Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Images of Halloween Past

My sister, Kimberly, emailed a couple of weeks ago asking for some old Halloween pictures. I knew that I had some in my "old" photo album, but with my advancing age, I wasn't quite sure where the "old" photo album was (as Sherrie would remind me, it's too many moves - I think she's right). Anyway, I sent her the one picture that I could find of Ken and I in our matching tiger outfits (when I was still taller than him). But I knew if I could find the "old" photo album, I would have the gold mine, because the best two Halloween pictures I knew of were double-stick taped in there by my very own mother in 1968. Well, I found it tonight. I was so excited to get them scanned and onto the blog so that I could share them with the whole world (well, at least the few citizens of the world that read my blog, and any aliens that might be intercepting earth transmissions...). There is it, proof that my very own mother and father celebrated Halloween. I have yet to don a costume a well planned out as they did, evidenced by the witch and pirate captured forever on Kodachrome (or some kind of Kodak film). Well, look hard and you might recognize them.

Corruption Begets Corruption

This political cartoon I ran into seemed to say it all. It is amazing during economic hard times, the financial institutions (who were so willing to make questionable loans) have been pretty hard on those that owe and yet want the federal government to essentially give them an enormous sum of money when they run out. It feels like economic blackmail. Either you give us back all the money we lost, or we are going to take this country into another great depression. What really amazes me is that the financial crisis essentially appeared like a bad zit before the prom (overnight). How do you get into a nearly trillion dollar mess and not acknowledge and take action much sooner. It's like not realizing you are tied to the railroad tracks until a train is about 100 ft from you.

When I was in Guatemala, I saw an old woman in jail for stealing a chicken while high ranking government officials who had committed far more grievous crimes were allowed to leave when the government was overthrown. This is the same thing. We have people serving time in jails for petty crimes and yet those who literally robbed billions of dollars will walk away scott free. It alarms me to see how Third World this country has become in the last decade.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jordan is Loving Life (Except When He's Homesick)

It was time to go to bed and I remembered that Jordan had sent me some good pictures from school. He is obviously having a lot of fun and studying hard. In one of his classes the Professor has been using his work as an example for the class. He has one difficult GE glass (geography with a grumpy old professor - everybody has to have at least one of those in college). With the possible exception of the geography class, I am looking for straight A's.

Jordan has been cliff jumping several times. There is some big waterhole south of Cedar City that they go to and jump 30 feet off of a cliff into the water. I have a hard time with a trail that has a 30 ft cliff. I don't think it is the sport for me. He must have gotten the cliff jumping gene from his mother's side of the family.

He made sure to send us a picture of him studying. I can breath a sigh of relief. Actually, I haven't been worried all semester. I know that he has been studying hard.

This is a picture of his cat, Rex. He picked it up at Walmart. It is kind of a girl magnet. The funny thing about it is, it isn't real! It looks real and they move it around the apartment so everybody who comes over thinks it's real - leave it to Jordan!

Jordan has had fun going camping on Friday nights. He did say that their trip this last Friday left him with a sore hip. He didn't take his camping gear down with him when he went to school so he has been sleeping on a blanket on the ground. I guess his age is starting to catch up with him. Isn't it all downhill from 18 on? If so, I must be near the bottom of the hill.

We talk to Jordan several times a week. He is really good to call and has been email his mother which is really nice.

Another Day of Rest - Define "Rest"

I survived another day of "rest". In order to ensure a timely arrival at our assigned worship time, I woke up to my alarm at 7:00. I know that doesn't sound early, especially for those who may have early morning Sunday meetings (I never was sure what was up with early early meetings - is it easier to feel the Spirit when you're only half awake?). At any rate, I coaxed Sarah out of Bed at about 7:30. Well, we did it - we arrived 5 minutes early. Jonathan and I were able to sit through Priesthood opening exercises with the other 5 men who were there in addition to the Bishopric. Most people in our ward arrive about 15-20 minutes late by my estimation. That's why I don't see the problem with arriving late also. It they arrive late and I arrive on time, then I have wasted 20 minutes of my day waiting for them to arrive (well, the logic works for me). After church, Sarah was set apart as the 1st Counselor in the Laurel Class Presidency (the President rarely comes - I've learned in Utah, you have to wait your turn - for a right to work state it has alot of Union mentality - senority rules - well, so much for my ranting). Sarah was also called to serve on the Stake Youth Committee. She is excited for that because her friend is also on the committee. She will get to help plan the Youth Trek this coming summer.

