Saturday, February 28, 2015

Busy February weeks!

We comment to one another (Mike and I) how this quaint little University town has PLENTY to do, and folks who say "There's nothin' todo in this podunk town" are crazy.

This was kind of what our last week was like:

On Monday after work, Mike was pretty tired after shoveling. I was getting over being kind of sick and staying home sleeping for the past 24 hours, so we just had Family Home Evening by reading some articles, then we played dominoes at the kitchen table for a couple of hours almost.  And ate ice cream.  But we could have gone out to a play.

Tuesday, I dragged through the day and was exhausted. But after dinner we went to Cedar City Music Arts. It was the Glen Miller Orchestra. They were so good.  We really enjoyed it a lot. It was good that I just had to sit and listen, because, quite frankly, that's all I had the energy for.
Image result for glenn miller orchestra

Wednesday, Mike and LeGrand Lyman drove to Salt Lake City and back to get knee treatments.

I went to the gym to meet with the students who are using me as their guinea pig. Only they weren't there, so I just walked/ran around the indoor track and came home.
Image result for SUU indoor track

Thursday night, Mike and I attended an evening Convocation presentation by the authors of "Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons" or Sistas in Zion. They were very enjoyable and we bought their book and had them sign it. There were about five other events on campus that night--basket ball game, a play, another club play, Art Insights, The Polynesian Review, exhibits,...yeah, you get the point.
Image result for sistas in zion

Friday we decided to attend "Fiddler on the Roof."  Great production.  The Polynesian Club review (it's a show) is still going on, there's still more athletic events, and and and.  We have to choose and sometimes we are just plum wore out and choose to stay home! Whew.
Image result for suu fiddler on the roof
Photo by Asher Swan

The week previous I attended three other presentations, two within my work day and one outside of it. I learned about Community Banks from our local State Bank CEO (who also happens to be in our ward and is our Stake President. I sat with his wife during his presentation.), and I listened to a Life Coach talk about finding Joy at Work.  AND I went to hear our former Stake President and another current Judge (in my stake) speak about same sex marriage. Although, they really didn't end up speaking much about that since it's still under consideration by the Supreme Court, so they are not  allowed to speak or give opinions.  I learned more about the workings of the courts, etc.

And I had a fun birthday dinner celebration my dear friend Cindy Williams and her other friends last Saturday. It's been a very full couple of weeks. I've even had a mammogram, attended a workshop on a Saturday morning about Copyright (interesting and work-related), went to Water Aerobics one or two nights in February, went to Book Club, out to eat with my hubby for Valentine's Day, took some friends and family to see "The King and I" at the Heritage Theater [Cedar Valley Musical Theater production and very well done--some ward members were in it], have been assessed outside of work hours by some students in an upper division PE class called "Exercise Prescription," and they are prescribing me a program to help whip me into shape. Or at least improve some things. Or kill me. Last night was the first 'prescription' workout and, oh. my. goodness. I think that's why my back is sore.....  Oh, and I went visiting teaching (sort of--no appointments and no partner, but I did drop by and say "hi" to make sure they were still around and not ill or anything). 

So, if you mix in a forty-hour work week, meal preparation, a little exercise, --Oh, and sleep. Don't forget the sleep!-- there are just not enough hours in the day.  At least, not for EVERYTHING.  But we manage to make time for SOME things.

I'm off to do laundry and lesson prep for tomorrow's Primary Class.  And later I'll give Mike a hair cut.  And do some mending....

Or perhaps I'll just have a nap.
Image result for cat napping in sunshine Me, in the afternoon on Tuesday after the sun came out and the storms had stopped and I was just SOooooo tired...

photo essay on February snows

Last Sunday, on February 22, we had a heavy snowfall. It continued on into Monday. We got 14 inches! (see a previous post).
The rest of the week was fairly warm-ish, a lot melted, the streets were clear. I rode my bike to work and back.

