Thursday, February 22, 2018

Denver on Presidents' Day Weekend, Feburary 16-19, 2018

 The drive to Denver.  We left on Thursday afternoon. Mike was done with work by 3 or so, I tried to leave work at three, and by 4:30 we were on the road. Just me, Mike and his Mom. We took our car. Mike would have liked to take his truck, but he would have had to clean it all out. My car was already cleaned out. Plus, after the last winter time trip we took in the truck and Berenice slipped on his running board and hurt her leg, she's been pretty gun shy about getting into that vehicle. We'd planned to stay the night in Grand Junction, Colorado, since that is half-way between Cedar City and Aurora.  Mike and his Mom had just driven up to Salt Lake the day before, so two long days of driving in a row is a bit much.  And you know what? Mike even made the hotel reservations for us online.  I was supposed to do it, but never got around to it. He did it just before we walked out the door. And I think we even remembered to pack and bring everything we were supposed to bring.

We did spend the night in Grand Junction, Colorado. Rodeway Inn. Old, but not bad. And the beds were VERY comfortable. We accidentally left the room way too warm for us to be comfortable, however.   We didn't get up terribly early, but did manage to grab the last of breakfast in the hotel lobby and headed on our way. There was a LOT of wind!  We stopped for lunch at a Burger King in Denver while I tried to figure out my phone and maps, etc. It's always a happy little accident when I get the navigation to work for me.  We went directly to Katie's house and spend the afternoon visiting, watching those crazy babies. My, they are busy ones!  The boys came home from school, Casey was even home from work early. Troy Gardner came by early in the evening to pick up Grandma as she was spending the night at their house. They have a main floor room to accommodate Grandma with minimal stairs, and Katie does not.

Katie fed us all dinner and we mostly watched Winter Olympics on TV during our visiting time. The babies had a wonderful time jumping on the air mattress that we set up for our bed that evening.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the picture/painting that we took to Katie and Casey. She bought it while in Utah this past summer and it's a lovely picture/photo of the St. George Temple, where she and Casey were married.  She's been saving a place over their fire place for it, so she got it hung while we were there and it looks lovely. But there's no picture to show you, Dear Reader. Maybe Katie will send me one. Shoot, it was in my basement all these months on the dresser in the guest room.  I should have taken one then. ;-)

THIS picture, below, is another story.  The top or first apple picture was taken while we were there. It is a painting I gave Katie. I did it in one of my art classes. I am taking a class this semester on  Food and Culture (ANTH 3200) and there was an assignment that I thought I might want to use that painting in, so I asked Katie to please take a photo of it and send it to me. In the one below, you can see the reflection of the tv on in the background, and Katie holding up my phone and taking the photo. She is actually standing on her kitchen counter top!  The ceilings in her whole house are very tall.

 This picture, below, is the one she emailed to me last month.  Can you see the dinosaur eye reflection just over the apples???? That creeped me out for so long.  I kept trying to figure out how it got in there. Thus the duplication of the photography session, above.  I think it's just a reflection of the ceiling can lights.  But that is weird. Either that, or their house is haunted by the ghost of a dinosaur. Possibly a blue-eyed porpoise.  ha.

Friday we just relaxed and Saturday, too.  They have big squirrels that come into their yard. Below is Katie and Corbin looking out the back door at one. Katie has been putting nuts or food out for them. I think she can kiss the garden grow boxes in her backyard goodbye next spring! She's just going to be feeding the squirrels her fresh produce, whatever she plants. ha.

Below is (Lindsey Vonn ion the TV, and) Hailey. She is wearing only a diaper because that child will not keep her clothes on.  Pink cowboy boots and a batman mask.  Perfect fashion statement, don't you think?

