Amid all other influences

Amid all other influences
"reaching for the light"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Family Christmas Tradition

Our familly has mostly celebrated Christmas with a gala Christmas Eve event. Of course, that means having a special evening with Christmas Eve dinner and program with family and friends. With all the preparations that go into making it successful, there is a lot of benefit for doing this.

For us, we celebrated an early Christmas with Nikki, Dan, and their children. Since this is a special time of the year, we are blessed to have our children come and celebrate Christmas with us, otherwise, it would be a very quiet one here below "G" Mountain.

For one thing, you can have an enjoyable and meaningful dinner for the family as you celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Ours has to do with a nice dinner and a special home evening. We read the Bible story of the birth of Jesus, sing Christmas hymns and act out certain pertinent scenes from Matthew and Luke of the Bible. The special part is that our grandchildren are now the actors and they do a great job with special help and coaching from their parents.

We enjoy the Nativity Story and then have some special gift openings and a nice dessert. By then, its off to bed for the children, more wrapping for the parents, and then to bed.

Our grandchildren get so excited that its hard for them to go to bed. I guess they inherited that from their parents.

On Christmas Morning, we awake and can have our Christmas Stockings to discover. Everyone has to wait until the whole family is assembled and then one of the children will be designated to hand out the presents. We wait each turn in opening so as not to be a free for all. Though it can be time consuming, we enjoy the excitement and the company.

Thats the way its been, and thats the way it will be. After all the presents are opened and we clean up, we can enjoy our gifts and gift giving. Meals or food is easy, left overs from the dinner on Christmas Eve. The day is spent together and just a family together time. Later, we may visit others.

Anna, Leslie, Troy, Emily, Christian

Spending time with family is the highlight of the season. To all, we extend our Christmas greetings and our most joyous Aloha.

Henry, Erin, Theodore, Mark, George

Sterling, Priscilla, Boyd, Jo

Family Tradition - Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Almost Christmas !!

All the hustle and bustle of the season is upon us. That's not bad but the sudden winter snow storm over the weekend dumped 10 - 11 inches on PG. Snow, snow, everywhere. It was pretty to see it fall but then there's the driving in it, walking in it, and of course, shoveling it. In the evening, the temperature dropped to the low teens and since then, we've had cold, cold weather. We're expecting another snow storm Thursday evening into Friday. Then, it should be it for Christmas.
Our grandsons George and Henry think its great to go out into the snow and make snow balls. They sure enjoy the fun of snow, since they don't get it on the beaches of Hawaii.
Well, in between all this excitement, we're busy running around making sure we've got our list and checking it more than twice. So, driving out in the winter cold is alright if you leave in enough time, but most of the people here are so aggressive in their driving. They aren't as polite or even charitable as in other areas of the country. Talking to some old timers from the area, they reason that people here in "Happy Valley" are the way they drive is because they're late. They don't think its a genetic deficiency or religious belief. It's because people are late and have to rush to where their going. So forget about being polite and doing good and peace on earth kind of stuff. That's for whimps. I've heard it referred to like the scene in the movie, "Fried Green Tomatos" where the female character in her large car says to the younger girls, "Forget it honey, its because I drive a bigger car and have more insurance." That kind of attitude gives anyone a better than even chance to survive the vicious cruelty of Christmas shopping.
So, tis the season and its already upon us.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