After church we came home and rested for an hour while we waited for the lasagna to cook (I forgot to put it in before we went to church - that's what happens when I get up too early). While we waited, Jonathan and I watched the Speed Racer movie. I remember when I was young my brother, Ken, used to love watching the Speed Racer cartoon (I wasn't as hip on japanamation - I was more of a Scooby Doo fan). It was fun to watch the movie and I was amazed how much the real life actors resembled the cartoon characters.

After dinner, Sherrie and I decided to take a drive up Middle Canyon to see the leaves. She hadn't accompanied me when I took Jonathan and Sarah to the top of the mountain to look down in the mine. We drove to the top (Sherrie was equipped with dark sunglasses to help her endure the sunshine). The road was just a terrifying as the last time I drove it. I thought that if I kept tackling my fear of heights I would eventually overcome it. I still had to peel my hands off the steering wheel at the top and again at the bottom. I was able to get out of my car on the road a few times to take some pictures of the leaves. I guess the desire to get a good photo overcomes the fear of heights. If I can get more comfortable with heights I will be able to hike the Lookout Point trail at Zion's Park. I need to hike it at least one time with all my kids so we can get a complete picture. We have a picture with Sherrie, Jared, Jordan and Sarah. I froze up on the trail about 2/3 the way up and Jonathan stayed back to take care of me. I credit him with coaxing me off the wall and starting the trail back down. Anyway, I digress. The view from the top was beautiful today. We could see Utah lake and Utah Valley well past Y mountain. On the north side we could see almost all the way to Farmington. On the west side of the lookout we would see south Tooele. There was quite a bit of traffic on the road today. There were alot of people at the top too. This must be a popular drive for Sunday afternoon. We tried a side road into a side canyon, but it quickly became a 4-wheeler road and we backed out. I would like to go back and hike it. I told Sherrie that I couldn't believe we had such a beautiful Canyon just 5 minutes from our house.

When we got back I still wanted to hike little. I had spent most of the day seated on a bench or in a car so I convinced Jonathan in going with me. He really didn't want to go too bad but I made him feel sorry for his father and he consented to go. We went up to Smelter Canyon and walked up the road to get a better view of the old Smelter. It was a nice quiet walk up the road since there is a No Trespassing sign at the beginning of it (we had it too ourselves). It was fun to walk and talk. We practiced some synchronized walking (like synchronized swimming). Jonathan thought of it so we practiced walking, turning and spinning our arms in synch. If somebody had filmed us they probably would have won the grand prize on America's Funniest Videos! It was FUN. We saw some beautiful foliage, but truth be told, the color and scenery up middle canyon were better.

It is now past my bedtime so I had better tie this up and get to bed. I'm not sure this is a blog or a travel log. Really, I just blog so that I can do something with the pictures I take. I love digital cameras because I can take all the pictures I want to without worrying about film. I really enjoyed the time I spent with my family today, both in church and after church. It is a real spiritual lift for me to go out and see the beauties of this world. I love being up in the mountains. I must live in the perfect place for me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall Color Extravaganza

Sherrie and I took a ride of Settlement Canyon this afternoon to check out the fall colors. It is really beautiful right now. There were actually quite a few campers up in the canyon. This is the time of year to camp up there since there are beautiful fall colors, it is cool at night and not too hot in the day. I was trying to find some hiking trails that I could try out with the kids. It was a nice drive so close to home (with gas prices still as high as they are I look for recreation close to home). We may have to take another drive up there tomorrow afternoon with the kids.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Survivor is Back

Well, my favorite show on TV is back for another season. I have been the only one in my family that has maintained a fascination with the show. I enjoy watching the strategies and impact of personality and interpersonal skills. My second favorite show starts again in October - CSI. It is convenient that they are both on Thursday night. So I only need to watch TV one night a week (except when I have a Simpson's craving). This looks like it might be a good season of Survivor. However, I was disappointed that they voted the oldest woman who I think could have contributed to the team. Well, we will see how it all plays out, that is the nature of the game....

