Thursday, July 24, 2008

I thought that I would start this blog with the last thing I can remember doing, which is worth telling.

I went on a cruise in March with a shlode of friends to Catalina Island and Ensanada Mexico (dirty place).

This is Grant and myself jumping and clicking our heels in a fit of joy because our cruise was about to start.

I really don't have any sweet stories to tell you about this adventure. We mostly ate until we couldn't breath anymore when we would try to tie our shoes. We rented some bikes and rode around the whole island and that was a blast. Grant and I rode to a little peak that is there and had a very good view of the whole east shore of the island and also of the route we had to ride our bikes down in order to return to our group. It was amazing.

Ensenada was...fine.

Here's a video of Grant and myself on our bike time and what kind of mischief we got ourselves into. This isn't really that cool of a video but I wanted to try putting one on this blog thingy.

After that Tiffany and I got engaged on Memorial day up at the cabin. I don't have a picture of it but I think Hilary has the first picture taken after we were engaged. We still had to take pictures for our invitation and we both started getting bored until we found some statues to play with. One is tickling me and it looks like Tiffany is about to lay one on this old metal man.

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this sweet time with me. Thank you.

Friday, July 18, 2008


A few weekends ago we got the amazingly unexpected opportunity to go to New York City with some friends from Vermont. Their daughter dances in the American Ballet Theater and got tickets for all of us to go see her dance in, "The Merry Widow." They were box seats too which was an extra fun surprise! We went to central park where Enoch found a water fountain to play in. He went shorts-less the rest of the day because they were soaked through,
as you can see in the family picture at the fountain. We went to F.A.O. Schwartz where we finally found some little construction trucks for Enoch.

He also tried to play on the "Big," piano, you know the movie "Big?" That day was the 4th of July and we got to watch the Macy's firework show from Roosevelt island. We got to take a tram over the East river! Although it sprinkled through most of it, we had a great time, and Enoch slept on the subway the whole way home.

The next day we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which didn't last long with Enoch...apparently walls of old pictures are not entertaining for a one-and-a-half year old. I caught a blurring pic of him standing in front of a Jackson Pollock painting though. That was after his tantrum in the VanGough room.
Before we left we took a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and to Ellis Island, two very moving memorials. A person feels connected at Ellis Island, connected to their past because their ancestry most likely walked those halls. At times it felt almost reverent.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and so did our trip.

It was followed with more house renovations and a fun little discovery of blackberries in our backyard. Enoch B-lines for the bushes now whenever we go outside.

I thought that called for a real berry picking outing, so we went to a farm and picked strawberries. Mmm-mmm-mmm JAM!
It's rained pretty consistently the last couple months. One day we walked in the backyard where Enoch learned about the joys of puddles.

Things are going well in the east. We love you all!

Monday, July 7, 2008

News from Headquarters

Hi everyone,

Sorry to not be contributing much lately (ever). There isn't much going on here that seems of interest. We don't take our camera to work or the grocery store so I don't have any for now. Just to keep you all up on a few events:
I just got back from spending 3 days with Grandma K while Ken and Marianne were in Colorado helping Nathan and Charisse pull of a 4th of July neighborhood breakfast that Nathan got started in his neighborhood. She is doing well, walking every day up and down the foothills of Provo, hair appointments, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, cryptogram puzzles, reading, and generally keeping busy. We set up a quilt for Brian and Tiffany so Rosena and other family members can work on it while there with Grandma.
Dad and I are going to the Tetons this Wednesday for about 5 days (we'll try to take some pictures for you), and Dad is leaving for a week long training trip in Tucson the day after we get back. I'm having a hard time squeezing in one night a week to work.
Wedding plans are moving along nicely. I hope you all got your invitations. My next big priority is to get them addressed and send out between all the trips Dad wants to take.
Aunt Una Loy is having more severe problems with dementia and Grandpa still doesn't want to put her in care facility. She doesn't know him anymore but he is thinking he can handle it with cooking and cleaning help. We'll see. He still refuses to move closer to either family for help. It may take a car accident and losing his drivers license or other major disaster to get him to see that he needs more help than what an outside agency can give him.
We look forward to seeing all of you in August. I miss you all and love you all very much. You are the light of my life!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Oregon Vacation

A cool thing about working for the government is that sometimes you find out that you "have to" take some days off. I had 3 "Personal business" days that I had to use by the end of June or else they would be lost forever.

I thought a family camping trip to Lava Lands in central Oregon near Bend sounded like a good example of "personal business."

This part of Oregon is in the Eastern foothills of the Cascade range around Bend and Sisters. You drive through this area if you take highway 20 from Boise to Corvallis. This area is in the rain shadow of the cascades so it is very dry, and coming down the back side of Mt. Hood, the switch from lush, green, traditional Oregon, to sagebrushy desert is very sudden and striking. Without a map, you would never believe you were still in the same state.
Joseph was a pretty happy camper the first day. He liked his little camping chair a lot, and he really liked the novelty of eating yogurt outside.

I am a firm believer that camping isn't camping unless all the men and boys come back covered in dirt. Joseph agrees with me. During our campfire the first night, he was making dust angels.

