Amid all other influences

Amid all other influences
"reaching for the light"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Picture Taking Safari to Moab

This winter season has be mostly filled with cold cold days with snowy nights. I know that in church and our prayers, we often ask for "moisture" because we live in a desert region. "Moisture" is another polite word for rain, or snow. Water is the staff of life in these parts.

So why am I complaining? Well, one day all that snow is going to melt, and bring good water or blessings to the land. It also will bring new discoveries, such as piles and piles of dog poop burried for the winter. We figure, well, its our dogs happiness but I abhor the contributions of our neighbors dogs who are let out to fertilize the neighborhood. The law says that they are supposed to pick up after their pets, but do they ever?

Well, this blog posting is not really about picking up dog poop but having a good reason to leave the cold and get out of town for a break. We decided to celebrate our 35th Wedding Anniversary by taking a picture safari. The real purpose is to get some good pictures for Jo to paint from. Since her works are getting quite good, she needs new material.

We planned the trip and set it up, but the weather didn't cooperate. On our drive down to Moab, it rained, sleeted, snowed, and fogged the whole time. We listed to a book on CD and enjoyed the trip. I drove, and Jo and Ipo dozed off. None the less, it was a pleasant trip.

We purchased an annual pass for the National Parks, and you can't get a better deal if you plan to see more than a couple of National Parks within a years time. Fortunately for us in Utah, there are several National Parks, I think four of them and several National Monuments (National Park wannabees). So, we figure on seeing as much as we can, not to mention when we travel in the summer.

After a short drop in to Arches National Park, we drove up the road to Canyonlands National Park. Just before Canyonland, we went to the Dead Horse State Park ($10 daily fee), but it was worth it and except for the cloudy overcast, we got to see some great sights.

Then it was on to Canyonland and the clouds were still there but we tried to get in as much of the sightseeing as we could before sundown. There are some really awesome views to see but the wind and cold air blowing made stops short. Even Ipo was weary about the cold temperature. At least she put up with the whole trip. When she got interested, we would put the window down for her to stick her head out and sniff the area. It wouldn't be long before she pull her head back in and start to lay down.

In Moab, there are several hotels that allow you to bring your pets, and the LaQuinta is no exception. We were pleased with the accomodations and didn't have to pay extra for Ipo.

On Saturday we visited Arches NP and took as many pictures as the sun would allow (with out clouds). The only problem with a car riding dog is that she wanted to get out at every stop. So where we could, we would get her out for a walk and sniff out the area. Pets aren't allowed on the trails. We still had a good time. One thing about visiting the park in the winter time is that there aren't as many tourist clogging up the park.

On our way home, we stopped in at Goblin Valley State Park ($7 fee). It was a unique park with the rock formations like little goblins (Galaxy Quest). We almost had the whole park to ourselves. If you get a chance, you should see it.

On our way home, we took I-70 to Salina. There are several view areas and great places to take pictures. At the Outlaw View point, Ipo got loose from Jo as she was getting out of the car. The view is has no fence to protect one from falling off the cliff so Jo screamed, scared Ipo and Me so finally Ipo slowed down where I picked up the lease and took her back to the car. The rest of the trip was sunny, windy, snowy, rainy and foggy. Ipo, Jo and I were glad to get home safe and tired.

So that's how we spent our 35th Wedding Anniversary.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Big Month of Feburary

On a university campus, perhaps just the same on many other parts of the country, getting the right Valentines gift is just as important as remembering your wedding anniversary or some significant date such as that. Being too busy to remember is identified as one of the top ten reasons that won't cut it in such a significant time of the year. So, from a clipping I found recently, a list of "What NOT to Give Her For Valentines Day" just read it for wisdom and perhaps a warning:

1. A box of chocolates, clumsily rearranged in an attempt to hide the fact you ate all the caramel ones.

2. Any food item with the words "diet," "light," or "high fiber" on the label.

3. Any video starring Sylvester Stallone or Jim Carrey.

4. Flowers from a hospital's gift shopp- - or worse, a mortuary's.

5. Any household appliance, power tool or other item from the harder side of Sears.

6. A gift certificate.

7. Cash.

8. Anything you could have bought at the gas station mini-mart on the way over, even if you didn't.

9. An apologetic look and the words "That was today?"

In almost 35 years of marriage, I certainly can remember or identify with the just shared list of blunders. Now, sometimes I find it hard to justify expensive roses, price driven up by the demand of the occassion, or perhaps jewelry, which I find has little or no utility, or some other stupid reason, however, it is better to bend to the will of the occassion and make some or alot of meaningful gesture in recognizing the occassion. In this case, for some, peace and well-being is a higher priority.

Now I have to commend the younger generation, such as those of our children's spouses and family. Last night, our grandsons who live nearby brought Valentine cards and a heart shaped sucker. That was really thoughtful.

