Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Beautiful Spring Day

Today was almost a perfect day weatherwise. The temperature was perfect. There was no wind or rain and the sun shone beautifully until almost 9:00 pm. I was able to come home from work and putter in the yard. Well, before my puttering I put in my time at the gym. Sherrie motivated me to go - and I always feel better after I go. When I got home I pulled a few weeds, planted my new echinacea species (a native yellow form). I am trying to decide if my wisteria survived the winter. About a month ago it started to bud out after a few warm days. It turned cold again and the new growth froze. It hasn't done anything since then even though it has now been warm for a few days. I called a master gardener who said that it is probably just waiting for enough warm days (smart plant). I broke a few vines off and they are green inside. I will just let it be. If I don't have any growth in a couple of weeks I might then assume that it died. I hate to lose it because it has grown up over the trellis. The azaleas are blooming and are spectacular. I don't know why I always thought you couldn't grow azaleas and rhodys in the west. All mine wintered very well and are covered in beautiful blooms. I bought a few more this year. And the more I think about it, I might go get some more. I decided that subconsciously I am trying to make my yard look like the one I had in Knoxville, Tennessee. Pretty soon I will be bordering all my gardens with monkey grass. After pulling some weeds and clipping some old dead growth, I settled into my patio chair to enjoy the warm sun and beautiful flowers that are blooming. I have to relax a little because on Saturday we go down to bring Jordan back from school. I am not looking forward to packing all his stuff into the car. For some reason the things kids have at school multiply rapidly over the course of the school year. When we picked up Jared from BYU we almost didn't have enough room in the Suburban. I will probably take the Suburban to pick up Jordan just in case. I have been bringing things home little by little with my frequent visits down to Cedar City. It is going to be strange having three children in the house again. Well, I digress and it is well past my bedtime, but tomorrow is Friday. Maybe I will have to make a trip out to the Seafood Buffet...

Air Pollution in Alabama

Well, here they are, the top 5 cities in the United States for Ozone (O3) pollution. I had never heard of Cullman, Alabama until Jared served there several months ago. Now I see it in the top 5. Maybe I should send him a respirator to wear. I wonder how that would go over...

Top 5 Cities for Ozone Pollution

1. Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA

2. Fresno-Madera, CA

3. Bakersfield, CA

4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA

5. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, AL

Monday, April 27, 2009

Woops, I Did It Again...

There is something about spring and gardening that draws me to plant nurseries like bees to honey. I saw the azaleas that just arrived, ready to bloom, and I had to have some. The ones I planted last year did so well and are blooming beautifully right now. I bought a couple of pink azaleas to plant at the base of the pink dogwood tree. I bought a bright red dwarf rhododendron and a burnt red azalea for the front flower bed. I also had to pick up some canna bulbs. I planted them and put them in the hot bed I thought they would add some nice color and height to the front flower beds. I can't get anymore plants until the ones I have are in the ground and with my back the way it still is, that won't be anytime before the weekend (whoa is me). I have a number of plants flowering now so the gardens are really pretty. The summer blooming flowers are up and out of the ground. I noticed that my fancy clematis is putting out a number of flower buds. The wisteria is still holding out. I finally had to pull a couple of buds to see if they were alive. They are alive and today I saw the first evidence of leaves emerging. I do hope that they bloom this year. I spent last year training them on the trellis, now I would like to see a reward for all my efforts. I needed to mow the grass today (it was just mowed on Saturday), but I couldn't with my back. I put Revive (I think that is the name of the product) on it. We then had the rain and snow and it has gone crazy. I don't know what is in Revive (I hope I have the name right) but it sure does the job. Last year when the sod I laid was doing so poorly, I tried Revive and the sod recovery was almost miraculous. It is a product that I really believe in. This really isn't an advertisement or sales pitch for the product, but I have been amazed each time I've used it. I hope that my back feels better tomorrow. I really have too much to do in and out of the house to be out of commission. I've finally decided that the goal will be to have the stair project done by the time Jordan gets home from his mission. There has been only minimal progress in the last few weeks.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Looking Back A Year

This was us probably a little over a year ago. Now we will be there in just a few more weeks. Wow, how time flies.

