder what type of parents allowed their children to go to Lagoon by themselves. Well, we are those parents now - so I guess those other parents we were questioning at the time were probably good parents too. I am hoping to go hiking tomorrow morning, but with temperatures predicted over 100 I'm not sure that it would be a good idea. Although when we hike to Willow Lake a few weeks ago, it was in the 90's in the valley and much cooler in the mountains. I guess I will just have to see how everybody feels tomorrow (they are usually agreeable if it doesn't involve getting out of bed before noon). Now that I've been able to wake up a bit, I had better get some more work accomplished in this last hour....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pioneer Day Celebration

In looking for a way to commemorate Pioneer Day and remember the toils and sufferings of our pioneer ancestors we decided to go to Lagoon (don't ask what the logic was because there wasn't any - it just sounded fun and I had a day off work). We arrived nice and early - forgetting that it was mid-week we were there about 15 minutes before the rides opened so that gave us time to actually take a group photo (you don't see me because I am on the other side of the camera lens). It this blog seems incongruent at times it is because my neighborhood sounds like it is blowing up right now. Again, I don't know what fireworks have to do with Pioneer Day (let's burn down the state that we just spent countless months and miles journeying to). I don't like loud noises or fireworks (in the hands of amateurs). Anyway I digress. Britney accompanied us to Lagoon. Since there were only five we were able to take the new fuel efficient Subaru (I'm not sure the three in the back were as excited as I was, but then they weren't paying for the gas). What can I say about Lagoon? IT WAS HOT! We rode the Wicked and the White Rollercoaster before heading to the water park. Even in the water it was hard to feel comfortable. I guess if I wasn't so severely overweight it wouldn't have felt so miserably hot, did I say HOT. We did have fun going down the water slides and floating in the lazy river. We floated so long, my leg went to sleep which has never happened before (on the lazy river). Jonathan had his braces tightened yesterday so he wasn't feeling up to par. He and I decided to hit the rides and leave the girls to sleep in the water park. We rode the Flying Aces and then took the ski lift to the other end of the park to ride the Colossas. After those three rides and the heat I was done for (these stupid fireworks are going to put me into cardiac arrest - is there a state where not rednecks live and they don't have any fireworks?). Everybody decided that it was time to head home. I would have liked to have stayed and watched a couple of the shows, but it was just TOO HOT. I guess in a sense we experienced what the pioneers experienced for a short period of time. We were hot, uncomfortable, drenched, then parched, tired, sore feet, cranky and anxious to arrive at our home. Maybe this was a more appropriate pioneer remembrance activity that I had first imagined. The air-conditioned car sure felt good (if there are typos it is because there are bombs going off next door). We arrived at home earlier than planned and everybody took a nap.

I am proud of my pioneer heritage. These were people who were committed to their beliefs and willing to take the necessary actions to pursue their dreams and ambitions. They have a great heritage full of many wonderful and accomplished descendents. It also means that I carry some of that genetic coding for success (I hope - I keep waiting for it to manifest itself). Sherrie and I both have pioneer ancestors so our children carrying that in them also. I think it is great that this state holiday has been preserved and is recognized and celebrated (I just wish they would do away with the fireworks).

I am really tired right now so I should head off to bed. Not that I will be able to sleep with all the firework noise!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ruby's New Friend

We were excited to have Britney come up from BYU to spend the weekend. Ruby was so excited he immediately took up residence in her lap for the duration of So You Think You Can Dance (poor Britney is allergic to cats - she was good sport). No matter how we tried to coax him he wasn't leaving. I'm grateful that Britney's parents let us borrow her for some of the weekends. It makes us feel that Jared isn't so far away. She is really delightful to have around the house.

Today is Wednesday (aka P-Day) so we got to read the emails from Jared. He is doing really well and loves Cullman. He was a little disappointed that they didn't get to confirm the Matt Southworth because he had to go out of town on a family emergency. But they are planning it for this coming Sunday. He likes his companion and the family that he lives with. Today was temple day so he was also excited that they got to go to Birmingham to the temple. Jared told Britney that Wednesday is like Christmas. He gets up early because he gets to open and read his mail and packages. He really must be an obedient elder to not open mail (especially from Britney) before the designated day. We are really proud of him. He has completed just about 3 months already (my how time flies). That translates to about 12 percent (not that I'm counting).