No Witchcraft in the White House!

And we thought Nancy Reagan was a little off center with her astrologist in the White House...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fabulous Fall

I love spring when the plants venture forth out of the cold ground and begin to show their colors. I admire the plants that are determined to be the first to bloom. It is exciting to see color and life after a cold white (and sometimes brown) winter. Summer brings it show of flowers. These are the fair weather kind. They put out their blooms when the days are long and the frost is far from everyone's mind. However, the fireworks of flowers seems to come in the early Fall. The plants that wait until the fall put forth a vast array of both flowers and color. I think that they have to have more flowers and more color to attract the insects that will pollinate them as they don't have much time before frost bites at them. The fall flowers seem to last a bit longer. All summer long I have had to resist pulling out the mums because they seemed to be taking over the garden (well, in fact they were taking over the garden and killed off other plants in their way), but when the yellow and burgundy flowers came out and covered the bushes, I decided they were probably prettier than the flowers they killed off. The asters took off a few weeks ago and I wasn't sure what to expect, but then came a spray of lavender and yellow. I can just sit out on my patio and look at the asters and mums and life is good. Other perennials are also putting up an additional blossom now that the intense heat of the summer if over. This truly is a beautiful time of year (even before the trees change color - although I am enjoying the color high up in the mountains). I guess my Eden right now is my backyard where I can see the colors of the flowers against the colors of the mountains.

Bible Man and a Gorilla

Jared is really good about sending an email each Wednesday (hasn't missed one yet). It is interesting to hear about his experiences. This week he and Elder Lee met "The Jesus Man". This man travels all over the world evangelizing. He wears no shoes and only his white robe. He carries a Bible with him. They ended up having almost a 2 hours conversation him. After that they met a couple of Catholic Nuns and had a conversation with them also (where are all the baptists). It sounds as if they have some more promising people in their teaching pool. They are hoping to have a baptism soon. I hope that are able to have a baptism before Elder Lee goes home (which must be in just a couple of weeks). Jared and Elder Lee did a special musical number in their Ward Sunday. Elder Lee played the violin and Jared the piano. Sherrie had sent Jared several duet books. I guess everybody in the Ward was impressed. They helped one of the families they are teaching put up their Halloween decorations and counted it as service hours (maybe I could get the Elders to come over and put up our Christmas lights). Well, enjoy the pictures - I do.

Wednesday Again So Soon

Sitting at my desk I realized that it is again Wednesday (I was relieved that it wasn't Thursday I had forgotten to take the trash can out - I am still holding out on getting the second trash can). I should be seeing a letter from Jared shortly. I look forward to hearing how his week went. They are more exciting and adventure filled than mine. Jordan's friend, Austin, received a mission call this week, but we don't know where he was called to, except that it is outside of the US. The weather has been nice and is starting to feel like fall. Yesterday Sherrie got her fall decorations out and put them up around the house. Jonathan helped by stringing the Halloween lights (orange and purple) around the yard. He told me that he likes decorating for Halloween better than decorating for Christmas. Other than that it has been a fairly routine week. Sherrie is still waiting for her eye to finish healing. It continues to be slightly swollen and red/irritated looking. I don't expect any permanent damage, but it has been a slow illness to recover from. I repaired the Ford Explorer last night. While Sherrie was driving home from work last week, it lost the belt tensioner. It wasn't hard to replace (although it was tight trying to get the bolt out with the cooling fan in the way). I test drove it last night after figuring out how to thread the serpentine belt. Seemed to work okay. I better get this posted so I don't fall alseep herre in my office chair.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SKULL VALLEY - Sunday Afternoon Drive