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

I am glad that my sore back and shoulder kept me from putting in my vegetable garden yesterday. I have plants in the tub blocking the back door that are ready to go into the ground. But consistent with good Utah weather, after a week in the 80's it snowed again today. It came down pretty good for a few minutes. The roofs were covered in white. But it is melted and gone now. So maybe sometime this week will be the time to plant.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Jumpiest Nieces

I just received an email from my sister, Rachelle, and I have to brag on my nieces. They are the cutest little girls and they compete in an annual jump rope contest at their elementary school. Felicity (Grade 3) and Natalie (Grade 4) both made it from their grades. They have 15 minutes to try and jump as many jumps as they can. They can have three attempts within that 15 minutes. Felicity jumped almost the whole time and got 1,194 jumps. Natalie jumped 1,115 times. Felicity placed 1st in her grade and Natalie placed 3rd in her grade. CONGRATULATIONS TO THEM BOTH. I know I couldn't jump that many times and I'm not even sure I could jump for the entire 3 minutes.

Rainy Day Garden Fever

This morning I awoke (well, it almost wasn't morning anymore) to Eugene, Oregon type weather. It was misting outside. It had apparently rained all night and we were situated inside the cloud that was up against the mountain. What can one do on such a dismal day? Go shopping of course - help boost the sagging economy. Sherrie and I headed into Salt Lake to find places that would be willing to take our money. I dropped her off at Aero Postale while I headed to Lowes Garden Center. I found a beautiful pink blooming dogwood tree (just like we had in Knoxville) and a contorted filbert. I also picked up a few more perennials (can a garden ever have enough perennials?). I got a bright pink carnation (marginal as to whether it will survive the winter, but I'll mulch it good), a Wasatch Penstemon (a wildflower that is native to the Wasatch Mountains, and another one that I can't recall right now (and my back doesn't feel up to going outside to find out). I also found a plant for my little water garden next to the patio. It has a beautiful white flower that comes up out of the water. Sherrie found a rustic looking pottery table decoration that she couldn't live without. All in all, it wasn't a bad day. I'll have to wait until Monday to plant the trees and perennials. It is just too wet outside (unusual for Utah) to plant anything and even if it weren't, I don't think my back and arm would let me. I think that it is about time to take one of the pain killers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bring On The Pain

Well, that is about how it happened. I was not paying attention to where I was walking and caught the front of my sandal on the concrete step and DOWN I went. I think my subconscious mind must have a thing for pain. I didn't just fall, but sprawled out across the step hurting my wrists, knee, shin, feet, hands and neck. The only thing that didn't impact the concrete was my head (which left me conscious to feel the pain). After a few minutes of recovery I was back on my feet. After four hours in the car I can barely move. Again I bemoan the literal pain of growing older.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April Showers Bring April Flowers

Spring is in full swing. The daffodils are just about done blossoming and tulips and early perennials are blooming. The trees are budding out with the pear and cherry trees in full bloom. I even had my grass greened up (I've had to mow it three times already). I now need to get my neck healed so that I can start putting in the pond. I love this time of year. I just want to stay outside until the last rays of light are gone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jared Wednesday Update - 04/22/09

I received Jared's email earlier than usual this week. It was nice to read. With my snazzy new phone I can read email on my phone. Now I just need those cornea video screen implants and I could read email all the time... I'll get back on track. Jared had a great week in Gadsden, Alabama. The biggest surprise of the week was probably hearing from his brother, Jordan. We obtained permission from Jared's mission president for Jordan to make a brief call and tell him where he was called to. Jared writes, "Wednesday night we were in PEC meeting with the bishop and all and I left with one of the elders to go and do a church tour. Elder Bybee comes running out of the room saying, “Elder Gibby, your brother is on the phone!!” I’m like what!???!?!?! I was able to talk to Jordan for 12 minutes and he told me where he was going to be serving. I’m super excited for him to be able to go to Brazil. He is going to love it. I know that is where he is supposed to go. It was really wonderful to be able to talk to Jordan. I was so excited. I didn’t want to be breaking mission rules so I’m glad that he told me he got permission from President Tate." I am also glad that Jared didn't break the rules. I am especially grateful to President Tate, who graciously consented to the call. Jared and Jordan have been close growing up (Irish twins). They will share about 8 months in the mission field.