It is a cool evening and I'm sitting out on the patio with Jonathan enjoying the sunset. It would be perfect except for our screaming neighbors. They moved in about 6 months ago and can't say anything in a normal tone of voice. It has to all be said with screams and profanity. I guess I should just consider that it adds color and diversity to the neighborhood (they still haven't fixed their roof damage so maybe they will lose the house - I should be slapped for thinking evil thoughts like that). It really is a nice evening and even better because tomorrow is a holiday (yeah!!!).

Tonight we experienced something for the first time, Ruby caught his tail on fire. He jumped up on the table and swished his tail across a candle. Britney looked over and saw smoke coming from his tail. She was quick to the rescue and snuffed it out. There wasn't much noticeable damage except for the smell of burnt fur. Maybe Ruby will now stay off the table.

Jordan stayed and worked late tonight because somebody in the warehouse called off work. They called a taxicab to bring him home. Now that's royal treatment. I've never had a taxi take me home from work. I'm sure that the over 90 mile fare wasn't cheap. He's become a valuable member of the warehouse team. I'm sure they are going to miss him when he leaves for school in a month (I'm not sure he will miss the warehouse - may the money). It has been nice riding to work with him everyday. It gives a chance to just talk and shoot the breeze. It's also given him time to improve his Rubik's Cube skills.

I mowed the lawn in the hottest part of the afternoon, so I am really tired tonight. I guess that I should sign off and get ready for bed. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day going to Lagoon (if I can score a chair by the pool, I think I will take a nap).

The kitchen painting project made progress last night. I finished the first coat above the cupboards. Tonight I should finish it all and put things back where they belong. It is always difficult to paint when you're living in the space. I really don't like to move everything out of its place and then leave it there for days (that feel like years) while the paints dries. I really like the color Sherrie chose. It is a real update to the kitchen, and house as a whole. I have to admit that I feel my age more and more with these labor intensive projects. Up and down on the ladder, standing on the countertops, balancing and reaching are more tiring than they used to be (whine whine). Well, the good thing about putting all this work into this house is that I am more likely to stay in it because I don't think I have it in me to take on another large project. I was thinking last night about how I basically completed the Oregon house project in a year. That project involved significantly more work than this house. I really don't know how I did it. After painting for a couple of hours (it was really probably only an hour but it felt like more) I had to sit on the couch and recover. Tonight I will finish it up and take a couple days reprieve before I tackle the next big project (tiling the laundry room floor-which will lead to painting and building new cabinets, etc.).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Elder Gibby

Jared appears to be enjoying his new area in Cullman. Living with a retired couple is the posh life. He and his comp had a baptism, Matt Southworth, which was exciting for him. From the pictures he looks like a nice young man. I can worry less now that he isn't living across the street from a crack house. We look forward to Wednesdays and Mondays because those are the days we get letters and email. The lady at the post office knows Sherrie now (she mails a package every week faithfully). Jared sent us some pictures which I've included. The first picture is the house he lives in. The second is the Hann's who own the home. The third is Jared with Matt Southworth at his baptism. The last is Elder Batman (they're still 19 year old kids!).

The worst is over (I think) with my kitchen painting project. I completed the second coat on the vaulted walls last night (yeah!!). It really is amazing how much better the paint looks with just that second coat. Tonight I get to work above the counters (I hope that I'm not too heavy to stand on the counters or I could be retiling.

