Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents' Day Weekend

True to tradition, we had our usual family guests for the long weekend. Robert and Janet and girls joined us. We always love having them come for the holiday. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without Abe. It IS his birthday, after all! We snapped this picture of most of us. Games, family, food and ABE! What could be better?

You might remember that last year we went snow shoeing in the mountains to a YURT. See
This year, we opted to head south and do some red-rock area hiking. And, boy, did we hike! We were heading for "Elephant Arch" in Washington County. We hiked along a road for quite some time. Then we hiked in a supposedly "dry" stream bed. It was not dry. But we discovered the source of the water after a bit--a well being drilled for the city water supply. They just had some of the water going down the stream. I didn't think to take a photo of the drilling rig. We climbed some rocks, walked over hills, and found the arch! Nick was nice enough to be our scout on occasion to see if we really WERE headed in the right direction. I thought my map was good, but it was a little hard to follow. Well, especially if it's ME reading it!! ha. (I went the wrong way first.) Robert reminded me that maps were his livelihood after all. And yes, he was right.

Click on the picture above this. It's Nick and Caroline waving at me and Robert. The kids are up by the "elephant's" trunk. They climbed further along with Sarah and Amanda and ended up on the Elephant's head and back. Scarey! Rob and I stayed and took pictures of them. We seem to do that a lot. ;-)

Interesting rock formations from erosion. We were still hiking in the stream bed at this point.

The sign/trail marker by Caroline says "Bone Wash" and I suppose it is mostly dry as a bone. There'd been rain and we could see the splash marks in the pristine sand. We also saw animal tracks. And the sand was so fine you could read fine print on the bottom of shoes in the foot prints left behind! ("Size 10 1/2 Adidas" for example, from the people ahead of us!)
Yes, we hiked and hiked and hiked. Turns out it was over 6 miles round trip! That was way more than we were planning to do and we were kind of tuckered out . Next years' hike is already picked out and being planned by Robert. I'm sure it will be shorter. ha. We like to see petroglyphs and he really wants to see the cinder cones down by Gunlock and Ivins. I don't know why he's so interested in cinder cones, but I'm looking forward to it.

Here we are at the beginning of the hike. Had this gate been opened, we would have had a much shorter hike! Caroline was such a good trooper to go all that way with no complaints. Even Robert wasn't feeling all that super (head cold), but we all persevered and enjoyed it in the end. At least, I THINK we all did. (enjoy it)

As we were heading down to Washington county, I noted that there are a LOT of hikes we've been on down that way! "Oh, there's another place we've gone!" "Remember that trail head down there?" "Isn't that the area we hiked a couple of times?" Yeah, it must be a favorite. I think we've only done snow activities a couple of times. Robert, Me, Caroline (8), Mandy and Sarah all went. Oh, and Nick. We picked him up down there in St. George/Washington. He had been at the temple with a friend, but they dropped him off at Walmart and we got him there. Seems Nick remembered to bring his play pants, shirt and socks, but forgot his tennis shoes for hiking. I found him in Walmart wearing his shorts and t-shirt, white socks and DRESS SHOES! I just had to snap a picture of him. It was on his phone, however. You'll have to ask him to send it to you if you are interested in seeing that lovely shot. Apparently, there is some website out there for posting photos of "People of Walmart." Yes, he fit right in. But now he loves his new hiking sandals. ;-)

The rest of the weekend was filled with playing games and eating. Games and eating, games and eating. We did take time out to go to church on Sunday. Monday we played MORE games and Rob's family left around 4 pm so they could be home before too late. About an hour after they left, my cousin Ken from California stopped by with his wife and son. We had nice little visit with them for a bit. Also, Seth's parents stopped by for a 30 minute visit...then Mike had ALL SEVEN of his Boys Scout troop come in for Cake and Ice Cream after they took down the American Flags from around our ward. It was a busy couple of hours! I tended Caroline and Jonathan, Gail and Seth went to the Music Arts presentation at the Heritage Theater on Monday night, too. That was Seth's first opera ever. He said, "It was pretty good. I yawned a lot, but I didn't nod off."! I think that is one way to judge an opera, Yes? Why not? ha.

And the pictures are not in order. sorry. Nice long hike. We survived, it was a lovely day in Washington County (60 degrees !) and we had lunch at Costco after we were done hiking. I really wanted to see their swim suits there because mine is shot. I actually got one, so the trip was a success! Hiking, visiting, eating and shopping in one fell swoop! Doesn't get better than that, folks. Hope your weekend was nice, too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vonetta Flowers

Who is Vonetta Flowers, you might ask? She was the first athlete of African decent to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics. She did this in the sport of Bobsledding in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Vonetta was the Convocation speaker for SUU on Tuesday this week. It is February, Black History Month, and one of the professors in our PE department had a connection with Vonetta, so the invite was made and she came. It was no easy task to get her here, either. She was in Vancouver BC serving as a Presidential Ambassador for the Winter Olympics. She had her 7 month old baby there with her and the grandma to help tend. Her husband and twins were in Florida. She left Vancouver to come to Cedar City on Monday afternoon/evening, but a flight was missed, a connection missed and she ended up spending the night in Las Vegas ("What Happens in Vegas!"). She was functioning on only 3 hours sleep by the time she finally got to Cedar in time for an 11:30 am presentation. Her presentation was wonderful. Afterwards, she ate lunch with the fine folks in the PE department. I joined them there at 1 p.m. We took pictures. I might have one to post some day. And then...