Jared is also seeing how people's lives can change for the better. "Kristin, one of our investigators, came to church Sunday. We taught her before church started and she has read almost half the Book of Mormon. I was super surprised. On a first impression you wouldn’t have given her the time of day. When we first met her she said she was a lesbian, dressed like a gothic emo, and told us she was atheist. We still talked to her and taught her the restoration. She has come to church for the past 3 weeks and loves it. ... Monday we were able to teach her in a members home and watch the Restoration DVD. It went really well. She might get baptized soon."

This coming Sunday they will having Stake Conference with Elder L. Tom Perry as their speaker. We had Elder Perry speak at our Stake Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma when I served as a Bishop there. That will be a great experience for Jared.

One comment I will make, is that it is certainly easier having them on their mission than getting prepared to leave. We just went through this a year ago with Jared and now we are starting it with Jordan. There is an added step that Jordan has to obtain a passport (which was much easier to do years and years and years ago when I had mine). Hopefully we will get the passport thing taken care of this week and then Mom will be able to rest easier.

A Real Engineer

We are performing our annual stack testing this week. This is an activity where I get to feel like a real engineer. I don the safety equipment, talk on the radio and work odd hours (odd and long). Last night we finished up a little after 8:00 pm. As expected there were a few glitches in getting everything going. Today it seems to be running much smoother. Of course how well things go isn't really determined until the end of all the tests and the results are in (a few weeks down the road). At any rate, I know that I will be tired by close of business on Thursday. On the bright side, we are experiencing beautiful weather here on the west side of the Great Salt Lake and it is nice to be outside.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Neck Hernia

I am not sure which is worse, pain in my arm and neck or sleeping all the time (okay, I do know which is worse - but I am growing a little tired - no pun intended - of sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time). I did make it up for work this morning, but only after sleeping through my alarm for over an hour. The alarm noise translated into dogs barking at my in a dream. I didn't take my muscle relaxant this morning, but I am still having a hard time staying awake at work. After reading about the prognosis for this condition, I am feeling somewhat better. Lose weight and exercise more to strengthen the back and neck muscles. If I don't do those things it will eventually end up as surgical intervention with the vertebrae being fused. I have a bunch of yard and landscaping work to get done this spring. I hope this condition won't interfere with it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tooele High School Prom 2009

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Well, here I find myself recovering from another exciting weekend (what will I do with myself when I no longer have teenage children living at home). Sarah went to the Tooele HIgh School Junior Prom with Micah Robbins. They went on a date earlier in the day where they participated in a scavenger hunt at Walmart. Afterwards they enjoyed lunch at Subway (conveniently located in Walmart - A person could probably actually live in Walmart and never have to leave the store). They had a blast. Sarah had an appointment at 1:30 to have her hair done for the dance. Micah came by at about 2:15 to pick her up. We were able to meet Micah's Mom, Cheryl. They make a stunning couple as you can see from the pictures. We see them as Professors Ken and Barbie. They went with a group of really nice kids from Tooele. First stop was to have their pictures taken. I am hoping to see the proofs in a day or two. They had some time before dinner so they all went and walked around Temple Square. Of course they received numerous compliments. I think those senior Sister Missionaries love seeing the beautiful young ladies with their dates on Temple Square. They all enjoyed dinner at Rodizio Grill at Trolley Square. Fortunately we had just been to Trolley square for dinner last weekend and Sarah made an addition trip there when she forgot her purse, so she knew how to get there. When she got home on Friday night she talked alot about dinner (she really seemed to like the restaurant - I guess we will have to take it up a notch to impress our children). They all had a fun time at the dance. Sarah arrived home happy and tired (but we did manage to stay up until about 1:30 talking about the dance). She also arrived home with blisters on her feet (good thing I have moleskin for running) and sore earlobes (must be why woman pierece their ears rather than wear clipons). Today she was able to wear her dress to church. All the little girls in the ward thought she looked like a princess. It gave the older women in the ward the opportunity to reflect back on their proms. I guess we have just one more prom related activity and that is to have the dress cleaned. I guess it is good that I only have one daughter because I wanted her really dolled up for the prom.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Winter Strikes AGAIN