Sherrie took the kids school clothes shopping in SLC yesterday. I think they had a good time. Everybody came home with nice clothes. I told her something must be wrong where the kids are wearing designer clothes and we are shopping at DI - oh well, only a few more years and that will reverse itself. I am just glad that I didn't have to go shopping. The older I get the less I like to shop. I really dread going clothes shopping (I only dread car shopping more than that)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another weekend come and gone. I feel I accomplished as much as I set out to do which is good. Normally I have a long list of TO DO's and nothing gets done. Friday night Sherrie and I went out to dinner at Casa Del Rey. It was good, as usual. We then went to Home Depot and picked out a paint color for the kitchen. We had previously selected a color at Walmart, but when I painted a wall in the kitchen it was definitely too green (we were trying to a light brown, but not beige). We found a color called "chocolate" which resembles a light milk chocolate (how appropriate). I put a coat on the wall Friday night and after it dried we determined it was a go. Saturday I painted for a while and then took Jonathan to the pool while Sherrie took Jordan school clothes shopping. Sarah had been a Youth Conference (at Snow College) and arrived home just before we went to the pool. As I thought, she was too tired to go swimming so she stayed home and took a nap. Jonathan and I had a lot of fun at the pool, although I did get a little burned (I just finished recovering from my last burn at Lagoon). If only I could stand to put on sunblock lotion - I just don't like the feel of lotion on my skin. Oh well, this wasn't a bad burn (like the last one) and it should heal up quickly. After swimming we came back to the house and I proceeded to paint. It was a lot of high ladder work (which I don't like). Paint a little and then move the latter (up and down). I did get all the high walls painted (first coat). Sherrie came home and gave it that "I'm not sure about the color" look. I certainly didn't want to have to paint it a different color again! By Sunday morning it had dried and looked like the color she wanted. Now I just have to do it all over again and put on the second coat. It does give the kitchen a newer look. With the kitchen unusable (everything moved away from the walls, we elected to go out for dinner after church (ox in the ditch). We went to Olive Garden for soup and salad which was nice. We then went to visit Grandma Gibby. She was looking very good. We had a really nice visit although I noticed she had a little more difficulty with her hearing. She brought out her 1931 yearbook to show Jordan her brother John's cartoons. I think Jordan was impressed. It was fun to look at the pictures in the yearbook. I had never seen a picture of Grandma that young before. We also saw a picture of John. Since it was the yearbook from her Sophomore year we didn't see Grandpa's brother Everett. She said he was a year behind her in school. She said that her nurse had been to visit her and told her that her heart was doing better (she sounded disappointed). She walked around the house quite a bit and showed us the drawing of the Salt Lake Temple in the bedroom and the flower that is blooming in the living room. She was happy with the flowers that had been planted in the yard and was somewhat concerned about the burned spots in the lawn. We had a really nice visit. I think Jordan, Sarah and Jonathan are surprised at how much she does given her age. We came home and sat out on the back patio well past bedtime because it was so nice outside. I really enjoy sitting out on my patio looking at the flowers and watching the birds. My Wisteria are starting to grow well and I am hoping they will cover the arbor by the end of the summer. The Clematis that we planted with the Wisteria are also starting to grow and are even putting out flower buds now. I guess they have finally adapted to the hot summer days and have enough roots situated to let them grow. I have another Echinecia that has bloomed and it is a lighter pink color. My Crocosmia has finally put out buds and should bloom soon. I bought a couple more Azaleas and planted them. They are supposed to have a double blossom. So far the azaleas and rhodys that I put in have done well. They are in a garden location that gets partial sun and stays fairly damp. I will see how they do this winter (they are close to the house so I am hoping that will make it). My squash, tomatoes and watermelon are all growing on top of each other. So much for trying to plant all those viney plants in a 5x5 plot. Jonathan looked at it and said, "Maybe we can grow corn next year." Well, I just picked my 6th zucchini so I guess the small space isn't stopping them altogether. Well, I guess that I have rambled on just about enough. This is a short week with Thursday off. I think we are going to Lagoon (more sun burn). The summer really is going by much too fast.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Eugene House

I was looking back through pictures on Picasa this morning and came across the pictures used to advertise the house we sold in Eugene, Oregon when we moved to Tooele. This was somewhat bittersweet for me. I poured a lot of my soul into that house. It was in terrible condition when we purchased it and we essentially redid it inside and out. It was very different from all the other houses we've ever owned. It was a big, cedar, modern-style home set on a 1/3 acre of old growth forest. The yard had no grass but was beautiful with all the natural vegetation. When we sold the house (finally after months of waiting), a large tree fell on the house the day of closing, as if to stop us from going. It think it appreciated the fact the somebody had loved it enough to make it a beautiful place to live. Well, it only succeeded in stalling the closing for a week while repairs were completed. I hope the new owners appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making it a beautiful abode. I've placed a slideshow with pictures of the house on my blogspot...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pop Culture Freak