It was such beautiful weather when we got out of Church today that we decided to go on a little family outing. With Halloween fast approaching (it is the second biggest retail holiday after Christmas - that should make it a legitimate holiday with a day off work and school even - I think my sister, Kimberly, would agree)(I have to apologize every time I call her Kimberly since I just can't get used to calling her Kim. I guess it could be worse and I could call her what we did when she was little, Kimberly Ann) we decided to go to SKULL VALLEY. We headed south to Rush Valley (used to be known at St. John where my Uncle Lynn is from). We then headed up over Johnson's Pass which is a nice windy road with a small campground partway up, Clover Springs. We stopped there to eat some lunch and see the sites. There is a fairly substantial spring that bubbles up from the ground and flows into a good sized stream. A couple of men came down to get a drink out of the spring while we were there. We opted not to since it was apparent that at least one cow had visited the spring and left a reminder behind. I don't think the men saw the cows pie on the spring. A went up and over the pass and down into SKULL VALLEY. It is really quite a pretty valley with not much in it. We went through the Town of Terra, but only saw one house (I think there might be more). We took the road out to the entrace of the Dugway Proving Grounds. There is a good-sized LDS chapel situated just outside the Dugway gate. That was kind of weird seeing a large church building sitting out in a desolate valley with no signs of community anywhere around it except a gate to a military (weapons research) facility. We drove north up the valley to Iosepa and stopped to see what was left of the community. There is a cemetary and a pavilion. It I had come from Hawaii and settle in Iosepa I would have been anxious to return to Hawaii! The kids fell asleep about the time we left Iosepa and started the "are we there yet?" just outside of Grantsville. We did manage to make it home before anybody got to agitated. I enjoy the drive and seeing the sights, but when you are younger it just seems boring. I guess I should finish up and spend some quality time with my family this afternoon (I don't think they consider the time in the car "quality"). Until my next adventure.....

Gift of Music Concert

After the family reunion Sherrie and I rushed home to get ready for the Gift of Music Concert at the Conference Center. Sarah and Jonathan decided against going since they weren't sure they would like the style of music. Sarah opted to hang out with her friend, Carly and Jonathan decided to stay home and play video games (can you believe that a 13 year old boy choosing video games over a music recital). We were assigned to park at the Triad Center parking garage, so it was a 4 block walk. I wasn't sure Sherrie was going to make it. Her feet were bothering her and there were alot of people walking up to the Conference Center. We eventually made it there and up enough escalators that I lost count. I'm not sure why we were given tickets at the top of the nosebleed section when there were many unclaimed seats down in the lower concourses, but it really didn't matter because the music filled the hall and it was beautiful. They had the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Utah Symphony, guests artists Brian Stokes Mitchell (Tony Award Winning Broadway singer) and Denyce Graves(a critically acclaimed opera mezzo soprano), along with guest conductor Erich Kunzel (director of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra). The theme was "An American Songbook". One of the great moments of the evening was when the choir and orchestra performed all five the armed services anthems. They had all members of the audience stand who had served in the military when their respective anthem was played. We got to see President Monson solemnly stand when the Navy anthem was played. I was very impressed with his graciousness and solemnity so that his high profile status did not detract from the other members of the audience who had also served in the Navy. At the end of the concert, Maestro Kunzel had the entire audience join in singing "God Bless America" with Ms. Graves, Mr. Mitchell and the choir. It was probably one of the best concerts I have ever attended. I look forward to attending next year.

Family Reunion

My Aunt Nita (Mom's sister) and Uncle Bob hosted the annual Elmo Taylor Family Reunion at their home in Murray, Utah. It was fun to attend again this year. All my Aunt's and Uncles were there along with my cousins Wendy (Nita & Bob) with her husband and three children (little Annie is just too cute for words!), Krista (Kay and Lynn) with her husband and children, Portia with 2 of her daughters, Laura and her beau, and Sammie and his wife (Dan & Sandra). Val (Kay & Lynn) and his family didn't make it because they had a baby a couple of days ago (that is an adequate excuse). We also heard that Mark (Allen & Beth) and his wife has just had a baby (in fact it came so fast it was delivered at home - good thing Mark is a physician!). My brother, Eric, and his wife, Natalie, brought their new baby, Tateym (hope I spelled that right). That was the first time I saw her. What a beautiful little girl. Holding her got me all ready to be a grandpa (well, actually I can wait a few years, but maybe we will have to babysit a few times). There was plenty of good food. Nita had plenty of fried chicken. I ended up just grabbing some food at Macey's on the way out of town. Too may things happening and I didn't have time to make anything homemade. I was glad that Mom had time to make her oatmeal cake. I think that is the only time we have that is at the annual family reunion (a very difficult, time-consuming dessert to make). We were glad to see Sione's mom there. It is difficult for her to attend these kinds of activities because she doesn't speak English very well. But it was nice to have her there with the rest of the family. This was the 20th anniversary of the death of Grandpa Taylor. It is hard to believe, but he did pass away the first year Sherrie and I were married. Time has really gone by fast. Now I have 2 children flown from the nest and only a couple of good years left before they stick me in a nursing home (they'd probably like to do that now since my clean the kitchen obsession becomes worse every year). I've posted a slide show of the reunion pictures below. Enjoy - I did.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Week, Another Letter, More Pictures