And that was about all the photos I took!  We wanted to go do something that day (Saturday), but we just never really got up and going.  Katie and Casey left the kids with us in the afternoon and they took care of some car repair stuff, and went out to lunch together.  I just watched the kids play and watched Mike fall  asleep on the couch while watching sports on TV all day long.  Toward late afternoon, however, we did step it up. I had the boys clean their disgustingly dirty bathroom (it sparkled when they were done!) AND we started getting babies changed and dressed to go out. We had a dinner date at Troy and Ecstacia's house at 6 pm!  They live about 10 to 20 minutes away from Katie and Casey. Casey didn't end up going with us to their house for dinner, and I don't know why. He helped load kids in the car and Mike and I just went in ours since there wouldn't have been room for everyone in one vehicle.  Then Casey just went back in the house and we followed Katie over to Troy's.  Oh well.
Troy had grilled meats and there were salads. We played games, the kids all ran around and played with the two dogs that live there (which didn't make it very pleasant for Berenice staying there as she rather dislikes indoor animals and all the hair they leave behind. She'd only brought black slacks to wear--both dogs are light-haired and very sheddy.).
As soon as we all came home, it was time to get kids into the bath. Katie and Casey got things started and then left me to finish that and they went to the grocery store. I'm sure they don't get to do that very often without kids!  Hayden has rather severe allergies to dogs, so it was imperative to get him out of the dog hair contaminated clothing and right into the shower , and he did.  The next day was Sunday, so everyone else followed. The babies do NOT like to have their hair washed in the tub. At all. Hailey screams.  But they were clean by the time I was done with them, mean ol' Grandma that I am. ha.
Corbin has really itchy skin and required a soothing oatmeal bath, so I had to clean all the bubble bath and soapy stuff from the twins' bath out of the tub before it was Corbin's turn. It think Katie said it is excema or however that is spelled. Poor kid.
Everyone stayed up late, but I was fading fast.
Sunday morning, I made some pancakes for breakfast.  Some people ate them. Chocolate chip and banana ones, too. ;-)  Church was not until 1 pm...the mornings just drag on, don't they? We tried to watch "Freetown," but that didn't go over really well.  Katie had to run in to see the bishop extra early Sunday morning. She has a new calling and is now the secretary in Primary.  With church beginning at 1 pm, that is when twins start to fade and get grumpy, but I think Katie was the most tired in Sacrament meeting. I do believe she would have nodded off if she hadn't been tending to children.
I knew that we (well, Katie and Casey) were hosting Troy's family for Sunday Dinner after Church, but I assumed that it was at 6 pm like we did on Saturday.  Nope. Turns out it was right after church at 4:30. So we did do a lot of meal preparation that morning.  Katie had stuff in the crock pots, I made a salad and peeled potatoes. She made some yummy BBQ ribs. Mmmm.
 We all went to church at 1 pm and stayed for the whole block of meetings. The house smelled really good when we got home. The Gardner's came, we all ate (Grandma was there, too), all the kids were there. Saturday evening at Troy's, only one of their three kids were home.  It was a wild and crazy afternoon/evening with kids running and screaming through the house on Sunday afternoon.  But they were happy and really did play together well for the most part.
We decided, after watching the weather reports, that it would be best for us to leave that evening and get out of town before the snow storm hit the following morning in Denver. So we did.  We quickly packed, said our Goodbyes and followed Troy and Ecstacia and family back to their house to get Grandma's things and then we left.   We'd initially planned to leave early Monday morning and drive the whole way home (10 hours!) to Cedar City.  But you know what?  Leaving Monday morning would have been so much worse. We wouldn't have been able to see anyone because they would have all been asleep. It snowed that day all across Coloradao, so we would have been going much slower.  So it was just better to get on the road Sunday night.  That meant we had to stay another night in a hotel so we just went back to the same one in Grand Junction. There's no way we could do all 10 hours after leaving Denver at 7:30 pm. We knew we'd have to break it up again, and I was glad for that, actually. The Rodeway Inn had a decent price (less than $60 per night) and we knew the beds were comfy. It wasn't snowing when we got up to go Monday morning, so that was good.
But --BOY!-- was it ever windy! Yikes. It about blew us off the road.  There were many clouds and storms were rolling in, but it wasn't snow that we had to drive through until we reached Salina Canyon in Utah, so that was a good thing. AND northern Iron County was kind of snowy and wet . Those were the only areas.  But considering how bad it could have been, we were very pleased. Driving on snowy roads all the way from Denver would have taken way more than the usual 10 hours going the speed limit.  As it was, we were home by about 1:30 pm on Monday and had to shovel about 7 inches of heavy wet snow off of Berenice's driveway that had fallen the previous night and that morning. That was a nice workout for me and Mike after sitting around for a few days. We didn't bother to shovel our driveway when we go to our place.  We just came in, ate lunch, unpacked, and I read some newspapers and took a nap. I was bracing myself for going back to work the next day.  BUT--it's only a four day work week!