I am starting to see the warning signs that I am becoming a pop culture junkie. I went to an American Idols tour, I watch 2 nights of So You Think You Can Dance each week, and I am anticipating the next season of Survivor. No wonder the laundry room floor isn't tiled, and the cabinets aren't built and I haven't hiked Deseret Peak (well, at least I can blame the snow pack for that one). The 4:30 am alarm is taking its deadly toll on my quality of life. I am relinquishing the things I enjoy (is enjoying tiling and painting sadistic?) for mind numbing, albeit relaxing activities. Oh woe is me.

At any rate, I did enjoy the the show last night. It is getting hard to choose who I want voted off because they are now all so good. I think tonight I will try meshing painting with watching the results show. I should be able to see most of it while painting the kitchen. That way I won't feel so guilty (really I never have felt any guilt pains) while watching the show (but I will feel alot better about the kitchen being painted finally). When I get it all painted I will take a picture and post it so that all you blog cruisers will know that I accomplished it.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We did it - we went to the American Idols Concert in Salt Lake City. It was really a blast. While we were up in the nosebleed section (where you could barely make out the performers on the stage - that is really probably more of a problem with my eyesight), it was fun to be there. It was in the E Center and there were a lot of people in attendance. What made me feel more comfortable, is the fact that there were more middle-agers and families than I had anticipated. The music was good and the atmosphere was upbeat. We were able to make it out to our car and get out of the parking lot before the big traffic jam ensued, so we did make it home at a decent hour.

I've been trying to take advantage of the cultural opportunities of SLC (does this count at cultural? Well, I guess it is pop culture). We went to an NBA playoff game against the Lakers and will be attending the Celine Dion concert later this year. I used to be adverse to spending so much money on an event, but I've found that the memories are more than worth it. It isn't just about the music of the game, but it is about being with other people, en masse, at something that is uplifting and bonding. It is about creating memories with my wife so that when we are old and house ridden we have things to talk about (remember when ....). Sherrie loves American Idol and it was fun to take her to their concert.

I did learn that for events at the E Center, plan more time to get into the facility. We gave ourselves 30 minutes to get from Redwood Road over to the facility. We ended up darting (well, fast walking) into the E Center about 1 minute past the time the concert was supposed to start. Of course, there were still streams of cars and people trying to make their way in, so I assured Sherrie that they certainly wouldn't start with half their audience outside (Mormon standard time). We made it to our seats with 5 minutes to spare.

We were home late last night and I certainly felt it this morning. But it was worth it...

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's hard to believe that another weekend has come and gone. This feels like one of my busiest summers ever. We bought the Subaru on Friday. I spent Saturday morning cleaning it up and trying to get some of my yard work done. Our good friends, Lori and Rick with their children Jackson and Hillary came to visit on Saturday afternoon. The kids all went to a concert at Saltair and we went to dinner at the Mayan. It was very nice. We had good seats and were able to see three shows during the course of our dinner I had the fish tacos which were exceptionally good. For the longest time the concept of a fish taco didn't seem to fit. But it turned out to be a great way to mingle Central American and seafoods. We had to wait until about midnight for the kids to get back from the concert. I have really had too many late nights in the past few weeks.

We were able to sleep in on Sunday morning since we were going to a late sacrament meeting in Stansbury Park to hear Travis' mission president speak. Sherrie fixed a big breakfast for everyone and we were able to sit out on the patio and enjoy a beautiful morning with good food (crepes, eggs, bacon and fruit). Before going to church we had time to take a drive so we took the Subaru with Rick and Lori to the top of middle canyon. Unfortunately the air quality in SLC is so bad it was had to see anything on the east side of the pass. We then drove down to Ophir and up the canyon there. It is really nice this year because the landscape is still green into July.