On Saturday evening, we attended our Married Student Stake Valentines Dance. The band was great, music too loud, refreshments appropriate, and activity outstanding, if you're an under 30 or 20 something. Anyway, it was good to support them and we at least celebrated early.

Later, we get to celebrate our significant 35th Wedding Anniversary. How cool is that?
This is also a month of a couple of birthdays, Jason, Jesse, and Troy. Happy Birthday Sons.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Glad January is over with, Hello February

The month of January has been more than we cared to think about. Lately, our wether pattern has been snow day, day to dig out from snow, then watch more snow fall, and the cycle continued. Early in the month, we had cold temperatures, below 20's and near zero amost for two weeks. I find that to be somewhat a hopeful blessing as the cold freeze would hopefully kill off some of the pesky bugs that come out in the spring and summer. It wouldn't hurt to kill off a few dandelions also at the same time.

We recognize that the low temperatures here may seem a bit balmy for those of you say in "Why not, Minot" but in your case, you have no choice. Uncle Sam wills you the frigid temperatures as a test of your endurance and perserverance. Being cooped up indoors all day would tend to drive some people to behave strangely. Anyway, our sympathies to you all.

In gratitude to our son-in-law for taking our beater of a snow blower to the shop for a badly needed tune up. Now, it works and has been a back saver for clearing the driveway and sidewalks. Before it got fixed, Mark and the boys would come over and shovel the walks and driveway. Then George, Henry and Bubba would play in the snow.

Watching the news, I saw an article that snow should be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours after the fall. Thank goodness we have compassionate community officials who have not enforced this law. Bunch of slackers but they believe in the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law.

So, our routine here has been pretty much the same, watch snow fall, shovel or snow blow, revel in clean sidewalks, watch more snow fall. In the meantime, I've found our daily newspaper burried in the snow several times. I purposely cleared off the sidewalks for the delivery guy or gal, to place our newspaper at our front door on on the porch. What really happens is a driveby hit by the newspaper person and quick getaway. They probably don't want to get their Air Jordans full of snow or on the floor of the car, so the next obvious thing is to lower the window, and bombs away! This is more customer relations stuff.

On a more solemn note, with the passing of President Hinckley, many thoughts and expressions of grattitude and love have been shared by our children and friends. We wish to express our love to our Heavenly Father for placing such a special person to lead the Church during the past 12 plus years. Not only was he the living propher of God but a most kind and loving spirit to us all. "Peace be still, peace be still."

I cannot forget one instance when I took Jo to Salt Lake City for an early medical appointment. We arrive prior to the appointment and then I decided to wait in the car while she talked to the specialist. It also happened to be April 15th, and I was hurrying to complete our tax filing. While seated in the car and checking my figures, I noticed in my drivers side mirror President Hinckley exiting the hospital entrance and walking towards our car. I recognized him instantly and attempted to open my window but thought differently seeing the large stature of a man accompanying him. (Most likely his driver, and surely a descendant of the Nephite Warrior.) They were parked right next to me. So as President Hinckley got in his car, I waved to him and he acknowledged me with a friendly smile and a wave. He was so kind.

I've watched the news coverage of his life and comments from those who went to the viewing, and I cannot express to you, the great spirit of peace and love that is overwhelming. You can't help but feel the emotions and the great respect and love that he commanded as the most recent Prophet and leader of the Church. He will be missed.

I've taken the opportunity to review many of his addresses such as General Conference talks, BYU Devotional talks and other addresses he's made to the general public. They are all so clear and a voice of warning as he speaks in behalf of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I loved his counsel and also chastizement (to the brethren of the Priesthood.) What a great leader he has been in a time of so much confusion, dispare, greed, and hateThe funeral will be held tomorrow with other extended coverage on his life and ministry. I hope you all will have the opportunity to share in this broadcasts.
On another significant item, Feburary is the month of our wedding anniversary, our 35th. Wowzer. Five children four sons-in-law, one daughter in-law and fifteen grandchildren later we look upon you all with such joy and gladness. Your lives are a living testament of how much Heavenly Father has bless you all.
Our home has begun to change a little. Since there is no children living with us, only the Po doggie, Jo has retaken up her love for painting. It's been great to see her paintings. So instead of a quilt shop, we have a paint gallery. Maybe at a later time in the future, she will put on a display for the public. We also look forward to maybe doing more things together or sharing in each others interest. You laugh! But my take on this is that we would begin to take some trips to take pictures of the country and then she can express them in her paintings. That is our plan. Nearby, daughter Erin Noel Pualani has taken up doing portrait photography and doing really good work (of course with some of my camera equipment.)

So, as you contemplate a trip back to Utah in the near future, you must make time for a view of the art gallery, family photo shoots, and spending time with 35th anniversary newly weds.