Amid all other influences

Amid all other influences
"reaching for the light"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Road Trip Highlights and Lowlights !

When you take a road trip, plan to have a purpose, like seeing some sights, taking pictures, visiting friends or family or both, enjoying the ambiance, food, and finding all the rest stops that have clean bathrooms.  No matter how you plan, small family, large family, here is always the unexpected rest stops.  So, our trip was filled with excitement and purpose.  
This time around, we were especially conscious of the price of gas at each stop.  After filling up, getting a large fountain drink, something to nibble on while driving, and listening to the GPS say "Recalculating, recalculating, repeatedly," we were ready to roll.  If we happen to come across a sizeable community, we looked for a Wal Mart or a JoAnns.  Those are landmarks you just don't pass up.  
Our nation is so large and the landscape is different in each area we travelled.  That is what so neat, that you can drive for miles and see different things.  If it gets boring, say such as from Evanston to Rawlins, WY, we were prepared for the silent times, so we listened to a good book on CD.  It captured our imagination and was interesting.  We've come to appreciate that no matter how different our interest or talents, listening to a good book on CD during a road trip helps to make the trip enjoyable.  While I drove, Mom crochetted (sp).  
So, here are some pics we took along the way.  Hope you enjoy them.  

From top to bottom, they are:

Giant tire rim turtle
Canola oil field
Storm approaching
Thunderstorm brewing
Huddling cattle
Devils Tower 
Independence Rock
Devils Gate (near Martins Cove)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Road Trip Pics

On our trip, we were joined by Troy, Leslie, and the children, little buddy, Anna, and Emm. Then we arrived at frozen north to stay with the W family. Again, thanks to the hospitality of Dan, Nikki, Pookie, Gabby, Bun, and Ham, we had an enjoyable time. Seeing all those grandchildren in one place or at the same time was awesome. They played, enjoyed each other's company, made friends, and gave Grandma and I all big, big hugs. Seeing them grow up is awesome.

The best question asked to Grandma, by Pookie, "Do you have any children?" They were being introduced to the fact that they were related, and how that came about.

Here are the cousins giving us their best smiles.

Shopping at the co-op in Canada was fun, especially for the young folks because they had shopping carts just their size. Here, we were looking for all dressed chips, smarties, and anything unique. We had a blast.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I don't exactly know when I asked our daughter Leslie to plan a family reunion for all the siblings that live on the mainland. Well, as time marched on, we had an inkling of an idea to hold some sort of family get together. Trying to coordinate everyones schedule was the hardest challenge. In the end, we had to make some alterations and call it a vacation trip or road trip instead of a reunion.

Rachel and her family could only come in June and they did so. Any later than that, then she wouldn't be allowed to travel, our grandson Wyatt is soon to arrive. Also our daughter Erin is expecting, making long road trips a bit of a challenge, plus Mark's new job is a priority. So, in the end, we asked Erin to watch the Ipo doggie while we left for North Dakota. Praise to Erin for watching the Ipo doggie because Mom was really concerned the whole trip. The only thing Erin needs to work on is learning how to spot the vegetables among the growing weeds in the garden. I checked it yesterday, and came away with several large zucchinis and tomatoes.

Prior to leaving, we coordinated our trip with Leslie, Troy, and the family. We planned to meet up in Buffalo, WY. They had their agenda and made it to Wyoming alright. We did alright, making it to the hotel earlier in the day. We had a fun time visiting and had dinner together. The next morning, we switched navigators, little buddy was my first officer and worked the navigation using the Garmin GPS, or as Mom called it, "your lady." It has a ladies voice giving directions.

Little buddy and I drove to Devils Tower National Monument and waited for the rest of the family to finish their fabric shopping to join us. We had a great time. I was very impressed with little buddy's rightfulness or honesty. We had the opportunity to park in a more convenient spot using Mom's handicapped parking placard, but little buddy thought that wouldn't be honest, so we didn't use the parking card. He did a great job navigating.

After visiting the monument, the rest of the family caught up and then we split up again, this time, Mom and I drove to North Dakota to Minot, while the rest of the family went further into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Later they came up to Minot and we again had a grand time with all the children playing together. We had a fun visit with our Minotian family.

We celebrated Bun's birthday early so the family could participate, visited Canada, looked for missile silos (interesting stuff), visited the North Dakota State Fair, and visited, shopped, and played together. We thank Nikki and Dan and their family to sharing their home with us. We certainly enjoyed our visit and sad to have to part again. We miss them all. Those evenings playing "Catch Phrase" was a lot of fun.

On our trip home, we did a photography shoot of the countryside, and visited Yellowstone NP. It was a beautiful place to visit. We finally made it home and are glad we did.

Gas prices were high but not as high as I thought they would be, lowest was $3.88 in Wyoming, highest in South Dakota at $4.25 and the average was at $4.099. We did our best to find the cheapest places off the main roads. We're glad to make it home, everything was alright, and we need some rest now.
I'll post more pictures of the trip later.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"the grass is always greener"

We recently celebrated the "4th of July" Independence Day. The warm weather made it more of a necessity to stay in doors or go to a beach. Here in PG, we don't have a beach.Our daughter Erin and her family headed to camp up in the mountains. We used to love camping, when the family was younger and for economic reasons. Now that the children are grown, have their own families, and moved away, we don't camp much. If we do, it's at places like La Quinta, Ramada, Days Inn, etc.