The homecoming for President Rose was definitely the largest sacrament meeting I had ever been to. The chapel and cultural hall were completely filled. It was like being at stake conference (or a mission zone conference). Most of the congregation was composed of returned missionaries (with girls on the arm) - we know there was at least one sister who was there to see Travis (do I hear wedding bells.....). After the sacrament meeting, the Farnsworth's headed back to Idaho Falls.

Sunday evening we took a drive down to Saratoga Springs to show off our new (well new to us) Subaru and see my parents new (actually brand new) Subaru. It is nice being able to travel places without worrying so much about how much gas you're using. We had a nice visit and I was able to pull a few weeds (there were hardly any to be found). Sherrie and Mom compared quilts. It was a nice visit and relaxing after spending a couple of days with so many people in one house.

The kids are talking about going to Lagoon this weekend, so I guess it will be several weeks before I have a weekend off (maybe several years).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Well, I knew that I couldn't take the torture of looking for a new car for long. I bought on yesterday morning and picked it up yesterday afternoon. There was that send of exhilaration knowing that I had succeeded in hunting for and capture a vehicle. And then as I was driving it home I experienced that tinge of buyers remorse, which fortunately didn't last too long because I was so relieved that I was done car shopping and hopefully wouldn't have to engage in that dreaded activity was several more years.

Today I spent a couple of hours detailing it. I've had my other cars for years and haven't ever felt the need to detail them. I'm sure if they had feelings they would feel slighted that the newest member of our auto family was receiving so much attention. I think that it is just because it is a cuter car. We bought a Subaru Impreza Sport Outback (I can't remember if it has anymore names). It's like the little AWD vehicle that really wanted to be a roadster sports car. It has this cute little air intake on the hood (which Jonathan stated looked "ghetto" - which I don't know if that is good or bad). We drove it into SLC for dinner tonight. I was nice to now hear that imagined sucking sound that is there every time I drive the Suburban or Explorer. I ran so nice into SLC and I felt sporty and with it. Maybe my frump in life is really attributable to my cars. I've been driving dumpy SUVs for years and that is why I feel like a large lumbering mass that consumes way more fuel that is needed. With this new car I even feel like hitting the gym. I think Subaru drivers are the kind of people that go to the gym. I like the car so much I may have to get one for me since this one is Sherrie's.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Torture Round 1

Round One - I made myself go look at a vehicle tonight (a Subaru in SLC). It was a waste of time and gas money, pictures look better than the real thing. It wasn't all that bad, but it was dirty and it had a few quirks. Everytime I fill up my gas guzzling SUVs I decide I have to get a fuel efficient car, but then when I start looking for a car the anxiety makes me decide that I can live with bad fuel economy. I am just not a car person. I don't like spending money on cars and I don't derive a sense of satisfaction out of driving a certain car. I don't know, I guess I just didn't get a car gene. Well, I guess I will continue the search and eventually the desire to end the pain will cause me to buy a car. Oh woe is me....