Old man winter struck again early this morning. When I was sitting up with my aching arm I noticed the snow starting to fall. It was coming down like large cotton balls. We awoke this morning to 6-8 inches of heavy wet snow. It wasn't terribly cold, but it was miserable having to clean it off the cars to drive. It was too heavy for the windshield wipers to scrape off. Of course, by the time I made it down to Stansbury they had substantially less snow than we did. A little rise on the bench can make a big difference in the snow fall.

Jared Wednesday Update - 04/15/09

"A cool bird named Kooskoe"
"The slot machine was at this old mans house who we visited on our team up with Attalla. Don't worry, I didn't gamble! haha"

Life continues to be good to Jared in Gadsden, Alabama. He was able to play the piano during the Easter Program in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. "Monday was a sweet day. We had a ton of appointments and taught some sweet people. In the morning we did MAUs and had some wonderful success. One lady actually had been taught by missionaries before and remembered their names. She wants us to come back and visit with her again. I also taught this black guy, Davounto Ray, he is way cool. He said that he would love coming up to church and he told me that he also has a recording studio and wants me to come and record some piano pieces. I’m actually writing a song right now so that’s going to be fun. In the afternoon we went to a referrals house and gave him a BOM and taught him lesson one. I also ended up setting up his home network for his computer. That was pretty funny. He was really thankful and we are probably going to give him a church tour this weekend."

Jared ran into a member of our ward in Farragut, Tennessee. "After we went to the temple we ate at Jim ‘N Nicks, a BBQ place, mmmmm it’s amazing. Some other missionaries from the Leads ward ate with us and the member that drove them knows grandpa. His name is Charles Brinkman. I guess he studied with him at the U and is a ceramic engineer. He used to work at INEEL and Oakridge in Farragut. He might have even met dad. It was really cool talking with him." Chuck Brinkman was a member of the Farragut Ward for the five years that we lived there. Jared was too young to have remembered him. I remember when my parents came out to visit one time, Dad was able to talk to him. So in response to Jared's comment that I might have met him before. Yes, I saw him almost weekly for five years. He even met Sherrie's Mom out in Colorado Springs. It really is a small world.

One of the highlights of yesterday for us was Jordan's opportunity to call Jared directly and tell him about his mission call. I call President Tate and obtained permission for Jordan to call and speak with him for just a few minutes and let him know where his mission call was to. I really felt strongly about having Jordan tell him personally. They have always been so close and growing up talked about when they would be serving missions at the same time. Jared will miss Jordan's farewell and Jordan will miss Jared's homecoming, but I wanted them to be able to share this one experience. President Tate was very gracious in allowing the contact. I think Jared was surprised that Jordan called him. They will be able to email each other over the next year (I love technology).

Late Night or Early Morning

Here is it approximately 1:20 in the morning. I went to bed and my arm started hurting bad again. I don't know why it kicks in at night. I tried to go back to sleep but the pain was too much lying in the bed. I got up and read through Jordan's mission packet again. It is kind of scary sending him to the MTC in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We don't get to go through the missionary hand off experience that you get in Provo. But we get to see him off at the airport which we weren't able to do with Jared. I told Sherrie that we are definitely going to Brazil to pick him up after his mission. I have enough frequent flyer miles saved up to get two tickets to Brazil. So next year we get a trip to Alabama and the year after that Brazil.