Sun on the mesas in the distance in Eastern Utah. It was quite stunning.

Snowy Salina Canyon. Mike followed a big diesel truck down the canyon, so they kind of helped clear the way for us.

Oh, and we listened to a couple of audio books on this trip, too. Going there, we listened to "The Teacher's Funeral."  Coming home, we listened to "Chasing Vermeer." Neither were spectacular, but we enjoyed the first one more.
When we left Cedar City on Thursday afternoon, I had a really bad lower back ache. I'm not really sure what caused it, but it required ibuprofen. I also used the seat heating feature in the car. It's very warm and isn't just the seat bottom, but also was like having a heating pad on my lower back. it was lovely. It felt fine, as long as I didn't move. It didn't start to feel better until Sunday. It's fine now (Thursday the 22nd), but was kind of bad for a couple of days.  I had to be very careful about how I moved or lifted. And even getting in and out of the car was difficult. I think perhaps my too-tight-pants waist band from Thursday at work may have caused part of it, but perhaps it began on Wednesday at Water Aerobics when I did some different wall exercises that may have strained some muscles back there. Ouch. I won't be doing those again any time soon.
It sure was fun to spend time with Katie and her family.  We didn't accomplish anything (except that one clean bathroom and a few loads of laundry folded) like projects, but we did get to read stories and wrestle with and tickle little ones, so that was nice.
Till next time!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Robert O. Sorensen Funeral, Feburary 5, 2018

Cousin Bob passed away January 30, 2018 due to complications following surgery for an anuerism. He was 84 years old.
Above are Ord cousins. Susan Ord is in the center. She made the arrangements for the graveside service. I believe she had one sister there, and three cousins. But I'm really not sure. Bob's mother, our Aunt Blanche, was an Ord.

Cousins on both sides, along with a good friend, were the pall bearers. They did not have an easy time of it, as it was up hill.

I do believe Robert nearly slipped into the grave! Most pall bearers were expecting to set it down and have it roll forward on rollers, but it had none. It was up to them to place it properly and centered, so it required extra lifting and moving. It was not an easy task and some were quite elderly (like 93) !

Me and Robert at the gravesite after the service.

There was not a large crowd of people there, a few cousins from the Ord side with spouses (some of them), one friend, and four of us from the Sorensen side. It was our first time to meet Kim and Cindy Sorensen from Murray, Utah. Kim is Fred Sorensen's son, and Fred is Bob's cousin. That makes Robert Autrey and me second cousins to Kim.