This morning, Saturday February 28, it began again.  It's not even noon yet and we have about a foot of fresh, new snow. It is heavy and wet--according to the report of the shoveler. Not me. I have a sore back and am staying in today.
Can you see how deeply it has piled on the branches of our apple tree in the back yard?  I usually use our back fence to gauge snow depth. As it piles up on the upper horizontal board, I can generally tell how deep it is. If it's over the top of the fence boards, then it's close to a foot. If you zoom in above, you can see that some areas are ABOVE the top of the fence. I can only guess that the other areas have blown off , or perhaps the power lines above dropped chunks onto the fence and heightened the depth.

Above is the view outside the window over my bed. At 6 am when I peeked out, there was just a skiff. At 7 am, there was close to an inch. Those are big blocks on that block wall, so it's really piling up.
Ah, but it's lovely. I just smile every time I look out the window and see this. I think it is spectacularly beautiful and I love seeing it.  We live in a desert, we need the water, we've been in a drought for quite some time, so, yes. We need it. But it's so PRETTY!  The flakes are so perfect. I love looking at them close up and seeing the chrystals, so perfect and divinely designed. If I didn't have such a sore back, I'd go out there and make a snow angel--just because.  One time, I went to my friend's house after a storm like this and made one on her front lawn that she'd be able to see from her upstairs bedroom window.  Just to say "Hi, Friend!  Thinking of you!" ;-)  Because, you  know, that's what snow angels do.

The other part of Snow Days that I like are:  Indoor heat.  Comfortable, clean, from natural gas, warm air flowing through ducts all over my house just to make me comfortable ( I guess I could have picked up the rubber band from off the floor before snapping the photo!)  Oooh, heat.  Clean, affordable heat. Makes me smile. Haven't you felt so sorry for those who DON'T have that on days like this.  Sometimes we think that they only lived in days of yore, but they're out there now and I feel badly for them.
And I have a backup plan in case the above one doesn't work.  But, even though our "tiki god" wood burning stove is a nice thing to have, he sits in his nook, cold and glaring. Maybe even a bit jealous over his dis-use.  We even have some wood outside. Under a foot of snow.  But if we needed it, it could be brought inside and dried out for part of the day and then burned --for heat OR cooking (if you're adventurous).  So, sleep peacefully, little guy. We're glad you are there for us if we need you.
Looking out the front door, we can see that the neighbors are all tucked inside their homes, too.  When it lets up, they'll come out and start shoveling theirs and one another's walks and drive ways because they are nice neighbors and that is what they do.
Under the very deep eaves of our house is a HYACINTH that has BUDS on it!  It will be in full bloom pretty soon. Maybe even while the snow is still on the ground.

But, for now, it is just snowing. And snowing. And SNOWING!  And I'm loving every minute of it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We finally have some winter snow! It has been so warm and sunny. It's been nice, but not normal. Mike got a workout while shoveling drives and walks. He left during Sunday school and did his Mom's, Sister Schmutz's  (he home teaches her), and ours. When he picked me up after Primary, I commented that his truck heater never even got warm, all the drive home (granted, it IS a short drive, but he had been out and about already). It was still blowing cold air on me. Brrrr.  Well, he pointed out that the knob was not even turn up to hot. He was roasting from all the hard shoveling. I shivered all the way home. Ha. Teaching for year olds  may be hard, but it's not a physical workout like shoveling snow is.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

No Foodie Story from Las Vegas :-(

Seriously, we spent the better part of a week in Las Vegas and didn't eat out once, so I have no foodie story to share from our time there.  Isn't that amazing?

Actually, the steaks we grilled while there WERE amazing.  You do realize, don't you, that steaks cost just about the same as hamburger does these days?  Incredible.

Our friends we had over for dinner (Kim and Terri Hunter on Monday; Don and Keala Cupp on Thursday) brought dessert when they came on Monday [cheesecake] and Thursday [Marie Calendar banana cream pie].  I had brought some left over Apple Crisp from home and tried crisping that up in the oven for dessert on Wednesday. Nyah. Didn't work. T'was more like "apple soggy."

So I had a week of eating a LOT of food, very little activity and exercise.  And I'd rather not talk about how much weight gain that caused.

