Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oregon Trip

Early Tuesday morning, July 29th, we left St George to head for cooler climes. Cindy's parents are spending the summer in Bandon, Oregon, and we were headed to join them for the rest of the week. Fortunately, the first week of July, SkyWest began a United Express flight to North Bend (Coos Bay) which is just 16 miles from Bandon so we headed off to LA, then San Francisco, then to North Bend getting there just before 1 PM where mom and dad met us. The first stop after arriving in Bandon was to drop our stuff at a quaint road motel. We loved the flowers. Then it was to old town Bandon to sample some great clam chowder.

Cindy has a very artistic eye with the camera and this shot had to be included to share her talent. Click on the picture to see a larger image that does it a little more justice than the smaller version you see.

Mom had prepared a list of things to see and do in the coast area and Wednesday morning we had breakfast at their motor home and then headed out to see the sites. The first stop was a real surprise as we went to an animal park that turned out to be really great. They had a nursery area with a number of animal babies and visitors could hold them which Cindy loved. The first picture though is an adult, cross-eyed opossum. We were told that opposum mothers will eat their babies if there is anything wrong with them and the cross-eyed critter was born in captivity and saved. In the wild, he would not have survived.

This baby is also an opposum.

The most fascinating baby of all was this 6 week old lion that was sent to this location to be raised and trained. Cindy was really surprised by the strength of the little gal. There was quite a line and family groups were allowed in one at a time and had to sit by the fence to be able to touch the baby lion. It was only brought out for a limited period several times a day so our timing was perfect.

Next stop was Cape Blanco and a visit to the light house. Learning about the light houses and their keepers and their families was a lesson in very hardy living in a remote and harsh environment. The next stop was Port Orford and lunch at the Crazy Norwegian. We finished the day with dad and I losing to the ladies, 2-1 in Shoot the Moon. But what a fun and interesting time we had exploring the Oregon coast.

A friend got Dad into crabbing and I went with him to see what it was about. The time to crab is tied to the tides and we actually got there on the tail end of the crabbing period. Yes, that is turkey leg bait on the bottom of the trap. The sides actually collapse once it is on the bottom and the first pull to bring it up has to be hard to get the sides up quick. We only had one crab on the second try and it was so small it fell out on the way up and saved us having to throw it back.
We toured the Bandon Dunes golf resort and Dad and I sat on the terrace and watched groups come down the 18th fairway and finish on the green. The only thing better would have been to be playing. What a gorgeous day and the scenery around the course was outstanding with the ocean, pines, dunes, ponds, you name, it was there somewhere. Oh, did I mention the green fees were $350.
Other highlights were a melodrama at Coquille that was an experience. The drive along the Coquille river was a great way to start the evening. That whole area is unbelievably beautiful. There was so much more, but what a great vacation that went by so fast we couldn't believe it. Mom and Dad were great hosts and Cindy and her mother got a lot of shopping in so you know it was good. What a shock though to arrive back in St George to 100 degree heat after being in the 60's for the past 4 days.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hello, Goodbye

2 days after the last post, the baby hummingbirds left the nest for good. This time around we were able to observe the process and it was amazingly fast. Monday, they were doing 5-10 second wing warmups where they moved them in the typical hummingbird high speed fashion. Tuesday they were flying around the tree in short spurts from branch to branch and Wednesday morning they were gone. I had hoped they might still be here when Mark and Julie and the boys arrived on Friday, but no such luck.

Mark and I, and 4 of our grandsons, and Isaac's friend Alex divided up into a 3-some and a 4-some and played 9 holes at Sunbrook on the Point course Friday afternoon. We had a really good time and I probably hit the best drive and fairway wood of my life back to back on the par 5 number 7 leaving me just 10 yards short of the green. Unfortunately, the chip shot did not match up with the first 2 shots and it took 2 puts to get down for par. The boys had been talking about going 18 holes, but 9 did me in. We finished a fun afternoon and evening with Hungry Howie's philly cheese steak pizza - yum!!

Saturday morning I had my opportunity to be host cook since Cindy had gone north on Thursday to attend a memorial service for the sister of her dear friend Debbie. Grandpa made his homemade syrup while Mark cooked bacon. I then cooked up 2 bread loaves worth of french toast. I just could not fill Julie up, ha! Get a group of teen and pre-teen boys and the stomachs can hold amazing amounts of food. But it was so much fun feeding the troops.

Before Mark and Julie and the boys left for Arizona, we went over to a new park along the Santa Clara river and tried out some fun new playground equipment. Justin even mastered the helicopter and got it flying at least 15-20' up with some control of the direction. I was impressed with the soft landings, well, most of them. By the time Spencer got a shot at it though, the battery was gone since I'd only charged it for an hour during breakfast.

Who is that big kid?

Cindy returned Sunday night and brought Emily and Taylee with her to stay with us for a week. Little miss energy is certainly keeping her Nannie and everyone else very busy. The following picture of Taylee I've dubbed the bubble queen.