I just looked out the window and the snow is really coming down. I though we might escape it, but it is a winter wonderland out there right now. We have 2-3 inches now and it is still coming down at a good rate. I guess I fertilized my lawn at the right time (Monday). This should really get the grass greening up. I just hope that it doesn't damage any of the other flowers or plants. My twisted, weeping, Japanese cherry tree is just coming into bloom for the first time. I hope I don't have to wait another year to see it bloom. The rest of the plants should be cold hardy and the snow does provide a protective blanket against colder air temperatures. This does seem to be the year that winter won't end.

I am feeling a little sleepy now so I will try the sleeping thing again. I just hope and pray that the pain doesn't start up again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Mission Call!!!!

Jordan's mission call came right as expected. We had anticipated it would arrive today. At about 2:35 pm I called Sarah and she had just arrived at home to find a large white envelope addressed to "Elder Jordan David Gibby" in the mailbox. After Sherrie and I arrived home from work I realized that Jordan had taken the webcam back to school with him. We tried to borrow one, but ended up making a quick trip to Walmart to buy a webcam so that we could video conference with Jordan. I opened the envelope where I couldn't see the letter and put it up to the camera for Jordan to read it. The camera resolution got in the way and all Jordan seemed to be able to make out was "northern Minnesota". I asked him if he wanted me to read it to him to which he consented. I immediately saw Brazil and said that it wasn't anywhere near Minnesota. He had friends in the room with him and everybody was really excited when they heard Brazil. He has been called to the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission. He will enter the Brazilian Mission Home on August 26, 2009. He doesn't like Provo and he won't even have to go there for the MTC. Needless to say, we've spent the rest of the evening calling everybody. I did find a little time to fill out his passport application and sent it to him.
Porto Alegre is south of Sao Paulo along the eastern coastline. The population is over 4 million. They have a temple there that was dedicated by the late President Hinckley. We are so excited. The date in August will give us some time with Jordan before he spends two years in a foreign country.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tax Time

Here I am on Tax Eve with my return nearly complete, but not filed. I don't know why the deadline creeps up on me every year. Where I get a refund it would seem that I would get my return sent in early in the season, but I just have an aversion to tax returns so I put it off to the last minute every year. I guess I had better get off and go print out my extension form so that I can get it in the mail.

American Idol

I realized that we missed American Idol last week so we didn't know what was happening. Scott McIntyre was voted out which didn't surprise me. He was a talented singer and I hand it to him performing on the show being legally blind. However, he just wasn't the same level of performer as the other contestants. Now it is going to be hard to determine who will go home as it is getting down to the good performers. My prediction is that Lil Rounds will be the next contestant voted out tomorrow.

Spring Break 2009

I've been out of the techno world for a week. We took our spring break (well the kids' and Sherrie's spring break) and left the bustling world to spend time communing with nature in Zion's National Park. I remember visiting Zion's Park briefly as a child and it left an impression on me. I have enjoyed visiting it every chance I get since then. On that same trip as a child we went to the Grand Canyon. It made a different impression on me and I haven't been back since. I think I prefer Zion's because you start as the bottom of the canyon and hike up. That way my fear of heights doesn't start the minute I arrive at the canyon. We had a later start on Monday, April 6 and drove to the park. I had made reservations for the Watchman Campground back in January. We had an uneventful trip to the park. We dropped Jordan off at school just in time for his 3:00 pm class. Then it was off to Walmart to get our groceries. We arrived at the park early evening and set up tent trailer. We took a short hike on one of the trails in the campground. We had dinner (hot dogs taste good when you are camping - and that is about the only time) and spent time around the campfire. Jonathan is good at starting fires and accomplished them with one match (he even sang us the "One Match Only" song).