Now there are some upsides to camping out doors, such as fresh air, building an out door fire, roasting hot dogs, marshmellows, making smores, etc. There's also the fun of setting up tents, packing everything but the kitchen sink, sleeping bags, bug repellant, food, ice chests, etc. Then there is the camp itself with bugs, bears, both in the tent and outside, finding a suitable potty, and the lack of all the conveniences of home.

Bottom line, if you like to camp out doors, have fun and have at it. Enjoy nature, the great out doors, and all the blessings of a fun camp. For those who don't anymore, be at peace indoors, with the cable TV, nearby refrigerator, a comfy bed, and a convenient potty.

Now moving on, ever since we decided to install our own automatic sprinkler system, I've been consumed with getting it put it. First there was the city charging us automatically for "secondary water" usage, even if we didn't yet use it, having to design the layout, getting all the parts, and more parts, the trenching, laying the polypiping, clamps, valves, funny pipe, connection tees, etc., etc.

Once you lay it out, install it, you've got to test it, hook up the wiring, and then its burying the trenches so the dog doesn't fall in it. It's on and on. With an automatic sprinkler system, the intent is that the water will come on when you want it to and you don't have to drag the water hose around.

So, what I've learned is that doing it yourself does save you money. Because we're doing it ourselves, we also get obsessed with making it do everything we want it to do, such as having 7 watering stations with the possibility of adding in another one in the future. All of the stations are wired in to the timer controls conveniently installed in the office. If I had purchased a different timer box, I could have had it controlled through our PC. Isn't that the height of laziness or is it a sign of technology in action?

Since we're on the last stages of completing the job, here are a few things I experienced:

  • If your clamps aren't secure, the hose will come off the connections and water will explode everywhere.

  • Polypipe is a hose but it's tough to insert connection tees or elbows. PVC is straight forward and cost less.

  • Water pressure varies at different times of the day due to others accessing the same water source, so adjusting your sprinkler spray can be tricky.

  • Trying to take advantage of this cheap water source can make one obsessed to dream up, design, and attempt to install water feeds to various portions of the garden or yard.

  • Burying the trenches as soon as you can will allow for your lawn to recover soonest.

  • What do you do with all those rocks that the trencher brought up?

  • You probably still have to get some topsoil to fill in some portions of the trench and grow some grass from seed. Last resort is to buy sod and trip and fill places.
So now that you've heard my rantings and ravings, I need to thank a few people who have helped make our yard what it will become shortly and not a yard of "death".
  • Mark, for helping with the bulk of the work, like helping with the trenching and wiring.
  • Erin, for telling make to come and help.
  • Jo, for trying to help with the filling in the trenches, even with her being tired and aching and for insisting to install the sprinkler system.
  • Jase, for spending some of his vacation helping to fill in the trenches and install a couple of sprinkler heads.
  • Grandkids Klailea, Rykell, George, Henry, and Teddy, for picking up rocks from the yard.
  • Bubba and Ipo for laying down a few mines in the yard.

One day soon, we hope that the great lawn will be revived enough to resemble a yard again without weeds and be green with lush Kentucky Bluegrass. We hope the well worn foot path that Ipo has made along the back of the house will be filled in with lush grass. And lastly that our yard will look like a realy yard for the grandkids to enjoy.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The 4th, sprinkler heads, recovery, dog sitting, and fireworks

Today is the 4th of July and like many, we are taking it easy on this holiday.  We turned down an opportunity to join Erin & Mark and the boys camping up at Granite Flats in AF Canyon.  I bet the temperature is at least 5 - 10 degrees cooler than here in PG.
Since we didn't go camping, we get to dog sit the "huli-huli" black dog, Bubba.  He is high energy, puppy type and tries to rule everything in the house, even the likes of Ipo.  
Today, I didn't make it to the annual hot air balloon lift off in Provo, or even the big Freedom Festival Parade.  We aren't even going to the big Stadium of Fire show at Cougar Stadium with Miley Cyrus.  Tickets for that were long gone on the day they first came out with them.  
So, instead, tonight we will be walking down to the Junior High to watch the city fireworks show. I am going to try some night photography of the fireworks.  Hope they come out well.  
Since Rachel and Jase and family left, our home has been quiet and with hardly any activity but working on the sprinkler system after work every day.  The major part is done and I still need to finish the great lawn area, a drip system for the terrace area, and a feeder line out to the garden area.  Mark and Jase helped alot, so when it is done, I won't have to get up at all hours to do irrigation.  
I've included some pictures of Rachel's family visit here to Utah.  It was great to see them and enjoy the kids.  They are so smart and fun. We had fun at the PG Strawberry Days carnival.  The kids had a blast.  We also got to celebrate Klailea's birthday a little early since they were here with family.  The kids really enjoyed the games and treats that Rachel set up.  
It was sad to see them leave for Hawaii.  We don't get to see them much but this time, it was just great getting to know our granddaughters and grandson.  And how fast they grow up.   
We hope you all have a great 4th of July celebration and a safe one.