Cindy and I got our last shots yesterday, at least until the MTC where we'll get several more. And today, I got out early, for me, and rode Snow Canyon to the top and down the trail along Hwy 18. A nice 22+ mile loop that took it out of me, at least enough to get me sitting and doing a blog post. I'm going to miss my bike rides while we're in India.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ready for Flight

July has been a busy month. We went up on the ridge to watch the fireworks on the 4th and it was a minor miracle. Got there about 9:30 PM and found a great parking spot, took our lawn chairs over to an open lot, set up, and talked about 15 minutes before the show began. It was a perfect spot with the launches from SkyLine Drive on our left and looking directly at the launch site down by the Sun Bowl or whatever it's called. The fireworks were outstanding and when they were over, we tossed our stuff in the back of the truck and were on our way in less than 5 minutes following the traffic back to Valley View. Perfect!

Sunday night Ryan came to St George for some business and brought Jordan with him so we had fun with our grandson while Ryan did his thing on Monday. I finally got the helicopter charged, so I thought, and Jordan took a shot at flying it before they left to go back north. Kind of anti-climatic, but it did get off the ground - barely.

Julie, Spencer, and Bryce arrived the next evening, Tuesday, and stayed until Thursday when they had to go north to Provo to catch Isaac's last game at his soccer camp. The boys and I went on a hike up Cottonwood Canyon on Wednesday while the girls went shopping. But given a late start and the heat, we soon wound up in the shade in the bottom of the wash. It was fun though and I intend to go back and complete the hike at least to the point where the early pioneers had cut some tunnels through the sandstone in an attempt to bring water to the St George side for their crops. We did not quite make it that far this time out. No pictures, Grandpa forgot the camera. It was fun having the family here and we hope to see them again this Friday when Mark, Justin, and Isaac will be with them on their way back to Arizona. Golf this Saturday for sure.

For years I've told Cindy about Topaz Mountain and trips out there with the scouts, etc. Last Friday we took off on our own adventure and drove to Delta. We had time to explore the area a little and went out to Fort Deseret to see the remains of the adobe walls built in 1865 during the Black Hawk War. Amazing thing is 98 men put up the walls, 10' high, 3' at the base, and 1.5' at the top, in a 550' square in only 18 days. We also went to see the Great Stone Face rock formation that many claim has Joseph Smith's profile. You decide which profile is the great stone face ...

We were up early Saturday morning and on our way to Topaz Mountain passing by the Intermountain Power Project on our way. I could still remember a lot of the area, but a map and directions in a rock hounding book came in useful. A guy in a rock shop in Delta said the road in would be quite different if it had been 15+ years since I'd been there which was not the case, but once in the Topaz "Valley" area, it was very different, even disappointing to see so many new trails made by the 4 wheel drive generation. I found some topaz using the screening boxes I'd made many years ago while Cindy pounded on rocks with a small sledge I brought along looking for "holes" and topaz. Before we left, we did find some "holes" that had the unique Utah brown topaz. If I thought the area had been hammered 15 years ago, I was amazed at what has happened since. People with sledge hammers can sure change a landscape.

After we had our fill of hunting for topaz, we took a drive up the road to the end of the pavement where I remembered we could find obsidian. We continued on the unpaved road heading towards Wild Horse Springs, I thought, but I could not locate the turnoff and we were having fun just sight seeing anyway. The picture below is associated with one of the many mines in the area, some abandoned and a few still active. I walked up on top and there were some small piles of ore remnants. It appeared this site was for beryllium given the purple color in the rock.

Faced with a long drive back to St George, we ended our sight-seeing and headed back, dirty and tired, but we had our topaz. We managed to find the Topaz Internment location on the way back, but did not see the monument or restored rec hall that had been put up. Found out about that on the web after we got home. This was a historical location I had long wanted to visit and did not know exactly where it was until this trip. I hope nothing like that ever happens to American citizens again and I'll leave my commentary at that.

JB came down with his team for the St George Heat Stroker softball tournament Friday and Saturday nights. He and 4 team members slept at our place. First games began at 7 PM and then they played into the AM to complete the tournament. They won their 3 games Friday night, but did not fare as well Saturday night. I was out like a light when they came back after midnight. Their second loss ended their tournament play and they decided to head home rather than sleep. They got something to eat, gathered up their stuff, and headed north, getting home around 5:30 AM. Cindy was a trooper who went to the late Saturday games and stayed up to feed and see them off.