There is a balance in life that we often look forward to with either excitement of dread. Such as filling out the annual income tax forms and filing, not excited about this one, more dread. Then there's annual inventory work schedule, more dread here about this one. There is also daily chores and other stuff but I guess this is the way things are.
The most exciting times in our home is when our family members come home for the holidays. Its so great to see them and their families. The grandchildren are our joy. We enjoy every minute of their time with us. As usual, we get to spoil them and later, send them back to their parents, as payback. This is the way things are supposed to be.
When our kids were little, we lived far away from either of our families. At Christmas time, we spent most of it by ourselves, unless the my parents came for a visit. That's been the norm for us. When we stopped moving around, we are still far away from our family. That's the way things are. Now that our children are married and have their own families, they live away from us. That happens and it could be blamed on us for training them that way. But the upside is that they have good spouses, great children, and they are living their lives the best that they know how to.
Now, having thought about this at great length, we conclude that we have to just accept it. When the opportunity presents itself, we hope to spend quality time with each of our children and their family. Now, that means adjusting our work schedule, where possible, and go with the flow, sort of. interpreted, it means that we won't plan and schedule events and activities in advance for each day of their time with us, its their vacation also and so we decided to let them decide and choose what and when they want to do things. Like going shopping, or attending a special function, visit their friends or extended family in the area, etc., etc.
Since this is the holiday season, it should be fun for all, do alot of fun things, eat good stuff, watch great football, or even shop for fun things. To record the moment, we take a few pictures to say we were here and there, and did this and that. Then, we post them to the blog page as a testament of our holiday fun.
Before the next year begins, we've sort of made tentative plans of things we would like to do. Call that New Year resolutions or just a list of wants. When it comes to visiting with our children either at their home or here below "G" Mountain, we might consider the time of the year to travel, the cheapest travel time (if there is any such thing), special family events or in conjunction with significant events. It's like juggling schedules or coordinating our time with that of all of our children.
So, for future consideration, put it on the wish list of future events:
  1. How about a coordinated family trip to Disneyland?
  2. Attend the family reunion in Hawaii, whenever that's scheduled.
  3. Have one of you host a mainland family reunion for our family?
  4. Have a joint family trip together?

As you consider these suggestions, also factor in that mom can't walk far, there should be reasonable shopping areas close by, lodging cost should be cheap or free, and there should be enough room for all of us. Also pick a good time of the year so all of us can attend. This is a work in progress but if each family can project a proposed time of the year with alternate times, we could make this happen. Give these thoughts some time to digest and let me know your ideas.

Well, tomorrow, Erin and the boys arrive in town for the holidays. I'm sure their will be some good "guy time" just as George and Henry call it. Next week, Leslie, Troy and family will arrive. We are going to have some great time, all of us. Anyway, we can't wait. Then later, we'll get to see Klai, Rykell, Shay and their parents. It's going to be a fun visit.

This is what the holidays are all about.

Now returning to the "Home for the Holiday" theme, we look forward to the excitement and fun. For those who we know can't be with us, we will meet

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekends, Time For Relaxing or Work @ Home ? ? ?

There comes a time when things that you purchase out live their warranty, life span, usefulness, and or give up the ghost. We move to PG in 1992 from Hawaii. We had new carpet put in the family room and master bedroom. That was 14 plus years ago. In between, the carpet was vaccumed, shampooed, peeed on, pooped on, thrownup on, color, stained, rained (leaking roof) on, and probably some things I've forgotten about since.
In the family room, we relaxed, gathered as a family, played, hosted parties, let the grandchildren crawl all over, gave the dog a place to stretch out on, watched TV, movies, and video games, etc., etc. That must be the most used place or well worn place in our home. It's a fun place.
Well, this past weekend, we decided to replace the carpet. It was beginning to show more than its wear. We searched for a replacement carpet, searched the adds in the paper, and went to a couple places to price shop. We selected what looks to be a short shag with a blend of colors that matched the room, furniture, and was appealing. In the process, we learned the addvantages and disadvantages of polyester and nylon, the carpet weave and consttruction, and the carpet pad qualities. (I'd say that we about learned as much as one would for a mid-term exam in that short time period.)
Anyway, we got a more than fair price, set the date for the installer to come, and arranged for help to move the furniture. When it came time to start the move, my nephew Jarom became the mover of choice. As a backup on the Friday evening, I asked a neighbor but at the time, he was home watching his little children. In stepped Jo, and we pressed on. Jarom and I emptied the wall units, and dressers, and proceeded to move the furniture to the living room, entrance hallway, and kitchen. Surprisingly, Jo and I moved the bed (large mattress) to the hallway. Since it was so hard to lift, we put a blanked down, and I dragged the blanket with mattress on it and Jo pushed. We 'gotter done!"
We moved everything out in time for the carpet guy to make some measurements, pull up the carpets and roll them to haul away, and he did the same thing to the carpet pad. What was gross was the dirt under the pad that made its way through the carpet and pad. Once swept up, they were ready to begin laying the carpet.
After it was all done, Jarom came and help put the furniture back in the rooms. The only exception is that we decided to move the furniture around and position the wall units in different parts of the room. So, what that translate into was moving the furniture around several times and to its final place. That decision came because we were tired of moving the furniture. The hard part was trying to make a 1970's designed room fit the modern day use.
Now, we just hope to get good use out of the room as we did before.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Winter Chill Is Here . . . .

