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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Memorial Day Week Recap

Still no letter with the call. Called Salt Lake City yesterday and was told to look for it next week. Needless to say, we're getting anxious to know where we will be going on our mission.

Before we left for Australia, there were 2 baby hummingbirds in the nest that were growing fast. Checked the nest the day after we got back, last Monday, Memorial Day, and they were gone. The rest of our friends are still around - the mourning doves in back and Arnold Swartzalizard is still doing his thing on the back wall and apparently has taken a liking to the vines that cover a lot of it now.

I've been out on the bike a couple of times this week with one long ride, for me anyway, out to Snow Canyon State Park, through Ivins and Santa Clara and back. The weather has been outstanding if I could get to bed earlier and up earlier to enjoy the morning.

Last night, Vance and Angie and their girls arrived for a weekend stay with us and to attend the wedding of a friend this morning. They got in around 1:30 AM and we were still up and wide awake when they arrived.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Visit in Perth

I've been a little slow getting the Australia visit post completed, but here it is at last along with the Northern Utah and Mother's Day trip which is on the blog now also, with pictures. As opposed to the trip over, described on a separate post, the return trip was very smooth. We made all of our flights as planned and enjoyed business class on the long one from Sydney to LA. But once home, the trial sets in trying to adjust our body clock back to our time zone. Going over it is never a problem and I haven't figured that out yet.



Liz & Logan


Breanne, Emma, Lauren. Yes, that is the doll house in the background that I made and that Nannie, Liz, and Nannie great decorated on our trip over last year before Logan was born.

Pete and his new "buggy", Aussie for golf cart

We got up Friday morning bright eyed, refreshed, and ready to go. Pete had put in a sport court in the past year and since the girls had stayed home from school, Grandpa, Emma, and Lauren went out to shoot some hoops. The court and backboard are really nice and fun to play on. By the time I return, I expect Emma will be able to take me one on one. Pete and I tried a one on one and the only thing I can say about it was I survived. He was really nice to his father-in-law, but I still felt ancient. The Achilles held up just fine which is a good thing. That night Pete and Liz took the family to the Vines Resort for dinner. That is a very upscale place that serves an outstanding buffet and dinner was great.

Saturday their ward had a pot luck dinner and activity night that we went to and had a chance to talk with a lot of the members that we are getting to know fairly well after so many visits. After church Sunday, Carl and Valerie Winters invited all of us over for crepes along with Russ and Joy Hembrough and their son, another family in the ward. It is so enjoyable to be with a group like that and the conversation is wonderful if for nothing else than the accent...love it.

The rest of the visit seemed like a succesion of projects that Cindy and Liz had embarked on, the primary ones centered around Logan's room that they completely repainted and purchased furniture for from Ikea. Pete told me Ikea was the largest store in the southern hemisphere and after accompanying Liz and Cindy on the first trip, I'm a believer. Of course, the stuff they purchased had to be put together, which gave me something to do and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't the usual pressboard type stuff, but made with real pine boards and very well engineered. Then came a minor challenge on Friday when Cindy approached me and said they needed a valance made for the room's window, oh, and Carl Winter is off work today and willing to let you use his wood shop to do it. I really enjoy working with Carl, he is the one I worked with in putting the doll house together. Great guy and a very skilled wood worker and you'd love the stand-alone shop he has behind his house. After a trip to Bunnings (Aussie Home Depot) for materials, it was over to Carl's house and an enjoyable couple of hours putting a valance together. It came out pretty good and Cindy and Liz then covered it with material they had purchased while it was being made and I hung it Saturday morning. It really looked good.

Got ahead of myself a little. Pete and I played golf at the Vines on Wednesday, an absolutely beautiful day, temp in the low 70's and sunny. I even managed to play well on a couple of holes, but you could not have ordered a better day for golf. They had some type of tournament going and Pete and a couple of older gentlemen from Japan competed in it and I just played along for the fun of it. If I'd had an established handicap and played a little better, I'd have been right with them though.

Along with several trips to the mall and seeing the latest Indiana Jones movie in the afternoon on the day it was released, we managed to stay pretty busy and have time to relax and read while the girls were in school. It rained after Wednesday until we left, off and on, and got a little cooler, so I didn't get back to the basketball court with Emma and Lauren, something I was a little disappointed in missing. But Nannie got the girls involved in making banana and zucchini bread and we all enjoyed the results of that project.

Before we went to the airport Saturday night to catch the red-eye to Sydney, we treated the girls to a stop at McDonald's in Ellenbrook. The kids loved the play area and the treat. Our flight left at 15 minutes after midnight and when Liz dropped us off around 10 PM, she and her mother had a hard time with the parting. They had been so close and involved the time we were there, it had been a wonderful visit which made it all the harder to say goodbye.