On Tuesday morning we got up, had a quick breakfast and headed over to the shuttle bus, not sure which trail we were going to take. En route we decided to try the Weeping Rock Trail. That is an easy and short trail to a rock out cropping that drips water continuously. After getting our hiking legs under us we decided to go part way up the Observation Point Trail. We hiked up through the slot canyon and then headed back down. Rather than going all the way down we went over to the Hidden Canyon Trail. I tried to go on the trail that goes around a narrow and deep slot canyon. I got significant vertigo and had to turn around. We decided to eat lunch enjoy the view and head down. We had promised the kids that we would go to the Zion's Lodge to get icecream cones after hiking. We caught the shuttle to the lodge. The icecream shop wasn't open yet - it said mid-April (we were a week early apparently). After an unsuccessful attempt at icecream we decided to head into Springdale for dinner (in lieu of icecream). We had a nice dinner at a Mexican Restaurant (Amigos). We were able to sit out on the patio and enjoy and chips, salsa and various Mexican entrees. After dinner we went back to the campground to enjoy some time around the fire (thanks again to Jonathan).

On Wednesday I got up and fixed a big breakfast (pancakes, bacon, eggs). We then headed over to the visitor's center to catch the shuttle bus to the Angel's Landing trail. The visitor's center has taps for filling water packs with spring water. It was great water and came out ice cold. We made our way slowly up the trail. It is a steep trail with drops offs all along the way. After a couple of days in the park I don't have as much vertigo so I didn't mind the trail. We hiked to Scout Lookout but opted to not go the last half mile to Angel's Landing (it is just creeping along rocks holding onto a chain with a 1500 ft drop off). After hiking up this trail and back down again we were pretty much done for the day. We went to the grocery store and bought a carton of icecream to enjoy around the fire (thank you Jonathan again - One Match Only, One Match Only ...). We had hamburgers and then enjoyed our icrecream. It got a little blustery and a number of campers packed up and left. After about an hour the storm blew over and we had beautiful blue sky. We decided that we would get in our last hike on Thursday morning and then head home. We woke up and had a quick breakfast and caught the shuttle to Emerald Pool Trail. I really enjoyed the hike up the trail. There were beautiful vistas all the way up the trail. By the time we made it back down the trail, I was ready to head home. I figured that we put in about 12 miles of hiking in three days. That's pretty good for an out of shape, middle aged, overweight man. We loved our time in Zion's Park, but it sure felt good to get home and sleep in my own bed. I am still paying the price for all the hiking being so out of shape. My left arm aches and aches and aches. I don't know why my left arm since it really didn't have to do much. I think it is probably a pinched nerve resulting from an overworked muscle. Well, the pain is definitely worth it. I've posted a slide show of the pictures I took (over 500) in the park. Enjoy - I did.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cedar City - I LOVE YOU

You just can't keep me away. I mad another mad dash to the cedar haven of the south. Jordan just couldn't wait to come home for another weekend. With all the tire problems last weekend, he just wasn't able to spend enough time with us. Jonathan and I headed out bright and early on Saturday morning (well, late enough for some sleeping in) and enjoyed the beautiful back country highways of central Utah. Upon arrival we spent some money at the Home Depot, they have supplies there that I can't get in Tooele or most of SLC. We then made a quick trip through Walmart to by some of the fusible whatever that is used in applique quilting. Then is was over the hill to Jordan's apartment where he was waiting anxiously by the door. Lunch was at Lucky's Chinese Buffet where we again saw the infantile octapi but didn't partake. Then the mad dash back to Tooele that was interrupted by a nice sheriff from whatever county Fillmore is in. Apparently, the speed limit between the Meadow exit from I-15 and Highway 50 that goes from Holden to Delta is a 55 mph zone and not 65 as I thought it was. Apparently the nice Sheriff also knew this and parked his pickup only a half mile from Highway 50. So I guess I will be paying the nice Judge in Fillmore a visit on the way back from Zion's Park on Friday. It was ironic that a little more than a year ago, my father received a speeding ticket in Stockton after bringing Jared up for his final interview with the Stake President before sending in his mission papers. This was the trip to bring Jordan back for his last interview with the Stake President before sending his mission papers in. I think we'll fly Jonathan home if he is somewhere away from home and then have him take a taxi from the airport. In spite of the difficulties encountered in what was to have been a great southern jaunt, Jordan's mission papers were submitted and we expect an important letter in about two weeks. Maybe the judge will have compassion on me and drop the fine. But I don't know, it didn't work on the nice Sheriff. When we head back that way again, we will certainly take the highway to Holden and avoid the country speed trap going to Meadow. I think I will contact UDOT and see if they can't do something about the speed limit on that stretch of highway because there certainly isn't any reason it would be lower than the section going to Holden. I'd better sign off for the night since it is already Monday morning.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Published - Well, Sort Of