On Wednesday morning, we said goodbye to Nikki and Dan and the kids. Besides the sadness, the day was sure cold. From what Nikki told us later, the cold in the morning here in PG was nothing to the cold in Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. We were relieved to hear that they've made it home safely.
For us, standing outside in the cold saying goodbye was only a preview of the cold weather we have experienced in the past two days. The temperature hasn't risen above freezing and the nights were down in the single digits and low teens.
Standing out in the cold to say goodbye, even though it was a beautiful day. . .
At least everyone stayed put for a picture of the family. The kids were cooperative but it has its limitations and they were getting tired and couldn't stand taking one more picture.
Elijah had some of the best expressions and it was just a great time to have them all here. Our home is sure quiet now.
Each of our grandchildren are so dear to us and they all are talented and have their own special uniqueness. Here Gabby lovingly gives Ipo a big hug, which was a pleasent experience for Ipo.
I have more photos to share but this blog page won't accept more.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thanksgiving Celebration, Family, and an Early Christmas with the Minotians . . .

Our Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for family. We had a visit from Nikki and Dan and their children and also my nephew Jarom, who's attending the "Y". The children sure loved Jarom and it made our home filled with life.

The one thing about having turkey for the main course is that we prepared so much and after the dinner, had a lot of left overs. Even 4-5 days later, there were remnants of turkey and other left overs. It was all good.

As with tradition, we start to put up our Christmas Tree at this time of the year and with the extra visitor help, everything on the tree went up fast. The kids contributed alot and later we adjusted the ornaments and balanced them out throughout the tree. You know the drill, move the ornaments from the lower branches and spread them around. We all had fun and it was a festive evening.

We've been enjoying the visit of Nikki and Dan and the kids. Of course, there are some adjustments you have to make and give equal time to the other side for visits. Afterall, what is half a block away between families. It was all good and except for some rescheduling issues, it could have been better. (Enough said.)

The joy of our lives is to visit with our grandchildren. It was so much fun and exciting, they are all so sweet. This is to mean all of our grandchildren, from the east coast to the west coast and to the islands of Hawaii. We love them all. They are great. Of course, we don't have to put up much with the cranky lack of sleep, or don't want to go to bed yet issue, and even the smell of surprise when you pick one of the little ones up. Their parents are so loving that they take care of those issues. Still, its all good.

We can't wait for visits from our other daughters and their families. It will help boost the low spirits around here, especially when we get that way as the children return to their homes. How come they can just live close by. Isn't there a rule or law that states this? Anyway, we've had a great time and its been good.

As you can see, even Ipo got in the spirit of the season. Reluctantly she kept her reindeer horns on until I could take this picture. Tis is the season for joy and good will. . .

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There . . .

Sorry for not updating the blog page more often. Sometimes there isn't much to say or add to the happenings from below "G" Mountain. We are well and have been doing the normal things the fall season brings to this area. That is, rake and lawn vac the leaves. I don't mind having to rake up the leave from our trees in our yard but the one that gets me is the one that hangs over from our neighbor to the south. They are such nice people and we have gotten along very well since we move here. Their tree puts out big leaves. They mostly fall onto our yard. Thinking back, I believe our kids didn't appreciate having to rake them up also.