Oink.  Even without a foodie story  :-)

Hawaii Trip, 2014-15

Above is the last flower from the lovely spray of orchids and anthurium I brought back from the Big Island.  It's been over a month.
I sould probably tell a few more details of what we did, so here are some photos and a little more narrative, in very random order.

 Blue skies, warm weather and pretty flowers.  And ORIGINAL organge trees (above, but on the right) planted by the plantation owners. Berenice commented every time we drove past this home on the road, "There's the Schattauer's home. I can always tell by the orange trees."  And we could see the large organges from the road.

 Above:  Margaret Schatteur (sp) with Berenice.  John and Berenice enjoyed staying at this plantation home a time or two on visits in the past. She is a gracious lady, failing in health, but still in her lovely home.
 The breakers and the water and the ROCKS  by Kailua-Kona town on the Big Island. There are not really very many swimming beaches with white sand.  But the people swim in the rocks and waves. It's quite striking, warm and lovely.
 These (above) are steps leading down to the water.  We didn't go in here. We were waiting for our place to be available and just killing time, enjoying the scenery, etc.

 Below:  Once we were able to get into our rental place, we enjoyed a lot of fresh fruits and juices of all kinds. We'd stopped at the Farmer's Market and got some, but our hostess, Kay, also provided us with quite a lot from her yard, AND her baked goods from her booth at the Market.  Mike and I picked a few things from the rental yard, as well. Yummy.

The Carls' live in a coffee shack on the side of a mountain.  Michael Carls wasn't home at the time we dropped in on Joanna, but we found him home at a later time. It honestly took us two days of driving up and down and up and down this road to find their place.  Below is the view from their living room window.  Joanna is a gracious woman. She had me help her make some lemonade to server to us all.  She and Michael have mostly been living in Washington state, they grow organic honey, among other things.  She sent us home with a jar of honey.  Both of their homes are off the grid. This one is quite primitive.

Above:  One day the four of us went out for Chinese food for lunch. 
We are always enjoying the seasonal flowers. People (some of them) think that Hawaii is just always full of all kinds of flowers.  Not true. They do have seasons. This was the season for Poinsettias (above) and African Tulip trees.  But not plumeria.  Those trees were mostly bare.

One evening near the beginning of our trip, me, Mike and Gayela walked past the five to seven houses between us and the beach.  We stayed to watch the sun set. The cute little puppy above came to join us. There were lots of kayaks at the beach I could have rented and paddled across the bay...that is, if I could get someone to come with me.  But I couldn't, so I just drooled over them.  someday.
And I experimented with the "sunset" setting on my camera, the zoom, etc.  it was a lovely evening and I didn't even get eaten up my mosquitos!  Ever--the whole trip!  only 5 total.

Below is another view of our cute little 2nd story cottage we stayed in.  Kona Kay's Vacation Rental. It was quite comfy and adequate. We didn't think so when we first walked in and it felt to be about 95 degrees F. Yikes. I thought we'd be living in hell for the next week!~!  Ugh. But fans and the cooler evening temps helped a lot. Mostly the fans.
Notice the plumeria flowers on the table--that's all I could find in the neighborhood!  And bananas from   the Market and oranges/tangerines/lemons from the trees in the yard.  and that's Mike;-)

These are just some pretty bouganvilla flowers on a hedge by Walmart.
One day we went to the Honoka'a area and met the Veloria's and Cheryl.  Brother Veloria was selling refreshments to passers-by for a Scout fund raiser, and they were doing it in the front yard of Cheryl Sproat. Cheryl was the first person that John and Berenice baptised on their mission and Brother Veloria was the bishop of that first ward they served in.  Delightful people, all.
Cheryl's home is located at the end of the road by Po'olu point or road or something. I cannot read the sign. It used to be quiet, end-of-the-road silence, solitude and serenity. Not so anymore. It's a peak tourist attraction, dozens of cars lining both sides of the road up to a mile back, people passing by non-stop.  Cheryl and Clyde (deceased) built another home, up higher and away from the hubbub a few years ago.
There is a black sand beach and that is the hikers' destination. We could see them swimming Waaaay down there.  The valley with the stream that empties into the ocean here is now off limits to people.  They still hike down 45 minutes to the water.  If I had been wearing more appropriate clothing, I would have hiked down and up this day.
But, alas, I was wearing brand new white capri pants and some flip flops. Next time, right? [ old am I now?!  NEXT time?!  sheesh.  Maybe next life.]
Berenice and Cheryl