We had a somewhat heated (although significantly less so than February's meeting) Planning Commission Meeting. There seems to be a lot of interest in developing gravel pits in Tooele County. It appears I must have said something of interest as I am quoted in the newspaper (so I guess that counts as being published?). You can read the article via the link, Tooele Transcript Bulletin. I enjoy serving on the Commission even though it can become tense at times. I feel that I provide meaningful input and I am contributing to the county and community that I live in.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm Glad Today is Over

It is now time to go to bed and I am GLAD today is finally over. Every now and then you have a day in which things continue to go wrong. So you are relieved when it finally ends with the hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I woke up feeling sick after a rough night of sleep. I found out that Jordan still needs to have an interview with President Lawrence before his mission papers can be turned in. So guess what I am doing on Saturday - another trip to the south lands. I feel like I have spent every weekend in Cedar City. Jordan's room mates are coming up on Friday for Conference, but he didn't want to leave that early so I get to go down and pick him up and take him back on Monday. Jonathan agreed to go down with me so that I won't have to travel alone. Sarah has her ACT test on Saturday and Sherrie had a haircut appointment so I get the assignment to drive 500 miles. On my way home Sherrie called to tell me that she had a flat tire on the Suburban. I really wasn't in the mood to take on a flat tire, so I went to find the rest of the wood for the stair railings. Home Depot told me that they had the newell posts and ballusters that I needed. Well, they had one balluster. I'll never finish the project if I can't find the wood. I will call and see if perchance they have the wood I need in Cedar City. I finally did make it home and went with Sherrie to pick up the car. It had a FLAT tire with the remnant of a screw sticking out of it. I pumped it up with my mobile compressor and then took it home and plugged the hole. I needed to get it repaired because I have replacement of the windshield that is fully cracked scheduled for tomorrow morning. I have to get this done so that I am ready for Monday. I was going to have the windshield on the Villager replaced, but found out that I only carry liability insurance on it (I vaguely remember changing the coverage when the boys started driving). To replace the windshield without insurance is expensive for that car. I checked and found that if the crack is repaired and does not extend more than one inch into the "acute zone" which is 6 inches past the outside rim of the glass then it will pass the inspection. I checked the cracks and they barely fall within the criteria so it looks as if I don't have to get it replaced to pass the safety inspection. Well, I have been rattling on for too long now. On a positive note, my morning glory (Convolvulus) seeds have sprouted in my mini greenhouse.
I bought some special seeds that should produce beautiful flowers. I am going to try and cover my ugly fences with vine flowers. Jonathan and Sarah first noticed the seeds had sprouted. They were excited to see the plants growing. I will be really excited when my Pulsatilla seeds sprout, but they aren't supposed to sprout for over 3 months (still a bit to wait). The weather people are talking snow again tonight, but it is supposed to be closed to 70 by the weekend. I will be glad when the risk of frost is passed so that I can plant my seedlings out in the garden.This is the first time in year that I have planted seeds in doors. I found that it was the only way to get some of the "exotic" flowers that I wanted to have in my yard. Either the plants are too expensive to order online or you can't find them locally. Well, I am finally signing off and going to bed.

Age-related mental decline starts in the late-20s

I just saw this headline on Yahoo News. I guess I should just hang it up and consider it over as I am well past 37...

"Declining mental function is often seen as a problem of old age, but certain aspects of brain function actually begin their decline in young adulthood, a new study suggests.

"The study, which followed more than 2,000 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 60, found that certain mental functions -- including measures of abstract reasoning, mental speed and puzzle-solving -- started to dull as early as age 27.

"Dips in memory, meanwhile, generally became apparent around age 37.