We arrived in Sydney around 6:15 AM and had to wait for the LA flight that left at 1:45 PM. We arrived in LA 30 minutes early, cleared customs and went back through security in the domestic terminal 7 and were waiting for our flight to St George by 10:30 AM. At 2:30 PM, we were on board and headed on the last leg home. We got into the house at 5:30 PM, exhausted, but very thankful for the opportunity we had to visit all of our children and grandchildren during the month.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Getting Down Under

The plan was to take a 4:30 PM flight from St George to LA on Tuesday, May 13th, then go from LA to San Francisco on a 6:15 PM flight to get us there 3 hours before the flight to Sydney left. The Sydney flight was wide open for first and business class and only had 8 standbys. That was the plan, here is what happened.

The 4:30 PM flight out of St George left an hour late and we got to the gate in LA for our flight to San Francisco just after it left. Actually, that turned out to be a blessing, but more on that later. We went over to the Customer Service desk to see if we could get on the next flight to San Francisco and actually had our seat requests for that flight and the Sydney flight in hand, but kept talking with the UA agent about the LA to Sydney flight. The agent was a great guy who checked on the LA flight to Sydney again and even though I had passed on trying the LA flight to Sydney because of cargo concerns and 22 standbys listed I figured were all ahead of us and past experience getting bumped there, we eventually decided to stay in LA and try the flight from LA to Sydney. The UA agent printed our seat requests and off we went to get some dinner and wait for the 10:26 PM departure.

This was a great learning experience in more ways than one. The first was the flight was delayed 20 minutes due to "weather", but it was great outside. Finally learned that there were good tailwinds on part of the Pacific route over and since no international flights can land in Sydney earlier than 6 AM, the flight had to be delayed to avoid getting there too early. Boarding was getting close to being completed and we were still patiently checking the display panel to see if our names had cleared, but nothing was happening until an announcement was made for any remaining standbys to come to the desk. We went up along with another couple from Chicago traveling on their nephew's buddy passes and were surprised to be asked if we wanted first class even if we couldn't sit together. No problem, Cindy and I both got first class. The gentleman across from Cindy was a UA mechanic from Sydney on his way home after some stateside training and he told her he had been scheduled on the San Francisco flight, but had flown down to LA to catch the flight we were on because the San Francisco flight had been cancelled. UA came up a 747 short and since the San Francisco - Sydney flight had a low load, it became the sacrificial lamb. If we had gotten out of St George on time, we would have wound up in San Francisco with a cancelled flight to Sydney and may not have been able to get back to LA in time to catch the flight we were on.

But that was the end of the good news. Less than an hour out of Sydney, our flight was diverted to Brisbane, an hour+ north of Sydney, because Sydney was fogged in and nothing was going in or out. We landed in Brisbane around 6:30 AM and sat on the ground while the plane was refueled and waited for the fog to lift in Sydney and clearance to fly back. No one was allowed off of the plane in Brisbane. Regulations limit how long pilots and flight attendants can work in a 24 hour period without mandatory rest and it appeared we would have to wait for a relief crew to come to Brisbane to fly the plane once Sydney cleared up. Around 9:30 AM, word came we were cleared to leave for Sydney, the fog had lifted enough to allow landings and we got a break because the crew was given permission to fly the plane back to Sydney even though they were past their duty limit. Being in first class was great because we had room to walk around, got sandwiches and drinks, and were close to the purser and knew what was going on.

We finally got into Sydney and parked in a cargo area, no gates were available at the terminal. We rode a bus over to the terminal and being in first class we were the first ones off the plane, yeah! We got through customs with no problem and then hustled to the Domestic Transfer section and found the longest line I've ever seen there. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to get to an agent. Needless to say, we missed the last morning flight to Perth and the next one at 5:50 PM was sold out. We made the 7:20 PM flight and finally got to Perth, retrieved our luggage, and met Elizabeth around 11 PM, and that included a 3 hour time change from Sydney. For the trip, we spent 2 hours in the St George airport, an hour and 15 mintues flying to LA, almost 5 hours in the LA airport, about 20 hours on the plane we boarded in LA before finally getting off in Sydney, 8 hours in the Sydney airport, and 5 hours on another 747 going to Perth. Our 45 hour journey to Perth turned out to be an endurance test, but we made it and a bed never felt so good as the one we slept in last night, Thursday, May 15th.

More will be coming later on our visit, but I wanted to post the trip over while I still had the detail in mind.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Northern Utah and Mother's Day

Continuing our May travels, we headed north to Tremonton to visit Jared and Kristi and the girls, Ashlee, Katelyn, and Mackenzie, on Wednesday the 7th after returning from Arizona on Monday. Jared and Kristi have a new dog, Ozzie, a miniature toy poddle, if you can picture that combo. Ozzie is a little high energy black ball with a tongue and no face...unless you really look close.