Here is the result of his work. In the light of the flashlight it shows up very well. Speaking of the flashlight. He also invented a dance. He was in some kind of manic phase until 10:30 PM when I finally had to tackle him and hold him down long enough for his blood to slow down so he could sleep.

The next morning, we really got out to see things. Our first stop was Lava Butte, which a Butte made of lava. It is actually the volcanic cone that spewed forth all of the lava that you will see in later pictures. As you can see, this erruption was hard on the surrounding forest, and it never really recovered. All during this trip, I kept thinking that we should have brought Jo's Dad with us. He is a real geology buff, and I think he would really get a kick out of this place.

Our take was a little bit more poetic and concluded that it looked a lot like the apocolypse. There was a little paved trail through this rubble, which was nice because it would have been really hard on any pair of shoes. We learned from a sign that the Appollo astronauts trained for the lunar landing on this terrain. Joseph fell and scraped his knee and foot in this stuff, but he was pretty tough.

We drove to the top of the cone. Behind Joseph and me you can see the oposite lip of the crater and forest below the cone behind that. Pretty neat! It was very hot and dry, and right after this picture we started looking for water and people were getting a little grumpy. Another fun thing about this part of Oregon is all the chipmunks, which in Josephese are called "monkey-chips." (They climb trees, right?)
The next stop was something I really wish Jo's Dad could have seen. It is called the lava cast forest because a lava flow engulved a stand of trees and hardened around the trunks. Over time, the wood rotted away leaving these holes, or casts, of the trees that used to be there. Joseph fit nicely inside them.

By this point, we hadn't found any water, and we were really hurting for some. We kept thinking that the next spot would have a vistor center with a drinking fountain, but nope!

We still had enough juice in us, though to check out this "Glass Mountain" part of the park. There was this whole mountainside of obsidian. All that shiny stuff on the hill next to the stair case is actually natural glass (obsidian) made during a very recent volcanic erruption. It is the most recent point of volcanic activity in the area.

If you look behind Jo, who is holding a very light peice of pumice, you can see more of the very black, shiny obsidian on the hillside.

This is what those shiny boulders look like close-up.

We finally found some water. Thus refreshed, we found this waterfall called Paulina Falls. Joseph's objective was to get over the railing and fall over the cliff before his Dad could catch him. He almost succeeded, but I was qicker!

It was really hot and sunney the whole time we were out. Our camp spot was right next to the Deschutes River, which is very cold. When we got back to camp, I soaked in it for a bit and came out feeling numb and tingley all over. It was very refreshing. I felt very "alive."

We all slept like the dead that second night.

The next day, we went home, traveling through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. They have a very nice museum there (funded by the nearby casino) that explains a lot about the cultures of the three tribes who share the reservation. The tribes are the Warm Springs People, the Wasco Tribe, and the Paiutes. The Wasco Tribe were originally further north in the Columbia River gorge, and their culture is very centered around salmon and other fish in the Columbia. The Warm Springs people fished the Deschutes and other tributaries of the Columbia along the Columbia Plateau (also called the High Desert). Their culture rotated around 3 major food harvesting seasons: 1- fishing season (during the salmon runs), 2- Root digging season (spring), and 3- Berry picking season (fall I guess). They would move their villages into proximity to these food sources at the appropriate times.

The Paiutes were a very nomadic people and traveled all the time in smaller family groups with occasional gatherings of larger extended families around feast times and for religious ceremonies. The Paiutes were put onto this reservation later and with the permission of the other two.

On our way out of the museum, we asked the guy at the cash register if he knew of a good place to eat lunch. He let us know that, as luck would have it, we were there on the day of the annual Pow-wow, so there were all kinds of food booths and stuff set-up in town for that. Admission to the Pow-wow was free, and Jo and I have always wanted to go to one, so we went. It was a lot of fun. There were a lot of activities going on around town, but the main event seemed to be the dance and drumming competitions. It was kind of neat because the drumming circles were judged simultaneously with the dancers who were dancing to their music. The drum circles looked like this. Because it was so hot, all the drum circles were set up under little tent gazebos.
Basically, a bunch of men sat around a central drum and all pounded on it together while doing some awesome Native American singing. The singing really grabbed me emotionally somehow. It just felt so viceral.

The dancing was really great too, and I was really happy to see teenagers and little kids in traditional garb and participating. We heard some people speaking native languages, and that was neat too. I now that in many areas of the country native peoples are losing their culture, so I was really happy to see the young people participating and carrying on their traditions. Jo and I are both really fascinated by the many Native American cultures. We got to know the Senecca culture pretty well while in Western New York, so we were happy for this chance to get some exposure to the native tribes indigenous to central Oregon.

The rest of the drive home was pretty, but uneventful.

Hope to see many of you soon. We'll be in Utah August 4-8th.

We're expecting a baby any time now. Last night we had dinner with our birth mom. She is really great, and is getting pretty big. She has to turn sideways to hug us now. I think she's getting pretty uncomfortable and ready for the little one to come out.