We gathered at the Larkin Sunset Gardens mortuary, Robert Autrey said the family prayer when the casket was closed, then we made our way out to the gravesite.  The service was short. Susan shared a few remarks. I wasn't aware that Bob was visiting both sides of his family when he traveled to California as a youngster, but he also had Ord cousins there and he and Susan were quite close as youngsters and renewed that friendship and relationship when she moved to Salt Lake in the 90's (I believe that's when she said). He helped her with her yard. I also never knew that Bob was a member of the Iris Society and was a judge. He was very good at what he did and excelled in growing prize iris flowers.  I wish I would have known earlier! I shared a few thoughts about what a great friend and mentor he was to our cousin, Christine, in California, with a lively correspondence, thoughtful letters, kind wishes and cute articles about animals that Bob knew Christine's child would enjoy. He was very thoughtful of both of them and always remembered their special occasions. He was loved and will be missed.
After the pall-bearers left their carnations on the casket, Kim Sorensen gave the dedicatory prayer for the gravesite.  We all made our way back to the Mortuary once more.  Susan had made a lovely display in the viewing room (and Bob looked very good, by the way), of many of his photos and family history items.  She had them mostly divided between Ord and Sorensen, with some "unknown" in the middle. We had all been instructed to help ourselves to whatever we wanted, as she wanted to take none of it back home. I took a few of the items shown below.

Bob's good friend (whose name escapes me) took this lovely watercolor painting of irises.

Above is a floral arrangement "From the Sorensen Cousins." I believe those were the only flowers there. I did leave a nice pot of white mums on his gravesite. (I wish I would have known how much he adored irises! Not that I could have found any around at this time of year.)
In the viewing room with one small table. The other tables were larger, and there were easels with framed photos and paintings, as well.

At the Cemetery. It was a small group.

A leather belt with silver buckle. Inlaid turquoise and coral-color stones. It's about a size 31 inch waist. The buckle is 3 inches long by 1 3/4 inches wide. I don't know where it came from, but I can surmise it was a purchase from a trip to Utah/Arizona. He had a number of framed photos he'd taken (I would assume) of Lake Powel and other red-rock areas of Southern Utah. I did not take any of those. One looked just like one I have on my bedroom wall of Rainbow Arch. It was just as faded as mine. ha.

These are small embroidered linen items.  From small "coaster" size, to napkin, to place mat? I'm not really sure, but I thought they were cute. I'm pretty confident that Bob did not do them, but I am fairly sure that possibly his mother did, or maybe an auntie on the Sorensen side. You never know.  But nobody else seemed interested in taking them, so I did. I have some other linens that my mother gave to me that they will go nicely with. (Not matching, but that they are old family things that are "keepers.")

This is a large framed photo of the Mendon, Utah house with lots of people out front that need identifying. I have many photos that need identifying.

I have a small stack of letters from 1900 to and from Peter A Sorensen to his family in Mendon whe he was on a mission in Norway.  Kim and Cindy Sorensen have the other half of this old stack of letters. I think it is important that they ALL be scanned and preserved digitally and shared among the family. I will work on contacting them and making sure they do, too.

Here is the front cover of his funeral program

Inside the front cover


Back cover

And this is a really fun photo I found of both of my grandparents, Aunt Maureen, my Mom, Aunt Tuny and Cousin Fred. I'd assumed it was Bob, but Mom had an excellent family history story to share with me immediately when I scanned and shared it with her:

Oh my goodness! I’ll never forget that day we spent on that pier at Saltaire. What a fun day. Fred and I took the last ride on the big roller coaster before it was shut down because of the high wind. I’d never ridden a roller coaster before and have never ridden one since. it was so scary and Fred’s sailor hat blew off and he never found it. We had so much fun with our cousins every summer.

I also brought  home this teeny little foot stool. It has lovely dainty crewell  embroidery on the top. I thought it might be a nice addition to the Sorensen Family Guest room at my home. Unless someone else in the family really wants it. I'd be more than pleased to let it go to a good home.

Rest in peace, Bob. I'm sure you are having a lovely reunion with family and friends. Give Aunt Maureen, Uncle Owen,  and my grandparents a hug from me, OK?

Here are a few more photos.
A photo of my Grandpa Virgil Philip Sorensen I found. That was a happy little surprise! "Salt Lake City, July 15, 1947" is typed on he back. (Yes, typed!)