I got to drive Vonetta back to Las Vegas to catch her flight to Vancouver! We enjoyed our rainy drive down the good ol' I-15, through torrential rain through the desert. We chatted about her family, about bob-sledding, work, speeches, travel (nursing babies, storing frozen milk), surgeries she's had. She got in a little cat-nap. I got her to the airport in plenty of time. Then I turned around and drove back home to Cedar City through more rain. Rain and Darkness through the Virgin River Gorge. That's always exciting.

Any other person might have thought, "Oooh! Vegas! Free time! Shopping!" But I apparently am not a normal person. Couldn't think of a thing I needed. I WANTED some Krispy Kreme donuts, but didn't need them, so I didn't even stop there on the way home. Yeah, well. I didn't have my KK punch card with me, either. To the airport, then home. How boring is that? All my friends and family down that way live way off the beaten path, so I didn't even stop to do that.

Anyway, it was an interesting outing that I thoroughly enjoyed. She's a delightful lady. I'm glad we had the chance to visit.

Relief Society

I love Relief Society. Always have, since becoming a member at the ripe old age of 18. Actually 17 since I was graduated from high school and had left home by then.

This past Sunday we had a nice treat in our regular Sunday meeting of the ladies in our ward. Our RS president, Jackie, is a good friend of mine. She used to be one of my "Walkie-Talkie" buddies, and she's been my visiting teacher. Just an all-around good friend. It was her turn to teach the lesson on Sunday, so she shared with us a little tidbit about each of us is a part of the "Whole" of Relief Society and our ward. We did a little exercise and saw what we could discover about a painting just by looking at the subject and what that inferred to us. (Happiness, satisfaction, simplicity, joy, etc.) It set a nice tone. And then she did something that might not work in every ward, but it worked very well in ours. And she was very brave to do this. She had us go around the room and tell what we knew about the sister sitting right next to us. What were her talents and strengths that we knew of? What did we know GOOD about this sister? And everyone DID know good things! If the one sitting next to someone didn't know much, others chimed in. We knew we only had about 30 seconds to say what we needed to, and we did get all the way around the room. We have a back row of "classy" older women in our ward. They've been back there forever, but are full of wit and wisdom. We have younger sisters with young families who have known each other since Kindergarten!! Same neighborhood all those years. We have mothers and daughters, friends and neighbors, good friends, old friends, new friends. It was really fun and what I would call a "Feel Good" time.

We all need to remember to focus on positive things more often, especially about others. And doesn't it feel good when someone notices that we really are good at " fill-in-the-blank."? So smile and say something nice about the sister sitting next to YOU!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Giddy With Glee

A friend suggested that title and it fits. That's the way I feel ALMOST every day on my way home, or just randomly thinking about going home after a long day at work. Then after work comes water aerobics (not for wusses) AND the bike ride home, uphill, against the wind, in the snow...okay, so I'm milking it just a tad. But I really don't get home from work until about 6:30 pm.

It's what I FIND once I get home that makes me giddy with glee...

Dinner! All ready and usually on the table and ready to eat! A delicious, nutritious, home-cooked meal. Gail has been doing the week night cooking and I have just LOVED it! I can't even describe how happy this arrangement makes me. (Well, except maybe "Giddy with Glee!")

It's not that I don't like to cook. I do. And I can. It's just that she's here and she offered. So I took her up on it. The good part for HER is that I clean it all up afterwards and load the dishwasher, etc. And that's just fine with me. I suppose there will be some days when a crabby baby will trump getting dinner on the table, but for the nights that it has happened, it's been great.

She makes economical meals, too. And she uses up our bounteous food storage. And she shops. If you know how much I hate to shop, then you'll appreciate THAT, too! Of course, I watch the baby so she can go late at night and not take ANYONE with her, so that's a treat for her, too.

We've had MahiMahi; Bacon, Leek and Tomato pasta; Chicken Fingers; spaghetti with meatballs; roast with trimmings and many other yummy things. She likes Paula Deen recipes and likes to try new ones. She's also working in a kitchen that's not her own kitchen with stuff that isn't up to par with what she's used to, but that GAIL--She's up to the challenge, I'm tellin' you! Of course, it's not like it 's a totally strange kitchen or anything. She did learn to cook SOME things here once upon a time.

I think this might just work out fine.