The Ultimate Torture

I've been sitting here at lunch going through car ads... uughh... If there is anything I really dislike doing, it is shopping for cars. I just want a car that runs and doesn't cost me much to operate. That's where my problem is, I own three gas guzzlers that now have no value on the used car market. I need to get a vehicle that gets much better gas mileage so we can afford to drive again. I go through the ads over and over (kind of like watching a horse race over and over to see if a different horse is going to win) and either the cars are too high mileage or too expensive. I am beginning to think that the salvage value on old Subarus is more than the value of the currently working (well working is a strong word) vehicles that I own. Now I'm starting to think that maybe I shouldn't own a Subaru. I could probably live with a used Escort or Taurus. A couple of years ago I heard a comedian talk about the Taurus being the ultimate sign of giving up on life. He joked that you see all these middle-aged people driving Tauruses the sign that they have given in and have no more hopes or dreams. Well, I can relate to that about now. Why do cars have to be a symbol of who were are (in that case I am old, barely functioning, consume too much and not worth anything). I need a vehicle that breathes life into me without sucking it out of my financially (I just don't see that happening). In the end, I know that I will eventually purchase a moderately high-mileage car with a few scratches and dents to bring the price down (scratches and dents don't affect the operation of the vehicle unless sustained in a more accident and I have Carfax so I won't get a wrecked or lemon vehicle). And that is the representation of my life, adequate with scratches and dents. I guess in the end, scratches and dents are merely cosmetic and it's what inside that makes it run okay that matters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm sitting here watching So You Think You Can Dance. Is this an indicator of the state of my life? I guess that it lets me relive that time in my life when I could dance without feeling like my chest was being crushed. I keep thinking that it will inspire me to get back into the gym and get in shape. I was actually doing well at going to the gym until this spring. Too many conflicting activities have allowed me to justify not going. The heat doesn't help either. Somehow I just don't feel like running when its 100 degrees outside. I've got to just quick making excuses and go again. So if I spend more time watching "inspiring" TV shows will that help me get in shape? (At least I didn't watch the Bachelorette - Kimberly). I guess that I could move the exercycle into the TV room and spin while watching my inspiring show. I don't think so - that would detract from the relaxation that I need after work - ha ha. What I think I'll do is put my fitness improvement/diet plan on my blog and make it all public. I'll have to stick to it because it will be too embarrassing not to. I'll do that next week.....

Jared's Transferred

Email finally arrived. To my surprise Jared is being transferred. We thought for sure his comp was going because he had been in the area for 6 months already. Jared is going to Cullman, Alabama. This is north of Birmingham on I-65 (about halfway between Birmingham and the Tennessee border). He seems to be excited about it. I guess when I was young and serving a mission I was excited about changes also. Now that I am older and much more cautious, I don't like changes very much. I hope this new area receives him well. He really liked the Ward he was serving in. This will be much more rural (but still not as rural as places I served).

After sitting at my desk for 6 hours now, I've decided I need to take a minute and redirect so that I can do another 3. Today is mail/email day for Jared so I have been impatiently waiting to receive his email. It's not that I worry about (although it is nice to have that confirmation that he is okay), but I like to hear what he is doing and see how he is feeling. He indicated that he might get a new comp this week. That is always difficult. I remember waiting for transfers hoping that I didn't get stuck with one of the "undesirables". Well, I did. I got Elder Leahny because the missions president felt I could get along with anybody - so much for being nice (I have decided that nice guys do finish last...) I hope that Jared doesn't get one of the reform projects.

Sherrie cut her hair yesterday. She called me at work to see what I thought about her cutting it short. I guess I started cutting my shorter so she wanted the same privilege. She says she was nervous about it, but it turned out really cute. She looks about 10 years younger. I told her I feel like I won the prize because I get a younger wife and she still has the same old graying husband (Sarah told me my hair isn't gray, it's silver - I don't know if that is better or worse). We had to go out and celebrate her new hair style, so we went to 7-11 and bought slurpees (well, Sherrie had the slurpee and I had the enormous diet soda). We try and celebrate anything we can in life so we have to keep the celebratory activities inexpensive.

I am thinking that I might try and tile the laundry room floor this weekend. I've really wanted to get it done (for about a year - I actually bought the tile over a year ago - and I have to keep moving it around the garage). I've had so many things going on I haven't been able to tackle the job. I find that tiling is good therapy for me. I don't know exactly why, but it makes me feel good. If I had my way, I would tile the whole house (it is cheaper and more durable than carpet). Along with tiling the laundry room I need to build the cabinets that will go on the wall over the washer/dryer. I bought the wood for them about the same time I bought that tile, but I think the kids may have used some of the wood for other projects (good hardwood wasted). If I can get the laundry room completed, the house will feel more finished to me. Well, I guess I have droned on enough about my mundane house fixup projects. In spite of my best intentions, I will probably end up at the Tooele nursery this weekend. When the weather is nice it is hard for me to stay away from the gardening centers. Although it is probably too hot to plant now. So maybe I will tile and then hit the nursery in a few weeks when it starts to cool down.