This is Aunt Maureen an her Henry J. October 1950. Sorry it's so dark. I have the original and will scan it properly. Soon. I hope. Aunt Maureen sent it to Bob. I recognize her handwriting on the back. :-)
And this was another fun little find.  Maureen and Goldy horsing around. Salt Lake, 1946.
You can tell they didn't grow up around guns. That is the first rule of gun safety we westerners teach our wee ones--never point a gun at a person, even a toy one. But I don't think it works with kids who grew up using their imaginations and playing cowboys and indians, cops and robbers.

Cousin Bob and Aunt Maureen

Please let me know if you would like any of these photos.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Desert Property

Once upon a time, when we lived in Las Vegas and Mike worked for Exchange Enterprises, we acquired some desert property.  What we have left is 15 acres (we started with 25, but lost 10 acres due to non-payment of taxes).  The fact that the taxes back then were less than $20 per parcel per year tells volumes of our level of poverty at that particular time.  But we still own these two small tracts of desert land nearby Yucca, Arizona. 

We've never, ever seen this land before yesterday.  We have owned it for over 30 years. We've paid taxes on it for over 30 years.  In the beginning, the taxes were, like I said, about $20 to $25 per year for all 15 acres.  In recent years it has grown to be over $100 per year for the 15 acres, so I decided it was time to get rid of it. It is doing us no good whatsoever.  Well, except costing money and we tend to have plenty of write-offs, thank-you-very-much.

The desert is, shall we say, and acquired taste.  I've been something of desert person for quite a while now. I don't like the dry skin it brings, but there are many parts of the desert that I do love.  I love the variety of plants.  It might not seem like there is much of a variety, but there is.  I'm guessing on many of these names, but I'll give it a shot.

Above, the tall spindley thing seen between the barbed - wire fence is maybe a type of ocotillo.  In Las Vegas, on some parts of the freeway where they have sculptures, and on Tropicana Avenue by McCarran International Airport, I believe they have created some replicas of these plants in bloom.  Now, they are not in bloom in the desert, but they were growing in a lot of areas.  No leaves, just spines. Their blooms are red and only at the tips of the their tall stems. I think they look like bird beaks on the sculptures.

Saguaro have big, waving arms. Or they could be making other expressions besides "waving" at you, but that is the most common. Some of the waves are quite enthusiastic, if many arms are involved!

There is a wire fence to the left, a "road" to the right, and a mountain straight ahead.  We think this is where one 10-acre plot is, down the "road" and to the right.  But we can't tell for sure. On our map, there are street names. In real life, there are few streets, much less any "names" or street signs.  There are some, but they are few and far between.  

Four -Wheeling through the desert. In our new car. :-\

I zoomed in on this view. I love it.  It is what we sing about on patriotic holidays-- Is this not "purple mountain majesty" or what? It is a gorgeous view from our 5 acre plot.  We picked up a lady who was hitch hiking back to her home on a parcel close to ours.  After we dropped Susan off, we walked around on our parcel down the street and around the corner.  This was one of the vistas.  They are magnificent. But, an acquired taste, like I said.

I believe this is a type of cholla cactus.  It is bearing some yellow fruit.  We thought they were blooms, but there are no petals, just this immature fruit. No, I did not touch or taste it. Just took photos.  But these particular plants in this area were very prolific and seem healthy, lending a slight green tint to the entire side of the mountain where they lived.
This is a view of one ATV trail we drove down.  Our car is SOOOOooo dusty after all this. I drove around Las Vegas the next morning trying to find a driver-operated car wash (the kind where you get out and squirt it with a hose) and could find only highly - automated ones that kind of scared me, so I backed away.  I tried our semi-automated car wash in Cedar once and our car is so small, it missed a lot of stuff and I was sorely disappointed and felt it was a waste of money since I'd had to re-do a lot of it. I'd rather just do it myself, but it's too dang cold at home.