We'll close this post with a picture of the second brood in the hummingbird nest this year. They are so close to flight now and both baby birds cannot sit down in the nest together anymore. Cindy has seen them several times today fanning their wings for brief periods, getting the muscles ready for flight. They are very active preening themselves, stretching, doing the wing warm-ups, sticking their tongue out, etc., but they freeze if they discover us watching or I go out the front door. Nannie noticed something amazing today. Their tongue looks like a piece of thread that comes out and extends past the end of their beak for at least the length of the beak itself. When I finally saw it and recognized what I was seeing, it was wow!! I can understand now how they get nectar from the flowers. The beak is just a part of it and that tongue can go quite a ways into the flower.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's a Small World

We've been in contact with the couple, Val and Laura Dunn, that we will replace in New Delhi. They returned in May this year and are in Cedar City this week for a few days to attend the Shakespeare Festival. We drove up today to meet with them and spent 4 hours talking about their mission. They talked about a Brother Katuka and his family. Brother Katuka became the #1 guy on the water projects when they left. In the conversation, they mentioned that he was the first missionary called from India and that got the wheels turning for Cindy.

Cindy's parents had run a mini-MTC when they served in Madras, India, back in the 80's and she called them on the way home to find out if they knew an Elder Katuka and sure enough, he was in the first group of 4 missionaries that they taught. What a connection over 20 years later. It will be so great to meet him and his family when we get to New Delhi.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mission Update

We had been wondering why we had not had any contact from India nor received additional information from the Bangalore mission. The answer came last week when we found out we had been reassigned and we will be serving in the New Delhi, India, mission now instead of the Bangalore, India, mission. The new mission, the church's 348th, was created last fall and contains the northern part of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. We will be quartered in New Delhi, but have no idea right now where the humanitarian work may eventually take us before we return home. But with 13 million people in the New Delhi area, it would seem there will be plenty to do there.

Additional information is coming now and we're in email contact with our mission president Gary Ricks and have received a copy of a monthly report from the country humanitarian services coordinator. All we can say is wow! There is a lot of good stuff going on.

We also have more on our schedule. We enter the MTC on September 1st and leave the MTC for India on September 17th.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Retired does not mean not busy ...

Vance and Angie and Katie and Eliza came to St George for a wedding and stayed with us over the May 30th weekend . Eliza and her Aunt Cindy collaborated on a fancy dinner for us in Eliza's Italian Restaurante. Vance, Eliza our hostess, Angie, Katie, and Uncle Duane in a candlelight setting.

The lasagna was terrific and our hostess, Eliza, was outstanding.

Two days latter, Cindy headed north for a bridal shower, but not before finishing the "booful" dress Taylee is shown wearing. Taylee has a DVD of Sleeping Beauty and loved the dress Sleeping Beauty wore. Cindy found a pattern for the dress and you can see the results of a very talented Nannie's work on our "booful" Taylee.

Cindy flew back the following Tuesday morning and JB arrived that night. He went on to Las Vegas Wednesday to apply for open positions in the police department there, but it did not work out. He said there were over 700 applicants and he could not afford to stay long enough to complete the process so returned to St George Wednesday afternoon.

The same day, Wednesday, a good friend from my First Security days arrived in St George for a family reunion. Cindy and I enjoyed lunch with Richard and Debbie Carlisle and then I really enjoyed retirement by joining with Richard and two of his sons, David and Curt, for 18 holes of golf at Sky Mountain in Hurricane on Thursday morning and again for 9 holes at Red Hills near home on Friday morning. I was impressed with the Sky Mountain course and my golfing companions could not have been better.

Richard and Duane on the 1st tee at Sky Mountain.

David lining up a long put with Curt and Duane watching at Red Hills.

Saturday, June 14th, we drove north again to spend Father's Day weekend with Cindy's parents and to do some shopping for our mission. We stopped at Mr Mac's in the University Mall on the way and had my suit picked out and purchased in less than 45 minutes. That evening, Cindy's mother had everyone over for a family dinner because Sunday was not going to work for some of them. It was a fun time. Sunday was church and phone calls with Father's Day greetings exchanged with my children. We had tried to contact Jared on the way up with no luck, but found out Sunday that Dixie and the children had gone to Montana to spend Father's Day weekend with their dad.

Cindy, her mother, and Emily had a great time shopping. Monday evening we went up American Fork canyon with Ryan and his family, JB, and Cindy's mom and dad for a family picnic. Ryan brought horse shoes and stakes and we found a place to set up. Good food and lots of fun, especially watching Cindy and her mother throw horse shoes. How do you spell "in coming" in terms of take cover? But as much as we laughed at their style, they can claim to have as many ringers as JB and Duane.

Our granddaughter's Kayla and Korey had some fun trying on old dresses that Nannie Great had.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Cindy went up north Wednesday for a bridal shower that was called off at the last minute. Her sister came over from Colorado, so she is having a great visit again with family. Each day, I've checked the mail and called to let her know whether we had a mission call yet. Today it came and I opened it and read it to her while we were on the phone.

Brother and Sister Tanner have been called to the India Bangalore Mission. We will be laboring in Hyderabad, India in humanitarian services. We will report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo on Monday, September 1st. This is an exciting time right now to say the least and we both are looking forward to this service. Cindy's parents served in India and Sri Lanka a number of years ago and it brought tears of happiness to her mother's eyes when she learned where we were going.