Jared is doing great. I always look forward to his Wednesday email and pictures. It is so nice to have the technology to communicate so readily. As a missionary, I had to send things through the Guatemalan mail system, wondering if they would ever arrive. I don't remember ever sending pictures home unless they were postcards. Jared continues to maintain his positive attitude. He says they have a "golden contact". This lady is a friend of a member of the ward. She had attended Church and believes the things she has been taught so far. She told Jared and his companion that she wanted to be baptized (wow, that's big in the South). I hope that they are able to baptize her before Elder Lee goes home. They went to a parade (as seen in one of the pictures). I'm not sure what was being celebrated. Jared was impressed with the High School marching bands. He said bands are big in the South. I seem to remember that from Tennessee. He said one of the bands was bigger than BYU's. Ya gotta have good music while yer eatin yer fried foods. As of today, Jared has been out for 134 days which is 18.4%. We are just about at the 1/5 mark. That is hard to believe. I continue to be proud of his service and that manner in which he is rendering it. (Just popped a button and don't know whether it is pride or all the weight I've gained.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wednesday Eve

It is now late Tuesday evening which means tomorrow is Wednesday. We get to hear from Jared. I enjoy the Wednesday emails and knowing each week that he is doing okay. It does seem that the Wednesdays are coming faster than they did. I received a really nice birthday card from Jared this week. It is neat to see the positive changes that are taking place as he grows and matures as a missionary. I know that Sherrie and I are really proud of him. I guess I had better get to bed. I try to get too much done every day by staying up later. I am feeling the effects this week. I am really tired and know that I need to sleep more. I guess I just need to figure out what I'm not going to do each day.

UFOs - Do I Believe????

I'm sitting here watching a UFO show on ABC. Do I believe in UFOs? Well, of course I do - they are UNIDENTIFIED flying objects. Actually, shortly after moving to Tooele, I experienced my first UFO sighting. One evening I was standing out in the front yard near the street. Looking down to the West I saw a strange object moving slowing through the sky, from my perspective near the top of Deseret Peak. I looked almost like it was on fire. I thought when I first saw it that it was a plane on fire, except that it was moving so slow. I stood there watching waiting for the object to fall down from the sky. It moved into a small cloud and I waited for it to come back out (it should have only been in there less than a minute at the rate it was moving). It never came back out. It just disappeared into the cloud. It was moving too slow to be an asteroid. It was definitely large enough that I know I saw it. However, I don't know what it was. So do I believe in UFOs? I have to because I saw one. Do I know if it was an "alien" craft? No. I don't know that. But I know that it was flying and was unidentifiable. Do I believe that there is life and even intelligent life other places in the universe. That is a resounding YES. Given the number of planets that would have to exist around the almost innumerable stars, life would have to exist. This TV show is very convincing. It has to be a government conspiracy to coverup UFOs.... If life is out there, it is out there. If it is visiting our plant, it is visiting. Does it have a direct impact on our lives here on earth? In my view it doesn't. Oh well, the show is over, so I guess I should leave the world of the unknown and return to my own less eventful life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