"On the other hand, indicators of a person's accumulated knowledge -- like performance on tests of vocabulary and general knowledge -- kept improving with age, according to findings published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Dogwood Season

Jared sent a couple of pictures of the dogwoods blooming in Alabama. I certainly miss the flowers blooming in the south in the Spring. In Knoxville there was the Dogwood Trail that you could drive through the city and look at the beautiful landscaping coming into bloom. We had an entire grove of dogwoods in our backyard and one that came out over the driveway. They would be covered with beautiful white blossoms. It was usually at the same time all the azaleas were blooming. There was a story in Tennessee that the dogwood was the tree used to make the cross that Jesus hung on. In reverence to Him, the flowers are white, shaped like a cross and have berries the color of blood. They also bloom around Easter every year.
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I found this poem:

In Jesus time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.

'Twas strong & firm it's branches interwoven
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.

Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:

"Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so

Slender & twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.

As blood stains the petals marked in brown
The blossom's center wears a thorny crown.

All who see it will remember me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.

Cherished and protected this tree shall be
A reminder to all of my agony."

author unknown-

Jared's Baptism in Gadsden

Jared and his companion had a baptism this past Sunday. It was a gentleman, Phil, that Jared has been teaching since he arrived in Gadsden. Phil was a friend of Quinton's who is also a recent convert. We've been anticipating this baptism and were excited to see it come to fruition. Jared has remained busy in Gadsen and enjoys serving there.

"After church Phil had his baptism. The baptism went great. Quinton baptized him and Elder Bybee and I were in the font to help with the baptism since both legs are prosthetics. We had to dunk him twice because the first time his hands didn’t go under. Afterwards he asked me to confirm him. That was really cool. Usually missionaries don’t do the confirmation and it was my first time. The spirit was really strong and comforted me."
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Megan No More

The Joy is gone out of American Idol. Okay, sorry for the pun. I had to miss the American Idol elimination episode last night (sigh sigh). I was participating in much more important County Business. Truth be told, it was actually nice to not have to endure Ryan Seacrest teasing the contestants and wondering if this was the week that a contestant would be "saved." As soon as I arrived home, Sarah let me know that Megan had been eliminated. Well, no great surprises there. Apparently, didn't garner enough support to keep her on the show, or they have shifted their allegiance to Anoop. In my opinion, Megan Corkrey became little to Cockey which led to her downfall. She was too convinced of her own musical ability. She attempted to apply her musical style to everything she did rather than modify or adopt a style to fit the music genre being performed. Even though I am from Utah and was fully behind David Archuleta in last season (I even went to the Idol tour concert and a Jazz game to see him sing), I have never felt the same allegiance to Ms. Megan. Maybe it was the overwhelming tatoo on her arm, maybe it was the cockiness, maybe it was bad performance after bad performance; it just never worked for me. So who will be next. I would like to see Scott MacIntyre go. NO, I am not without empathy understanding that he is a blind contestant with the odds stacked against him more than the other contestants. It just comes down to the singing. He doesn't sing as well and never has. Ever week it is the same piece with modified lyrics and melody, crooned from the piano in a lounge singer fashion. This contestant ranks below Taylor Hicks on my list (and Hicks used to be my worst ever American Idol contestant). In fact, I would rather see Sanjaya back on the stage. Again, it is nothing against MacIntyre, it is just that I feel the credibility of the contest (now David get real has there ever been any credibility) is drawn into question when a contestant is shown favoritism week after week because of the desire to use his disability to increase ratings. Well, at this point I have wasted far too much of my life prattling on about a TV show.

A Little Music Humor

Jonathan's piano teacher sent these music jokes. I thought they were good for a chuckle.

A pianist walks into a restaurant for a nice dinner. After placing his order, he starts fidgeting. As the meal progresses his fidgeting increases so the waiter asks if anything is wrong.

The agitated pianist says, "My keys! My keys! I can't find my keys!"


Why is it a bad idea to accept a free piano?

There are always strings attached.


What do you get when you drop a piano in the middle of a battlefield?

A flat major.


What do you hear when you roll over a beehive with a steamroller?