Jared had Thursday off and we headed to Logan and the Harley Davidson dealer to get a new rim and tire mounted on his new Harley. Nice to have the truck to put everyone inside and the hardware in the bed. We followed Jared, wearing his WWI German helmet look alike, over to Logan. After dropping his Harley off at the dealer, we went for lunch at a restaurant in the old train station at the end of Center street. We stopped and looked at my grandparents' house and Cindy's grandparents' house which was just around the corner from my grandparents. It still amazes me everytime we go to Logan how close the families lived to each other and the time we both spent in the same neighborhood as children. There are pictures below of Cindy's grandparents' house and the building my grandfather had his printing business in along with pictures of the families we visited on this trip. Off course we could not leave without dinner at Maddox's with the whole gang and the chicken is still the best I have ever eaten anywhere. Some things, fortunately, do not change!

We stayed Friday night in Layton with Emily and Brock. Saturday, Brock and I took care of our Mother's Day assignments - weeding and prepping the flower bed and got a sheet cake and chicken ordered for Sunday's extended family gathering. Emily and her mom, with Taylee's help, added a landscaping touch to the front of the house by planting flowers.


Cindy's grandparents' Logan home

JP Smith & Sons Printing building - Duane's grandfather

Saturday afternoon we drove down to Utah county and visited Jared and Dixie and the children Dylan, Emma, Isabel (Belle), and Abigail (Abby) in Mapleton. We had a good visit with the family and really enjoyed a fun dinner at the Model A restaurant in Mapleton. Jared is working in Livingston, Montana, now and is coming home on the weekends - driving - I just shake my head at that scarry thought, but he's a husband and father who misses his family and is willing to do what it takes to be with them until they can come north and join him.


We stayed Saturday night in Saratoga Springs with Nannie and Grandpa great and JB and then headed up to Layton for church with Brock and Emily. Ryan and his troops were in the Basin for Mother's Day, but made it back for a Mother's Day dinner in a Layton park later in the afternoon with the extended family. Unfortunately, the camera battery did not get recharged before the trip and it died Sunday after getting the one important picture of the 4 generations. I'll try and get pictures from a family member who took them of us with Ryan and his family and add them to this post later.

Emily,Taylee,Cindy,Nannie great

We drove home Monday morning, May 12th, and had that afternoon and Tuesday morning to get packed and ready for our trip to Australia.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On the Road Again

No pictures for this post, but I had to mention that I got a good ride in today, 21+ miles, and it was beautiful outside. I went up through Snow Canyon State Park and made the circuit back down Hwy 18 and home. That is the first time I've gone up the canyon in over 2 years so I was pretty satisfied with myself for accomplishing that.

We're off to Tremonton, Utah, tomorrow for the next stop on the tour and we will leave for Australia on May 13th and should be back on the 25th if all goes well.

Arizona Trip

We drove to Gilbert, Arizona, on Thursday and spent an extended weekend with Nan and Julie and Mark and the boys. It was a fun and somewhat relaxing visit, as relaxing as can be with 4 grandsons. Friday we attended a patriotic themed school program that Bryce and Spencer participated in and I was impressed with the whole show. Very well done by all involved. Then it was off to a basketball game to watch Justin and Isaac play. Both are very good young players and we were impressed. It was great to finally be able to attend some of the grand children's activities.

We ate breakfast/brunch Saturday at a converted farm with restaurants. Good food and a fun time because we met a guy with an English bulldog that did tricks and Nannie fell in love with the dog.

Julie prepared baked halibut and mahi mahi for dinner with a crust that included parmesan cheese and boy was it good. That is a recipe we need to get.

We managed to stop and see Nan's digs where she works in downtown Phoenix on the way out Monday. Very impressive and she had done a great job with the interior decorating. Our renaissance daughter, a paralegal/interior designer.

Cindy, Nan, Dad

Nannie, Mark, Isaac, Bryce (front), Spencer, Julie, Justin, Grandpa

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

JB's Graduation

Last weekend we went up north to attend JB's graduation from the Police Academy. I also managed to get in my first round of golf since retirement, but given the wind it was not the best I could have hoped for. The wind was so strong it blew out the plastic shield in the front of the golf cart on the 2nd hole. Several graduation pictures follow:

There were several Special Awards given during the ceremony and JB received the one for Best Marksman. He's shown being recognized and receiving the award below.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Retirement Party Pictures

Going for the goodies - sorry, a rookie is posting pictures for the first time out of order.

Jim, presenting Cindy with flowers and myself with some retirement gifts - an RJ model, a GPS for the mission, and Eric Mitchell gave me an iPod Classic with two $25 gift certificates from the team. Sweet! Jim also gave me a scrapbook and I opened it and looked at the first 2 pages and then quickly shut it as the emotions were coming on fast and hard. It was close, but I kept my composure barely.