That is the sign indicating that this is an All-Terrain-Vehicle trail. We hope we might be able to match that up with some  other maps and clue in to where the parcel of 10 acre really is.  It's just off of Boriana Mine Road.  Just before "Foothill Road" cross street, but we could never find that street marked anywhere.  We found a private ranch and drove on their private property for a bit, though. They had some cool antique farming/ranching equipment decorating their property. But, since we were technically trespassing at that point, I did not stop to take photos. 

This is a close up of the base of a ocotillo cactus. They are very spiny!

And there were plenty of other spiny things around.  While we walked around, we never saw much indication of any wildlife, though. Just ants and lots of mice/rodent holes. We never even saw or heard a rattlesnake!

More spiny things.  Prickly pear, I believe. Lots of rocks, too.

Below is the shot of the hillside. In real life, it does have a green-ish hue to it, due to all the cholla cacti growing. I imagine it would be quite pretty if they all bloomed at the same time.

Here is an area with stands of Saguaro cactus.  They seem to be trying to stand as straight and tall as the power poles are standing!  There is power in the area of one of our lots, but no power to the other one. Power is good.  NEITHER of them have water!  Can you imagine having to haul water (or have it delivered) for all your needs?  I suppose there is the option of drilling a well. Perhaps it is too expensive. Susan used solar panels in her place. She has a trailer and a motor home, a shed a cute little rocke-lined walk-ways and paths around the shrubs on her property. She cooks with propane and loves the isolation and quiet-ness of the area.  People are out there, but they are spread out far and wide usually.

But look at that gorgeous blue sky!  The rugged peaks. It is stunning.

More rugged peaks and rocks. And cactus spread over the hop (not than anyone can actually "spread" a cactus---ouch! ) Again, it is just stunning if  you take the time to drink it in, enjoy the pure clean air.  Yucca, Arizona is about 25 miles south of Kingman, Arizona, and that's a couple of hours south of Las Vegas. Not too isolated, really.

I spy a house on a hill.  They really have a good vantage point, but we surmised it was deserted. The doors appeared to be all open, and the windows, too. 

Boriana Mine road is wide and sandy, alternating with rough and rocky.

Even the rocks are kind of pretty. Sparkly quartz-type stuff.

The next few are just a "panoramic" view of the area while standing on the 5 acre plot.

Joshua trees, sage brush.

Close by, in Yucca, is the Chrystler automotive proving grounds.  There is a big BIG track and some other things. I do wonder if one would be able to hear cars racing around occasionally as they are tested and "proved."  This 5 acre parcel is within a couple of miles of the grounds.

More mountain views.

And mountain views with Joshua trees.

We spent a lot of Monday driving around the area, walking across dry, arid land, enjoying the solitude and beauty of the desert.  We explored dirt trails, enjoyed a picnic lunch and each other's company.  I'm glad we finally got to see this place. I hope we can sell it to someone who will enjoy it.  Pipe dream?  Maybe. But we're going to try.  Some of the homes out there were fairly nice-looking.  I mean, if you could afford to dig a water well and like to live "of-grid," or really close to it, this could be ideal.

For the rest of the day, we just drove back to Vegas, got checked in to our hotel room and then went to "The Linq" and ate at Yard House restaurant. It was good. Mike had "Vampire" tacos.  I had Maui chicken.  I have no idea why they are called "Vampire" tacos. It was a sports bar and so noisy.   I loved the chicken. It came with skewers of grilled pineapple.  My only bad thing was I choked on some pineapple juice on one bite and it went down the wrong pipe. Ouch.  I coughed a lot during dinner. ugh. Oh, we also had a California Roll for an appetizer which was interesting. It was really a stack of the ingredients instead of a roll all sliced up.  The nori was little shredded stuff in the inside and it was all piled on top of a rice patty.  Different, but very tasty. We were pretty hungry since our picnic was kind of puny and we are an hour later than Vegas time. 

Then we came back to our room and played games and watched TV. We are so exciting. Remember--what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! :-)