I'm almost to the point of taking my chainsaw and cutting a portion of that tree down, the portion that hangs over the brick wall. As far as leaves from our tree, I even get the ones that fall on the road and onto the gutter and take care of those. Now, if the wind does blow them over to the other side of the street or down the street in either direction, that I classify that as payback or just the way things are in the neighborhood. Is that not being nice or what?

Enough of the leaves since we are having our first winter storm this afternoon and for the next two days. I don't mind it though, just don't like to drive in it. There should be a law where the snow only falls on the mountains and stays there till late spring or summer. How come that never happens?

You get the feeling that this is a gripe session or an outward appeal for help? Well, there is some benefits to living below "G" Mountain. They are: hmm . . . Well, we've established a place where our children and their families can come an visit. Ok, it's not Disneyland but visiting in times other than when it's snowing or utter cold is the best. Our home is a landmark, the kids have put their mark on the place, like when I poured a cement pad at the back door, some of our kids wrote their names in the soft cement. There was also some carved initials in one of the trees in the front yard which has since gone they way of the earth. There are other good memories here and it always comes to the forefront of our mind when our kids and their families come for visits. There hasn't been any exception to that statement ever.

Anyway, the town below "G" Mountain is growing, traffice is getting heavier each day, and more stop lights have been put in on the roads. You can never have it like it was, such is life.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's Harvest Time !

This time of season is supposed to be joyful, but to tell you the truth, for Jo and I, it means a lot of work. For Ipo, it's a time of great joy and excitement. For the past month or more, she has steadily been checking the apples, actually sampling them when it suits her. Jo has taken great care in removing those that bugs have gotten to or birds have eaten. Either way, its sort of pruning out the crop to get a better crop.

Letting the dog out to do her business has always been a challenge since she doesn't always come back in the house after a reasonable amount of time. There is too much temptation with those juicy golden delicious apples, just within her reach. Ipo has learned how to stand on her hind legs to reach up to pick the apples with her mouth. Anywhere else but here, she could be classified as a worker dog.

Today, Jo went out to check and see if the apples are ready as far as sweetness. The cooler weather we received has help to change their taste and make them much better. Well, our inspector dog already knew that.

Ipo was excited to see Jo and I out there with her, as she picked up on the easy ones that just fell off the tree.

Jo and Ipo picking apples

Jo sorting the good ones from the bad ones

Ipo being tempted with an apple!

Picture of Y Mountian

Jo and Ipo

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fall Colors or late September

We've lived at the base of Mount Timpanogos for more than a dozen years. As the seasons change, so does the view of the mountain. A few times we've gone up into the canyon and up the Alpine Loop, but for the past several years, we say we would go for a ride but end up never going.

On conference weekend, after the first general session on Saturday, we made up our mind to take a trip by going through American Fork Canyon to the Alpine Loop. It was a beautiful day, sun and sky was just great.

Jo packed a picnic lunch and off we went. As we drove up the canyon, the toll booth was closed, with a sign saying to have a good day and a number to call in case of emergencies. I guess everyone in the valley had the same thing on their mind because the traffic was horrendous. We made our way up the switch back road, stopping where we could safely pull off and there was a place to park. I got out of the car to take a few pictures along with the throngs of photographers doing the same thing.

The leaves on the trees were already turning color and it was a sight to see. Everyone on the road seemed to be enjoying the sights and also driving slowly so as not to get into an accident or drive off the mountain side.

Where we could stop to take a pictures, other were already there, so we had to wait to find a safe parking spot. We found several cars parked with picnic blankets out on the hill side but the car stereo loudly broadcasting the session of General Conference. That seemed to be a great way to enjoy the majesty of Gods creation that Saturday Afternoon.

There were great views and even greater ones if you pulled off the road and hiked in a hundred yards or so to get some even greater sights.