Brother Veloria recruited Mike (also in shorts and sandals!) to use a very dangerous-looking saw-on-a-stick to cut down a shrubby tree that was blocking some signage.  This was no weed-whacker!  There were solid sharp spinning blades on that thing!
Years ago, Brother Veloria (he's a Tahitian) was a very large man. So large, he could only weigh on commercial scales on a farm!!  However, health issues have prevailed, he's had knees replaced and now cares for himself much better.  He is married to Audrey, a very beautiful Hawaiian woman who played the ukulele and sang for us while we visited. She also brought lunch for us to enjoy.
While sitting at the "booth" and sometimes helping, we noted that a lot of the people (well, we spoke with at least 4 groups) were from New Jersey.  Here's one random lady they serenaded. She was showing us that SHE had Don Ho's "Tiny Bubbles" on her phone's play list.
Just to the left of this coconut palm tree is another shorter palm tree that was planted about 7 years ago in honor of John Liebhardt.  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get it in the picture.  We just stopped by the Veloria's home to say hi to their daughter, Reena, before heading back down to Kailua-Kona.

The view from my bedroom window. I spent a day in bed, getting over a cold/cough.
Another food picture. Because I like food.  ESPECIALLY these wonderful papayas and fresh-squeezed juices.

The photo above is a zoomed-in shot of the Captain Cook monument which is right across the bay from where we were staying--Kealakekua Bay, to be exact. The same place that has the "Little Grass Shack" made famous in the song.  It's zoomed in from the shot below.  The entire bay is a marine sanctuary and dolphins play here. Lots of pretty fish to see if you snorkel. Unfortunately, the snorkel trip Gayela and I planned to do was canceled because of high winds and rough surf.  Mike fished in that weather on Wednesday and very nearly got sick from it!

Above: Mike and I walked around the block one day.  A whole little neigborhood is squeezed in between Kay's house, the lava beds and the bay.  This donkey was part of the interesting scenery.  There is everything from squatters to mansions.  and everything in between.
Beehive signs.  The drive to Kay's Vacation Rental is a wild "Mr. Toad's  Wild Ride" kind of drive down the side of the mountain through coffee fields, other stuff, steep hillsides, a coffee sorting manufacture place, this bee and honey museum, vacation rentals, a plumeria farm.  And a lot of winding road. I recorded it on my tabled and it's dizzying. We did it every day, twice a day at least.
These two fellows, Mike Crouch and Doug Barton, were missionaries at the same time as John and Berenice in Hawaii. They've stayed in touch all these years.  I think one of the Crouch girls grew up and married one of the Barton boys, or vice versa.  They remain very close (they have to--they're related! ha).  We only found out while there that Doug's wife had just passed away in November from cancer.  She was a sister to another dear Hawaiin family that we usually tried to see, but no longer live on Hawaii.  The kids do, though.  We didn't have time to find EVERYone we wanted to.
One day we attended the temple. We did some family sealings, the Veloria's were there, and so were our friends, Roy and Mickey Bauer!  They live in Hilo.  We enjoyed seeing them, and then we all went to Jack-in-the-Box for lunch afterwards and visited.  It was fun to catch up on all their kids.  Roy and Mickey recently returned from serving a mission for 18 months in Turkey/Istanbul.
Later that day, we drove to Hilo to find the Wagner's. Another fine family that John and Berenice taught.  We had a nice visit with them, they fed us another huge meal. And (above) there was a rainbow on the way to their house as we crossed over the mountains.
Below is our hostess, Kay Johnson Nelson.  One other major activity that I didn't record on film was the luau that we attended at the Nakamoto's farm on New Year's Eve.  It was a lot of fun.
And that concludes our Week in Hawaii.  December 26, 2014 through January 3, 2015.