Two days into my 47th year and I am still trying to finish up the 46th. I celebrated my over-the-hill (if I live to 90) birthday Saturday with my parents, Sherrie, Jonathan and Sarah and my sister, Kimberly (yes, I am probably the only person besides my parents that still calls her Kimberly) and my nephew Viliami. It was a nice celebration. My dad took us all out to eat at our favorite little Mexican hole-in-the wall restaurant in Grantsville (yes, we have to travel all the way to Grantsville to find a good restaurant). Sherrie had a cheesecake for my birthday cake which gratefully she only put a 4 and a 6 candle on (I wouldn't have the wind power to blow out 46 candles before the smoke alarms went off). We also worked at finishing off Jonathan's icecream cake. The highlight of the afternoon was watching Vili ride on the mini-motorcycle around the cul-de-sac. He really enjoyed that. He also followed Jonathan around everywhere he went (his new BFF). Sherrie gave me a gift card for Home Depot (it doesn't get much better than that). Combined with the gift from Mom and Dad I should be able to get the tile I want for the hot tub revamp in our bathroom. They have a really nice Italian tile at Home Depot now and I think that it is what I have been looking for. Kimberly loaned me her collection of "scary" documentaries to watch. I have been watching them at every chance I get since Sunday afternoon (everybody is enjoying them). Sarah made me the beautiful card that is at the top of this blog. She is really talented with her scrap booking equipment. I am now rushing headlong into this next year and it will be another birthday before I know it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Trip to the Top of the World (Well Close to the Top)

Today we took a trip up Middle Canyon to the top of the mountain. This was my first time up to the top. It wasn't a bad road, although it is steep with switchbacks and some sheer drop-offs. At one point I slowed to go around a switchback corner and the car started to stall so I pushed in the clutch and brake. When I tried to start moving again the car started to roll back toward the edge of the cliff(scaring all of us). I had to use an emergency brake start to get going forward again. The drive up was well worth it. The view from the top is spectacular. We could see all the Salt Lake Valley from north of Bountiful to Provo at the south. We saw the "Y" and the Salt Lake Temple. On the west side we could see southern Tooele. We also saw the exploratory rigs that are looking for a gold mine up Middle Canyon. Maybe if they find it Tooele will become a mining boom town. We could tell that Fall isn't far away. We were seeing colors start to turn in the high elevations. It was really a nice trip. I've posted a slide show of the trip below.

A Very Different Stake Conference

This morning we were able to sleep in for an extra hour before heading out to Stake Conference. It was one of the new multi-stake, broadcast conferences. I like a number of high tech advances in society, but I feel that religious experiences should remain at the more personal level. It brings in to question are prayers offered over a broadcast adequate for the congregation assembled in a separate building. This I can accept. What if the prayer is offered later in a rebroadcast? What if it is on a recorded DVD? Anyway, shortly after the opening prayer the broadcast lost the audio feed. Technicians at the Stake Center worked on the problem for about 30 minutes and were unable to resolve it. The Stake President called on the previous Stake President to talk about the leadership session yesterday. After his remarks they dismissed the congregation and invited them back at 1:00 for a rebroadcast. So we attended Stake Conference with an opening prayer (via satellite), one impromptu speech and dismissal without a closing prayer all in 30 minutes. I will be glad to return to my personal sacrament meeting next week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm Getting Behind

Jared set his Wednesday pictures. Looks like they have a little fun and get a little sleep now and then. He must not remember Kudzu from Tennessee. It was everywhere. It is a truly evil plant that is said to grow so fast you can actually watch it. It is really good at covering up old, dilapidated vehicles. Maybe that is why they brought it to the south (I wonder if there is a cold weather version that would grow in Tooele?).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Viva Las Wendover...

It's not quite Vegas, but it does have a good buffet. For my birthday dinner, Sherrie graciously consented to go to the seafood buffet at Montego Bay in Wendover. You have to endure a passage through the Casino (very cheesy by Vegas standards) to get to the restaurant, but the trip is well worth it. We had a nice trip out with a stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats. There were a lot of people there taking pictures of the salt flats (wow, way exciting, white salt covered dirt). Sherrie raced out on the flats and begged me to take her picture (really now, I had to beg her to let me take a picture, but look how cute she is!).We enjoyed our dinner. We both ate king crab legs until we couldn't put another one down. I had a nice slab of prime rib (so tender you could cut it with a fork) and a couple of Ahi Tuna steaks (just slightly seared - melted in your mouth). After one too many desserts for me (Sherrie exhibited much more control in the dessert department - of course it is my birthday so I can eat what I want) we got in the car and headed back to reality. It is really a nice drive over there. You get to see mountains, hazardous waste incinerators and disposal facilities, and air force bombing range and the salt flats. There is also this large piece of modern art, some sort of metal tree, that rises up from the salt flats. Really, the mountain view are worth the trip, especially as the sun is setting in the west. They take on a surreal look. We really enjoyed the trip over and the food (at least I know I did and Sherrie says she did). She is really a trooper. She didn't feel well with her eye infection and the bright setting sun bothered it on the way over, but we had a really nice time together.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Isn't This Too Cool

Jared sent Jonathan a special birthday letter and gift. I thought that was so cool. On a mission you don't have very much time to yourself. So to find a gift, write a letter and then package it and take time to get to the post office - that was quite an effort. It meant so much to Jonathan. He called Sherrie as soon as he received it to let her know. I'm so proud of Jared, as with all my children, what great adults they are becoming. I'm finally starting to think that I may have succeeded at life.

I Now Have 4 Teenagers!! - Jonathan Turns 13

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I can't believe it - already, at such an early point in my life, I have four teenagers (well at least until December 21). This really happened much sooner in my life than I planned for. In actuality, it is proving to be a really nice time in life. I have four wonderful children, who are easy to take care of and are making really good choices in their lives (it doesn't get much better). We had a fun birthday for Jonathan (I'm not sure he's old enough to think that any celebration on Sunday is truly as fun as it could be otherwise). He has told us for about two years that he wanted a unicycle. Why in heaven's name would anybody want a unicycle. We have bicycles, scooters, skateboards, rip stiks, etc. I guess the only toy with wheels that we didn't have was the one with one wheel. Guess how easy it is to find a unicycle. I thought it wouldn't be that bad with a large metropolitan shopping area. Boy was I wrong. I finally found one at a bike shop in South Jordan and we drove in to buy it only to find out that it was big enough for about a 5 year old. I finally found on on KSL adds in TOOELE of all places. It was in almost new condition and had a training wheel with it. I was so relieved to get it. I felt bad because it wasn't new, so I also got him the Nintendo DS game system that he's been wanting for a couple of years (all his friends have them and now he can play with them - wow, they all site around and play games against each other via wireless while they stare at a screen so small I can't tell what's on it). I guess he won't have anything on the list for Christmas. The unicycle was too big to wrap so I wrapped a note telling him where to look (an old Gibby trick). It was in the back of the van. When he opened the van door and saw TWO wheels, he stammered, "What is it?" (He was expecting a unicycle). He had to get it out of the car before he realized that it was indeed a unicycle. He spent the rest of the afternoon trying to learn how to ride it. Now all the neighborhood little boys want unicycles (ha ha ha - their parents can try and find one now). We had Mom and Dad come up for the party. It seemed like a quiet party without Jared and Jordan. We had a lot of cake left over. It really does seem like they grow up way too fast.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It Makes Me Crazy!!!!!!

NOTE: Avoid this blog if you are politically sensitive.

I tried watching some of the Republican Convention (a few minutes last night and a few tonight). It just makes me CRAZY!!! I am so tired of the scare tactics (if we elect anybody except a republican we will be taken over by terrorists - they're everywhere - they're under your bed at night....)

"Every day the media reports incidents of terrorism, crime, and aggression. I have never been to a country where tragic stories of death and bloodshed did not fill the newspapers and airwaves... but the overwhelming majority of the human race does not behave destructively; very few of the five billion people on this planet actually commit acts of violence. Most of us prefer to be as peaceful as possible.+ - Dalai Lama

"If we get involved in fears about the future, we shall miss the chances that the present offers us."

I just refuse to play into the politics of fear and control (whether is be terrorists or border control). We are a country of free men founded on a constitution guaranteeing those freedoms. Fear has been used as the mechanism by the last eight years of government to erode our basic freedoms and try and maintain control of the government. As I have been doing name extraction from the 1870's more of the people I extract were born outside of the United States than in it. And yet we have come to believe that our borders are no longer open to those from other countries (especially if they are from the southern hemisphere - we don't seem to have a problem with illegal Canadians). The Republican Party has become so right-winged and conservative that I do not relate to them. It is the party of me and my wealth. Let the poor be poor because they deserve it. Let the sick be sick because if they worked hard enough they could pay for their health care, but I am certainly not my brother's keeper. So many of the attitudes now seem to be diametrically opposed to my beliefs and the teachings that I have studies for years (care for others, peace not war, greed and consumption are not good, etc.) Well, I have ranted enough. It only takes a few minutes to get me going. I just have to avoid most of the politicking until the election and then just cast my vote and move on.