We certainly enjoyed the colors and the cool mountain air. Of course, we enjoyed the picnic lunch and I had fun with my new digital camera. I hope you like the pictures. I would have loaded more photos on the blog except the photo files were too large to upload. I've been working on the files to make them smaller to upload.

I'm really enjoying my birthday present and learning how to work the camera better. Its a Nikon D80 with a 18-135 AF-S Nikon Zoom lense.

Anyway, if you don't get to see great color changes of the season, you sure missed a good one this time from here along the Alpine Loop. We hope you like the pictures.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The summer weather is almost gone and we've had a busy time getting back into the swing of things here. With Jo Jo and I working, our time to do house work during the week is pretty slim and we have to wait for the weekends to do anything.
Well, with the cooler weather, we feel the immediate relief than the hot summer days we had. the flowers are getting back into good bloom, the grass is growing more, and the fruit trees are showing their crop.
The Ipo dog is also aware of the apple tree and what it has to offer. She knows what season it is and started to make regular trips to harvest whatever she could reach. So much so, that Jo Jo had to thin out the crop, pickup those apples that fell from the tree and tried to restrain the enthusiastic Ipo a few times.

Here we have the Ipo doggie anxious to check out the apple tree. She just complains when we don't let her out as often. Then when you try to get her back into the house, she has to be bribed. Anyway, the pictures are of Ipo's favorite sport, picking and eating apples.

Smart dogs bide their time until the can get out.

A view of the trees

Almost ready for harvest.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

July, a busy and hot month . . . .

From the beginning of the month, its be go, go, go, and now we're just tired out. With Erin and her sons visiting, we made a trip to Ephrata, WA to visit Leslie and Troy and the children. It was such an enjoyable time with all of them together. We especially liked visiting the area and spending time with at least five grandchildren. Our time there was all too short and we had to make it back to Utah.

On the morning of our departure, I took some pictures of the scenery from the patio door of leslie and Troy's home. It seemed fitting since everything was quiet.

The car was loaded and we just had to bring ourselves to get in and get going. A 750+ miles to home but we made it in 14 - 16 hours. Of course we had to make the essential stops.

The evening before leaving, Troy and I finally found time to put Leslie's new quilter frame together. So, this picture is of the finished project and shows Leslie enjoying her quilting. Of course, it was fortunate that Jo was there to help give some instructions on how to operate it. So, Happy Quilting, Leslie.

Upon our return, I check the garden and here is a picture of the progress, ripe tomatos. Fortunately the garden got watered, with the help of a drip system and timer.

Another view of my garden this year.

Well, after the weekend of our return from Ephrata, we had the sad task of bidding our grandsons farewell, especially early in the morning. They brought us so much joy and fun, and with the noise, our home resembled a normal home.

Bidding farewell at the airport.

A couple of days after Erin and the boys left for home, I travelled to Portsmouth, Virginia to attend a conference for work. There was so much history in Virginia and got to see a few historic places.

A monument remembering the confederate state and there involvement in the civil war.

I talked to our son Jesse who is living in northern Maryland and arranged to meet him half way so I could see him and his family. He drove south to Ocean City, Maryland, while I drove north from Portsmouth, crossed the Chesapeak Bay, a long bridge and a tunnel under the bay and on to Ocean City.

Little Jesse and brother Jackson (Jack Jack)

Jesse and his two sons.

Grandpa Calabio with Jesse, Jackson, and little Jesse.

I received an award, being honored by our national association of college and university mail services. It was for mail manager of the year. It was a great experience to be recognized.

Anyway, the month was busy, busy, busy. To top that off, Jo did my irrigation while I was away and had the misfortune to break her foot and fracture the side of her forhead. Needless to say, she is scheduled for surgery to repair her foot, but there isn't anything they can do about the fractured skull. She's already let me know that she'll never do irrigation for me again.

Though the month's been busy, I'm glad its over.