Over 100+ application projects were listed on the board, all completed during my time at SkyWest.

Some of the Applications Development team members. Typing this is bringing back the emotion of not being there any more. Bummer.

With my sweetheart companion!!

Brock, Emily, and Taylee drove down Thursday night to surprise me and were there at the retirement party. I was surprised and Cindy had to go around and unlock the doors and turn the outside lights back on after I went to bed because I was messing up their plans by locking up and turning the lights out.

Who's got the full stomach? Not mine this time.

Back again with an update

Check out the retirement card Cindy gave me on the 11th. In case you cannot read it, it says with candy bars in italics and bolded: "Dear Sweetarts. Look! Today's your PayDay for the Mounds of work you've done over the past 60 years! Now, Take 5 and even more and let's go on a retirement Spree. The 2Musketers just might take in a Symphony, do the Mamba on the beach, go to New York and walk 5th Avenue or eat Hot Tamales south of the boarder. Twix you and me, we know there won't be anymore 100 Grand paychecks, but I hope UNO that doesn't matter to me as long as I can Rolo-ver and see you with me each day! You're my Big Hunk and Almond Joy! Love and Kisses, Me."

We met with the bishop tonight, so 1 down, 1 to go. I had a relapse and got into an email exchange with work yesterday and today, but I've repented and will knock that off. Retirement is growing on me and I may get to the golf course yet. Last Saturday, we ventured into the boondocks to find Lone Tree Arch way west of St George and a had a great day together, even got to use my 4-wheel drive. Did not think ahead and take a camera, so unfortunately, no pictures.

Monday, April 14, 2008

First real retirement day

Monday and the first real day of retirement. Cindy thought it was great, someone to go to lunch with, a companion for running around, her handyman immediately available to replace a kitchen light that burned out this morning, and I'll have to admit, I really enjoyed it to. I went out on my bike again on an absolutely perfect morning, sunny, no wind, upper 70's, couldn't get any better.

While Cindy and I were at lunch today, we saw Tyler Butterfus from SkyWest and it was enjoyable knowing he was heading back to work and we could sit as long as we wanted to and linger over lunch. I think I'll take tomorrow off too.

One thing about being retired, I'm home to enjoy some of the events of nature that go on around the house during the day. For those that followed the saga of the humingbirds last spring, the momma bird is back and sitting the nest again. She is a fierce defender of her turf and going out the front door, if you linger too long on the porch, she will get after you. Arnold Swartzalizard is back and still doing push ups on the top of the back wall, and we have a new addition this year in a pair of mourning doves that are building a nest in a tree in a back yard corner. But do not mistake this writing as any indication that I am going to sit around and become a bird watcher. What I do have though is an assignment to get a bird feeder put together quickly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Retired ... finally

Yesterday was quite a day, my last day at work. The morning went by pretty fast as I had several things to do and the team took me to lunch at Cafe Rio at 11:30. But time passed so slow after we got back waiting for the retirement party to begin at 2:00 PM.

Cindy, our daughter Emily, son-in-law Brock, and granddaughter Taylee were there when I walked into the room. Both conference rooms downstairs were set up for the "party" and most of the IT department was there along with a number of people from other departments. Jim Jensen, my boss, called Cindy and I up front and briefly outlined what I had done for the company and laid some good praise on me. The large whiteboard behind us was filled with beautifully written lines on it that listed all of the systems that had been implemented during my 8 years there, essentially everything that SkyWest and ASA are using today to run the airlines.

There were a couple of presentations, Jim gave me a 35th anniversary CRJ900 model and a GPS, then Eric Mitchell gave me an iPod Classic with $50 in gift certificates as going away presents from the department. I was doing fine until Jim handed me a thick scrapebook with pictures and inscriptions from the team and department. I opened it and got to the 2nd page and had to close it as the emotion and tears started to come. None of that. I briefly thanked everyone for everything they had done, etc. and then it became a reception and everyone went for the goodies that were spread out on several tables. By 3:30 PM, only a few people were left and Julie Imlay was finishing up adding pictures to the scrapebook that Jennifer Peters had taken during the reception. Love digital technology.

Later, Cindy and I and Emily, Brock, and Taylee went to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse in Washington. They got me on a saddle and I got a yeeha from everyone for retiring. It was a fun, but emotionally tiring, day that started pretty early for me when Cindy presented me with a "card". It was a posterboard she had made with candy bars and some beautiful sentiments about retirement and me. I'll get a picture of it along with some of the party added here later.

Rode my bike for 20+ miles today and boy am I out of saddle shape. We'll see what happens Monday when my first official day of retirement is a reality. Weekends do not count because nothing seemed different at all today.