Speaking of gardens, I am just about ready to harvest my first zucchini squash (will I be so excited in a few weeks). We have a number of them coming on. My acorn squash plant is taking over the garden and I have to keep pulling it off the tomato plants, but I haven't seen any fruit on it yet. My tomato plants are starting to set fruit so maybe in a month I will start to see a harvest. I planted some seeds from Grandma Gibby's sweet cantaloupe that she bought in 2002 and they came up. We'll see if I get any fruit. I also have about 20 volunteer watermelon plants from a really good melon we had earlier this summer. They came up in the compost pile. I think I have too much growing in my little 5x5 garden. I guess I will have to take on another project this weekend and build a trellis for the squash plant to climb up. (I really need about 5 acres.)

Lunch time is over so I had better get back at it. I guess this blogging isn't all that bad. It allows me to brain dump without having to focus my writing on anybody in particular. So please accept my apologies if you made it all the way through this post and found that you had wasted a portion of your day. Hasta Luego.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

South Willow Lake

On June 22 we (Sarah, Jordan, Jonathan and myself) took an afternoon hike up to South Willow Lake in the Stansbury Mountains. Except for some snow on the trail and some briskly running streams that we had to cross it was a pretty smooth hike. The scenery was spectacular. I would like to think that was what took my breath away, but alas, it it being so out of shape that cause the periodic (about every 2-3 minutes) pauses on the trail. Oh well, that gave me time to take lots of pictures. I posted a slide show of the pictures I took We thought this would be a 4 hours hike, but it was more like 7 hours. The kids didn't have to carry me off the mountain and we made it down before the big thunderstorm rolled in. We all have a great time and that makes for a successful hike.

I've Entered the Modern World

Well, I finally found the courage to enter the modern world of blogging. I'm still not sure where the term originated, but I'm gonna do it. This is kind of like bearing your soul to an audience of invisible people. I think I would probably rather speak in public than type to the unknown. Anyway, it should prove good therapy and maybe I won't be so neurotic about cleaning the floors at home!

This past weekend we went to the cabin in Island Park, Idaho. What a retreat! Whenever I go there I feel just like I leave the rest of the world and all its problems and care behind. I actually start having a sense of anxiety when the time to leave approaches. If I had the financial ability, I would probably just stay up there for months at a time, reading and taking pictures of the flowers and scenery. Sherrie and I took Sarah and Jonathan with us. Jordan had to stay home and work. Jared's girlfriend, Britney, also came with us. We didn't get off until late Thursday evening because we needed to wait for Britney's class at BYU to end. I think we pulled into the cabin driveway at about 1:30 in the morning. It is so dark up there and quiet that early in the morning. We had a lazy morning on Friday. I always eat my breakfast sitting on the front porch listening to the birds and wind in the trees. I guess living in Tennessee all those years left me with the hillbilly porch sitting approach to life. Anyway, it really doesn't get much better than sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, eating breakfast, watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks play in the trees.

We went down to Idaho Falls to visit our friends, the Farnsworth's, and to watch fireworks. They have a great show sponsored by Melaleuca. It was fun, but getting out of Idaho Falls was a nightmare. We again arrived at the cabin at about 1:30 in the morning. I am really too old for late nights... Saturday the Farnsworth's came up to visit us at the cabin. Rick and I took several of the kids on the trail by the river to Coffee Pot Rapids. It was a nice walk, but I was so tired from two late nights. They left about 7:00 pm and I sat on the porch again. When I'm sitting there I really get to think (but because I am becoming aged, I can't remember what I thought about).

On the way back to Utah we stopped to visit Sherrie's dad. He was doing well although they took his electric wheelchair away. I think he is becoming to weak to control it, but he was in good spirits. I really don't know how much longer he will last. Each time we see him he seems to be weaker than the last.

It was good to get home. I am getting to be a real home body. I can see why Grandpa Gibby really didn't like to leave home. The whole time we were gone I was worried about my yard and plants. I found them all doing well thanks to Jordan who remembered to water them at least once while we were gone. Now I just need to sleep for about a week and I'll be recovered from my little vacation.....