Friday, September 26, 2014

emergency selfies

I recently read an article regarding selfies in an emergency situation.
"For many frightened air passengers, the best part about surviving a plane incident is living to tweet about it."
Suzanne and I ended a trip recently and walked into an emergency situation at the airport.  A gunman from an robbery in Tempe had ended a police chase by abandoning his car at the airport and tried to get lost in the crowd.  (Unfortunately, he was trying to get lost in a building that has an abundance of surveillance cameras. His picture was plastered all over the news stations - a red shirt and dreadlocks. One picture showed him having taken off his shirt, but a bare chested man with dreadlocks doesn't blend into the crowd either).
Anyway, so we ended our flight, got off the plane and found the pedestrian traffic stopped at the end of the hallway.  There was no communication (announcements, loudspeakers etc) and we were left to figure out what was going on. One salesman at a kiosk felt he had a captive audience to sell his credit card with bonus frequent flier miles. One woman who looked like she was dressed as an airport employee, but was actually a bank employee, also selling frequent flier miles, yelled out at the crowd: "You all have phones! Look it up yourself ! It's on the news. Quit asking me!"
So Suzanne and I found a comfortable bench to send out messages on facebook and chat with our friends about being on lock down at the airport. Some friends hadn't heard that anything was going on, Other friends had more information and were sending us links to the local new station to read what the current situation was. The situation could have been so much worse, we could have been locked down in the plane before we were released into the airport (which I think happened to some flights - that would have made me crazy and claustrophobic!) We were actually in a safe wing of the airport, so that obviously could have been worse. And even when we were shuttled out of the building, it wasn't a 110 degree day in August, so that could have been worse too.  
Suzanne and I entertained ourselves sending pictures on facebook and doing a crossword puzzle and reading.  When we were finally released, I was worried that the baggage claim area would be a mess with all the flights coming in for a couple hours. But we will never know if they were a mess, because we were directed downstairs, and then straight out of the building!  No information, no direction, just "get out".  People were saying we were getting bussed somewhere.  It really was weird to be escorted out of a building and then buses started coming to the curb and . . . I guess we were supposed to get on the bus??  Anyway, we took the airport bus to the Light Rail Station, bought a one-way ticket to Central Phoenix and asked Brady to come get us down at Camelback. Brady had tried to come to the airport to pick us up before we realized what was going on. He said he couldn't get near the terminal and the traffic was crazy and congested, so we sent him back home until things smoothed out. We drove back down to the airport later that evening to retrieve our luggage. I felt sorry for the baggage claims personnel. What a mess!
Apparently Suzanne and I are of the opinion that selfies and cameras are appropriate in an emergency. I suppose we weren't really in an emergency, just a "situation". But I think getting our cameras out to document life - good, bad, or otherwise - is something that is more and more prevalent. 
"So what do you think of plane emergency selfies: Do they make light of a serious situation? Or are they a cool way to celebrate survival — and to let loved ones know you’re okay."

overheard

Talking about Topher's server, how big is was, how much storage it had - "He could scan himself right into it and still have room left over . . .  He could Willy Wonka himself!"

We were talking about Dave's Steel Toed Boots, and then the conversation flowed toward Steel toed Flip Flops and Steel toed toe socks.

In a game, a questions was: How many miles around the equator of the earth? After we figured out the correct answer, Dave said:"With the miles on my truck, I've driven around the world about 6 times!"

Talking about a documentary on farming and how awful the poultry business is:
". . . Foster Farms and what are the other ones? Pepperidge Farm -- no, wait, that would be a documentary about goldfish crackers."

Talking about a documentary involving whales and dolphins in captivity.
Dave:"They're taken care of and fed, aren't they?"
Kyle: "Well, we could put you in the bath tub and  bring you a sandwich every day."

Melanie: Did you have fun in San Francisco?
Brady: 'Yeah'.
Melanie: Did you take any pictures?
Brady: 'Two'.
(apparently it was an amazing and life-changing trip)

I actually read this on a Craig's list advertisement: "Cooked chicken drum sticks and thighs. I bought two boxes for my family and we only ate one.  It comes with about 6 pieces."  (I don't think someone was selling it, just giving away some extra food, but still, . . . .  ewwww)

"I just drank a sip of eggnog and my stomach is churning."
 "Next time I'll just buy you egg nog jelly beans instead of egg nog milk"

We were taking about a train that goes clear across Canada - like a cruise ship, but a train.
"What do you do all day? On a ship, you can go to movies or go swimming, but what do you do on a train?"
"Throw Rocks"

Road sign - