Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American Idol Night

Here I am sitting on the couch watching American Idol and waiting for it to start snowing. Scott just sang and we are listening to the judges encourage him even though his performance was just so so in my opinion. The weather says that it is going to snow again. I hope that it warms up by the weekend because I need to get the trailer our and ready for camping this summer. I guess it it snows then I will just have to wait a little longer. I came home from work this afternoon and slept for three hours. I have been feeling under the weather and just felt like I needed to sleep. I do feel better.

I just saw an "Action Plumbing and Heating" advertisement - aargh. Now I'm watching a Smith's ad where she saved 9 dollars on just water. Now it's the Arby's "I love you" guy. Bad ads are enough to get me to not watch TV. I just need to feel better so that I can work on the stairs during the ads. I've never really like TV ads but either they are getting worse or I am becoming less tolerant.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chinese Food Doesn't Disappoint

From Drop Box

Mom and Dad came up on Saturday for a belated birthday visit with Sarah. Mom made her a doll dress for her American Girl doll. The dress matches the colors in her bedroom. It is a neat thing that the granddaughters have American Girl dolls with clothes that their grandmother made for them. I could tell that Sarah really appreciated it. We decided to go to the local Chinese buffet for lunch. Sherrie and I like to go there quite often and the food is remarkable good. I think everyone enjoyed lunch. Jonathan had to stick with the soft foods. He had his braces adjusted this past week and has had mouth pain. I'm sure glad that I never had to endure braces. He and Sherrie have about a year to go. They should get their braces off about the same time Jared gets home from his mission. After lunch we went to the pet store, "Rock Star Pets". I call it the Tooele zoo. It is fun to go in there. They haven't adopted Ollie yet. He is a beautiful orange tabby with the sweetest disposition. If we could have another cat in the home I would definitely adopt him. Ruby isn't keen on the idea of sharing his lair with other cats. We tried about a year ago with Daisy Mae and it didn't work. We will just be a one cat house until Ruby departs this life.

Ruby was funny when Jordan came home on Friday. Jordan used to be his favorite person. He just scowled at Jordan. You could tell he was not happy with him. I guess he feels that Jordan abandoned him. He really likes Jonathan and Sherrie now. It is so funny to watch him crawl up and sit on Sherrie's lap in the evening. This is the woman who didn't like animals when we got married. I guess I converted her. Now she wants a bunny for the backyard. In spite of my love for animals, I'm not sure I want to take on a rabbit and all of its fertilizer that it produces. We had a rabbit once when we were first married and gave it away after about 2 weeks.

I didn't get my flowers planted yesterday. I staged them for planting, but just ran out of time. This morning we awoke to snow on the ground.

I will take that as Sabbath compliance enforcement. No tilling in Eden on Sunday. It is probably better because I was trying to determine where I wanted to plant them and this will give me more time to evaluate my options.

I spent most of the day working on my stair railing. This is a wood working project that I hope I never have to tackle again (this one project will likely ensure that I will never sell this house and move to another one). Everything has to be cut exact and at odd angles like 39 degrees and 51 degrees. I finished everything except mounting the lag bolts which requires drilling holes at odd angles.
I am starting to think that the old carpet on the stairs didn't look as bad as I remember it. I will finish the railing this week though. We have had several close calls with no railings. Sarah commented on how she didn't realize she used the railing until it wasn't there. Sherrie just about fell last night (I had the railing sitting in place, but not secured so that I could get a measurement) when she grabbed the railing and it started to move. The "Pardon Our Dust" sign is going to be hanging up a lot longer than I originally anticipated.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jordan's Spring Break Trip

Jordan finally got me his pictures from spring break. It really wasn't an intentional effort on his part, but he was stuck here last night after the road trip mishap. While waiting to leave this morning he remembered the pictures and we copied them off the camera. It looks like they had a good time. He went with his room mate, Matt and Matt's father. I was glad that he could have a nice spring break. He met Matt's family in California. He said they are a big Italian family and Matt's grandfather is like the "Don". They had a blast and really liked the beaches. Sherrie asked him if the girls on the beaches tried to "pick up" on them. Jordan said it was still too cold for the girls to come to the beaches. From his pictures, it looks as if the beaches were sparsely populated. It is so relative. We have a 60 degree day and we are all outside. At 60 in California, they are running to Lowes to buy space heaters. The beaches may be beautiful, but I will stick with the mountains.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jordan and Cars

I believe that Jordan must carry some car curse with him. Maybe when he was newborn a bad fairy cursed him that he would cause cars to fail. Back at Christmas we had our catastrophe when the Subaru engine failed. Tonight Jordan calls and he and his room mate, Matt, were headed to Logan for the weekend. First call, he and Matt were lost in downtown Salt Lake. With some directions (they weren't too far from the interstate) they were back on their way. A short time later I get a call that they have had a tire failure and are somewhere in South Ogden. They don't have a spare tire (it is flat) and it is later enough that all the tire stores are closed. After some research on the internet I determined that the Villager rim will fit the Infiniti Q45 that they are driving. I go out to get our spare tire off the Villager and somebody has stolen it - great! I guess if this hadn't happened I wouldn't have known that the spare tire from the Villager was gone. So I end up taking a tire off the Villager and put it up on a jack stand. I made it about as far as Stansbury Park when Jordan called back to say they had a change of plans and were going to try and patch the spare tire. He called a while later and let me know that they are on their way back to Tooele and will attempt to go to Logan in the morning. It will be nice to have an unplanned visit with him. I am glad that it was nothing more serious than a tire failure.

Sherrie's Valentines Quilt

I have been meaning to get a picture of this quilt posted. Sherrie made this one for Valentine's Day. It has fabric in it with the pink ribbon for cancer (her mother died of cancer 7 years ago) and the fabric that she used for the table cloth for Sarah's Girl's Day Dance this year. I am amazed at how quickly she can design and put together a quilt. She is certainly making good use of the quilt rack that I made for her.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 26, 2009

American Idol - March 26, 2009

Well, I wasn't too surprised by the outcome tonight. It was almost what I would have predicted. I am not that involved at this point in the contest so I don't feel too dejected when they send someone home who wasn't the absolute worst. I think that Michael Sarver will have a music career in either country or gospel. Sherrie didn't really like him so she thought maybe he should go back to the oil rig. I think he actually has a good voice, but not the type of market appeal for an American Idol audience (of course, we have to remember that these are the same viewers that selected Taylor Hicks and Rueben Studdard).

Gladys Knight & the Pips

I was surprised that Jared had not heard of Gladys Knight before attending the concert in Alabama. But I guess I don't know all the groups that he listens (or listened) to. I would have loved to have been able to attend that concert. She had been a powerhouse in R&B for years. Not that widely known, Gladys Knight joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1997. It is purported that she occasionally teased LDS Church president, the late Gordon B. Hinckley, that his flock needs to inject some "pep" into their music. (I would have to say that I whole heartedly agree. I certainly hope that when I move on that the music in the next existence isn't so drab and somber. I think that we are very Amish-like in our approach to music.) Knight created and now directs the Mormon-themed choir Saints Unified Voices. SUV has released a Grammy Award-winning CD titled One Voice, and occasionally performs at the Mormon church firesides.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mission Flashback - Malacatan, Guatemala

Jared Update - March 25, 2009

I received the weekly letter from Jared today. He is loving his mission experience in Alabama. He is still in Gadsden and has a new companion this week. Spring is literally in the air in Alabama:

"We are now in the wonderful time of spring. The yellow pollen dust is EVERYWHERE! There are so many beautiful flowers, plants, and growth. It's nice to see the weather continue to warm up. It's been in the high 70's this past week. Today it is raining so it is a little cooler but it's really nice over-all. The humidity is picking up but I'm more used to it now and almost kinda like it. Now when it gets really hot I'm not a fan because then you feel like you are going to die."

Jared was able to meet Gladys Knight:

"Sunday was totally AWESOME. Church went well and after church we went to Sis Meranto's home to eat lunch with Connie our investigator. We then drove down to Bessemer, my first area, to go to the Gladys Knight Fireside. We got there at 2 and were the first people in line. This fireside was pretty much a concert. It was absolutely amazing. She had her choir called the “Saints Unified Voices” from Las Vegas come with her. They did it in the chapel and had the gym completely full with chairs. There were 1000 people in each session. They did 2 on Sat. night and Sun. night. We sat on the third row from the front and so we had great seats. It almost felt like I was in a protestant church because we were clapping and this was some good ole gospel music, plus they had the band too. It was so sweet though. I was able to shake her hand and meet her as well as her husband. Apparently she was in a band back in the day called Gladys Night and the Pipps or something like that. I dont' really know but I'm sure dad does."

I laugh that he doesn't know who Gladys Knight is - only one of the biggest names in modern music. I would have loved to have gone to that concert.

Jared has taken up basketball:

"Yesterday we taught a bunch of referrals again and then we played basketball last night too. We had 6 non members playing basketball with us. It is really fun. I”m not too good at basketball but I guess since I've been playing the past 6 weeks I've improved a lot. They were calling me pterodactyl, like the flying dinosaur, last night because apparently I can jump really high and I rebound the ball almost every time. It's kinda funny. So I guess that's a good thing that I can out jump everyone else even the 6 foot 3 guys. We just have a fun time and it's cool to have the non members there."

I guess he will be able to play with Jonathan when he gets home. Jonathan plays everyday with the neighborhood kids and is getting quite good. We are even thinking about sending him to the BYU basketball camp this summer.

Jared has almost a year under his belt. It really has gone by fast. I can't believe that in a few months we will have two sons out in the mission field. Although I keep fighting the reality, I am getting OLD. Well, this old guy is going to hike Stansbury Peak this summer, even if it kills me (I hope it doesn't). Well, it is late and time to sign off - 5:00 am is going to come really soon.

Another Day - More Snow

I woke up to another inch of fresh snow. Truth be known, I really don't mind the small snows when the roads aren't dangerous. The nice, cold, wet precipitation does wonders for the gardens. I am really getting into echinaceas this year so I am excited to get my new ones planted and find several more exotic varieties (I see the local nursery is starting to stock the racks). Today was a busy day. I had a ton to get done at work, but had to leave early to attend the LEPC in town. After the LEPC I took Jonathan to get his new solo book for school band. He is going to learn a tenor saxophone solo. Then is was off to group piano lesson for Jonathan. Sherrie had to stay late for parent teacher conferences, so I went to Carl's Jr and bought burgers for dinner. It seems we are eating too many burgers as of late. Even the kids had a hard time deciding which fast food place to eat at (they are tired of all of them).

I was able to watch American Idol tonight. I'm not at the point where I have strong opinions about who should go and who should stay. The contestant from Utah, Megan Joy, gave a horrible performance. I think she will be saved, however, by www.votefortheworst.com. I thought Adam Lambert (who I normally don't care for) and Allison Iraheta were heads and tails above the rest of the candidates.

I had hoped to get at least one of the stair railings mounted. I just didn't get to it. Maybe that will be my project tomorrow night. I always think these projects will last a day or two and in the end they drag on for weeks. I think it is all the unplanned family commitments. No matter what I have planned somebody in the family has an alternative plan, and mine always takes lowest priority (I guess that goes with being a parent). well, if I didn't have a project to look forward to I would feel empty so these projects hanging on for weeks give me a sense of purpose - good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Eye Curse is Back

I didn't make it to the gym today. Sherrie's eye infection has resurged. We made an emergency trip into the cornea specialist in Salt Lake this morning where he confirmed there was a dendrite back on the cornea. We rushed back to Tooele to get the prescription filled so that Sherrie could start combating the infection. Last time this infection moved so fast that within hours the dendrites had covered her cornea and she nearly went blind. Well, she is felling better this evening and it looks like she caught it early on. Needless to say, we were both exhausted by the time we made it back from Salt Lake. Fortunately there was still snow on the ground today so I didn't have to feel guilty about not doing anything in the yard.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It Really Did Snow

When I left work this afternoon (out west of the Great Salt Lake), it was markedly colder than yesterday, but there wasn't any precipitation. When I came through Grantsville it was dry. The closer I came to Tooele, the darker it became and I started seeing snow in the fields. At home, I had a lawn completely covered in snow.

Sarah Turns 17

We celebrated Sarah's birthday quietly at home. After church we came home and had pizza for dinner (yes, I committed a sin and bought pizza on the Sabbath). However, even sinful pizza tasted really good. We had a icecream cake for her birthday cake and then opened the presents. Sarah is at the hard to get gifts for age. Of course, she has always been difficult to identify gifts for because she won't ask for anything and is happy with what she has. We decided on an iPod Nano (the new 8gb version). Well, I should say I recommended that and Sherrie went along with it. Sherrie would rather have anything for a gift rather than electronics. It was the only thing that I could think of that I new she would enjoy and could take with her to college in about a year. She was really happy with it and spent her day off school (Monday) at her friend's house loading music onto it. Of course, I don't have the music that she would put on her iPod. I think I'm hip because I listen to some of what I think is current music. But it is obviously not current enough. We watched Shrek (the first) to close out the day and all had a good laugh together. It was a nice birthday for a beautiful daughter.

Snow Again

I am glad that I cleaned up my backyard on Saturday. I woke up to snow this morning. The weatherman had been predicting snow for Sunday - it came just a little later than I expected. I drove through a small blizzard at Lake Point. As I went west it cleared up and there was no snow at the plant. It is, however, markedly colder today. I was glad for the moisture. The warm days started all the plants and trees growing and budding out. But it also dried up the soil and I was considering turning the sprinkler system on to water the yard. I don't like to do that at this time of year because it can still freeze at night. So this precipitation should take care of it for a few more days.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Off the Wagon - At Least a Couple of Arms

I didn't go to the club on Friday night and run. I didn't go this morning either. Before you shame me. I probably did work out harder than if I had gone to the club. I decided that the backyard needed to be cleaned up before the snow potentially hit tonight or tomorrow. I bribed Jonathan to help for a while. We ended up bagging 14 extra large trash bags of yard debris and dead plants from last year. My back now hurts, my shoulders hut, the bottom of my feet hurt (should have worn shoes, but it was such beautiful weather), the palms of my hands hurt (should have worn gloves). At about 2:30 I decided that I had reached my limit and was so dizzy from bending over that I needed to take a break. We took Jonathan to Big 5 and bought him a new pair of school shoes. Then we decided to go into Salt Lake. Jonathan didn't want to go, so it was just Sherrie, Sarah and myself. We first went to Western Gardens in West Valley City. I wanted to see if they had any of the fancy varieties of echinacea. I found three that I didn't have and they also had a red pulsatilla vulgaris that I was looking for. Now that I have the standard varieties, it is harder to find plants because I look for the specialty ones.

Echinacae Harvest Moon

Echinacae Sunset

Echinacae Sunrise

Pulsatilla Red

I had planned to work on the handrail for the stairs today, but I just don't have enough energy left to take another job and it is already 8:30 at night. I bought the wood, I guess that is an accomplishment on the project. I hope that I will be able to stand up tomorrow. I didn't think I had done that much, but now my back and shoulders are telling me otherwise. I guess that it is time for a good soak in the hot tub.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day Nine

Well, today was my ninth consecutive day on the treadmill. It really wasn't too bad. I watched a good portion of The Dark Knight so it really wasn't like being on a treadmill except that I had to keep adjusting the speed for my intervals. I haven't lost as much weight as I had hoped to, but my pants are fitting looser, so I must be toning up some of that flab, or the fat is migrating upwards. Sherrie has been really supportive at making sure we go every evening after work. The hard part is coming home and getting dinner ready. Tonight we just went by Subway and had a "healthy" dinner.

Jonathan and I went out in the backyard to work on cleaning up whilst we have good weather. I hear snow is coming again on Sunday. Since it takes weeks for my north facing backyard to thaw, I am trying to get as much done before then as possible. I have a lot of new growth, I hope that it doesn't get too cold and kill everything. Oh, life in the frigid north. We made some headway in clearing out our million volunteer, native sunflowers. They were sure pretty when they bloomed, but they are a bugger to cleanout. They all twist around each other for support. I feel as if I am fighting them to get them out of the garden (and they're dead). But it must be done. They occupy the spot for my pond that will be put in this spring. Well, it is late in the evening, and if I am going to run tomorrow, I had better get some sleep.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Elder Gibby - Gadsden - March 18, 2009

It has been another week for Elder Gibby in the Birmingham, Alabama Mission. He has been out 315 days (almost a year). That calculates to 43% complete. Wow, it really hasn't seemed that long. I've included some excerpts from his letter today.

"Well, things are goin fantabulous down here in the land of Bama. Transfer calls were yesterday and President Tate called me to be district leader again here in Gadsden and my new companion will be Elder Bybee. . . I try to help all my companions out and love them all. . . Yea, he’s pretty crazy and funny. So this next transfer is going to be very fun and awesome. I’m super excited. Shelton is going over to Tupelo Mississippi and serving as a zone leader. He’s a great missionary and it was really fun serving with him. We learned a lot from each other. It will be sad to see him leave. He lives in Logan so we’re going to hang out when he gets back.

"Phil is doing wonderful. He loved church and still wants to get baptized. We talked about his baptism and he was able to watch the one that was on Sunday. I gave a talk on baptism at the baptism we had here at church this past Sunday for John Hill. It went really well. The Attalla elders taught him and baptized him. There are 4 missionaries in this city just to let ya know. But we talked to Phil and we are probably going to have to go in the font with him due to his prosthetic legs, and we will help baptized him with Quintin. That is going to be awesome. I’m super excited. He’s getting baptized not this Sunday but next.

"Yesterday we helped downtown Gadsden with “The Taste of Gadsden” that they had going on. We helped them set up tables and stuff like that. It was fun service. They had around 20 different restaurants from the Gadsden area and they were giving out samples of their food. It was really delicious. So we had a fun St. Patricks Day.

"I’m doing wonderful. Things seem to be flowing great. We are working hard and staying focused. I really seem like I’m actually starting to understand this whole missionary thing now. It’s so awesome and cool. The church IS true. I know it. Never forget your testimony. Continually feed your spirit. I love yall."

What I'm Thinking This Morning

I watched parts of American Idol last night. I am trying to get the entry stairs done so I wasn't able to sit for the entire 2 hours and watch all the singers. I am having a harder time getting into the show this season. It seems as if the show has departed from the original format where America picked the Idol. I guess the Taylor Hicks season continues to have impacts. The judges seems to struggle with their feedback trying to give negative comments to good performances and vice versa. Well, I really shouldn't worry about television shows anyhow.

I am really irritated by the AIG bonuses. This is just another example of the greed and corruption that tanked the US economy. The excuse for the bonuses seemed even worse than the payments themselves. AIG needed to keep the poor performers who tanked the company so that they could recover. Sounds like extortion. What have we come to when it is more serious to shoplift (not that I am endorsing any crime) than to steal billions from the American taxpayers. Charge these goons with crimes and send them to jail.

I stepped on the scale this morning. I am still only down 2 pounds from my starting weight. I have been in the gym 5 days last week and 2 days this week. I noticed that my superfat clothes are getting to large to wear. So it must be that I am toning before I really start losing weight. To me it even appears that the gut is a little less gutsy.

I took advantage of the beautiful spring weather yesterday and went out and started cleaning out the gardens. I was happy to see that my crepe myrtles did not suffer any winter kill. The azaleas are getting ready to bloom and the hydrangea is starting to bud out. I have daffodils and pasque flowers blooming. I still have a ton of garden cleanout to get done. I violated my rule of not mail ordering plants and ordered some bletilla striata bulbs (hardy ground orchids). I grew them in Idaho Falls. They are originally from china and are a true orchid that grows in the ground and are cold hardy. I have never seen them available in stores so they have to be mail ordered. I am excited to get them and add them to my flower collection.

The stairs are progressing. I need to install the railing, but I am a little nervous because it requires drilling some large holes in expensive wood.

Today is Wednesday and I should get a letter (email) from Jared. I am always excited to see how he is doing. I spoke with Jordan last night and he is enjoying his spring break in Los Angeles. That reminds me that I need to get the trailer out from the side of the house and get it registered and ready for our camping trip.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Goal

Sherrie and I attended the Second Chance Prom in Idaho Falls in May 2003. What a handsome looking couple. After six years of moving and raising teenagers, we don't quite look the same. Sherrie is still gorgeous, but I've gained some weight. We started back to working out this week. Sherrie did six days at the club and I did five. I actually went while I was down in Cedar City. But I just couldn't get up and go on Saturday morning before driving down there again. The old back will only do so much. I stand on the scales faithfully every morning. I've lost 2 pounds in one week - yipee!! Only 98 more to go.... I might reach my goal weight by the time Jordan gets back from his mission. Of course, I won't be able to afford a new suit until then, so I guess the timing is about right. Sherrie is dropping the pounds and will disappear in a few months if she keeps up this rate. We might even be able to run in a 5K later this year. If we can get to where we look like the picture, we will once again return to Idaho Falls and attend the Prom.
Posted by Picasa

A Mish Mash

Sarah went to the Stake Prom Dance. She looked nice enough to have gone to a real prom (that is in April and she will look smashing). Jackson Farnsworth was able to come up and stay for Jordan's birthday. The kids all had a good time. We had a real RISK tournament going on (genetically very competitive). Today we went up to visit my grandmother. She was feeling under the weather, but she got out of bed to visit with us. We had a nice visit and heard about how she had the mumps before high school graduation and then tripped and fell during the graduation ceremony. She said that was one of the most embarrassing moments of her life. While we were there, my Uncle Richard and his wife, Evilyn came by with dinner for grandma. We visited for a few minutes and then made our way back home. Sarah was able to model her prom dress and accessories for her great grandmother. Grandma commented on what a beautiful dress it was. Evilyn thought it was a very modest dress and wanted to know where we bought it as her granddaughter in Denver is going to the prom soon. I continue to make slow progress on my stair and hall hardwood project. I finished the hall floor and placed the baseboards. I need to caulk and paint. I have all the stair treads down and one riser to install. I hope to get the railings on this week. It will take some fancy drilling to get the connecting hardware installed correctly. I haven't done too bad so far. I've only scrapped about $50 worth of oak!
Posted by Picasa

Signs of Spring

We've had enough warm days in Tooele and some of my earlier flowers are coming into bloom. If I hadn't been on the road all weekend, I would have been out cleaning up my yard from winter. Jonathan had a water balloon fight with the neighborhood boys on Saturday while were gone to Cedar City. A few sunny days and it feels like summer.
Posted by Picasa

1000 Miles in 2 Days

Well, it's not quite the Amazing Race, but it felt like it to me. I took Friday off work to drive down to Cedar City, Utah and bring Jordan back to Tooele. I left early in the morning and arrived about 9:30 am, in time to take him to his physical appointment. After the physical we went to lunch at Lucky's Chinese Buffet (not bad). I then dropped him off for his classes on campus and I took a drive up Cedar Canyon towards Cedar Breaks. I made it to the summit, but the road up to Cedar Breaks was still covered in deep snow. If I had known there were snowmachining trails up there I could have taken one of my machines down and rode for an hour of so while Jordan was at class. We left Cedar after his class and headed back (driving at the speed limit of course)to Tooele. We arrived home at 9:15 pm and changed into our Sunday clothes. We walked over to the Bishop's house and met with him and Brother Heder from the Stake Presidency. I ordained Jordan to the Melchizedek Priesthood. We were able to sit and chat with the Fivas' for a few minutes. Jordan tried to see some of his friends, but nobody was in town so he stayed home and played Guitar Hero with Jonathan. Saturday morning we headed off to Cedar about 10:00 am. We arrived in town about 1:30 pm and went straight to Lucky's Buffet again. Jordan had enjoyed it so much the first time he chose to go back. Sherrie found a little quilt shop next door to the restaurant so she ended up enjoying the trip as well. She also has a new project to work on. We dropped Jordan off at this apartment and headed back to Tooele arriving at about 7:00 pm. I AM TIRED. That is too much driving to do in a subcompact car. I don't think it would have been as bad in a nice comfortable sedan. But the gas mileage with the Subaru is much better than any other car I own. I survived it, but I have a sore back today and a sore wrist. I think all that driving left with with a little tendinitis in my right wrist. All in all, our travels were safe and without incident; Jordan is now an Elder and one step closer to having all his mission papers submitted.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mormon Mardi Gras

 The Elders in Gadsden took a few moments to celebrate Fat Tuesday. I gained a few extra pounds to celebrate.
Posted by Picasa