Jared's Waterfall Adventure

Jared went to see a waterfall last Wednesday. He thought it was pretty cool. He is having success with his new companion and in speaking to people as a missionary. They have a commitment for a baptism. From his letters it is apparent that he loves what he is doing. We wish they would give them more miles in the car. It sounds as if they end up riding ridiculous distances on bikes because they're out of car miles. I just pray he doesn't get heat stroke. He likes working with Elder Lee. He is from the San Francisco area. I think Jared said his family has 10 children (WOW). Our house is feeling a little quieter. Sarah had friends over tonight to work on a school project. Sherrie and I decided to go to the store and get some donuts to surprise them. When we got back about 30 minutes later they were all gone. Now we have lots of donuts. Well, we had lots of donuts. We invited Jonathan's cul-de-sac friends to all have donuts. They were pretty excited about that (I have to admit I even had a couple). The time between now and when I have to wake up is rapidly shinking so I will bid adieu.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Well they do and so much faster than bad things. In physics we learn that for each force there is an equal and opposite force (so that should apply to good and bad things as well). It must be that bad things exert less force over time than good things so they have to last longer. Our "long" weekend was much too short and Sherrie's eye problem has carried on much too long. She continues to be on the mend, albiet, slowly. She made it to school today (which I wasn't sure would happen given how terrible she felt much of the weekend). Our big weekend event was our very quick trip to Cedar City on Saturday. It was good to see Jordan and go out to dinner with him, but it was so tiring to drive so much, especially with Sherrie not feeling well. We spend all day Sunday in the house. We ventured out a couple of times on Monday to run some errands. Our big Labor Day treat was to have been Nigh Time Donuts - but, alas, they were closed for the holiday (I guess they figure people don't eat donuts on holidays). We had to settle for Albertson's donuts (which must be the worst in town). I went to Home Depot to get trim for the bedroom window. They had contractor bundles with about 3 times as much trim as I needed, for the same price as buying it piecemeal, so in keeping with my character I bought the larger quantity for the same price (I figure there is always something I can use trim for). Lafter that afternoon we went to Walmart to get some groceries. After about 10 minutes in Walmart Sherrie was too tired to walk around any more (and too proud to drive one of the electric carts) so she returned to the car and left me to do the grocery shopping (more juice, less chips - I really wanted to get the Oreo Double Stuffs). When we returned from Walmart it was time for dinner and nobody felt like cooking so we went to Bajio. Well, Sherrie, Jonathan and I went to Bajio. Sarah was at her friends and would rather stay there than accompany us to dinner (I still haven't figured out what is so terrible about spending time with us - actually she had already eaten at her friends). After dinner, I went home and worked on getting our bedroom windows trimmed. I have gotten faster over the many projects I've taken on, so I was done in about an hour. Now I just have to paint the trim and I will be ready to paint the walls (still have to pick out the paint color). I felt good about getting something done over the long weekend. I had originally thought that I would tile the laundry room floor, but that would have been far too much with Sherrie sick. So instead, I have the window trim done and the bedroom cleaned so I am ready to paint. We went to bed early last night, but I still woke up tired. Sherrie goes back to the doctor today, so I am hoping that he will adjust the medication so that we get more sleep. Jonathan keeps reminding us that it is his birthday this week. It always seems to creep up on us with the beginning of the school year. Not only to I have two children graduated from school, but I will now officially have four teenagers (yikes) - at least until December when Jared turns 20 (having a 20 year old is even more YIKES). I figured out that next year I will be the same age Grandma Gibby (great grandma depending on who is reading this) was when I was born. I will be the same age this year that Mom (or Grandma Gibby) was when Jared was born. I'm not sure of the significance of those discoveries, but I find them curious. Also, while doing name extraction today, I had the name of a women who was 110 years old at the time of the census. That means she was 16 years old at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed (WOW). Well, so much for my mindless ramblings of association. As I started, "All good things must come to end."

Monday, September 1, 2008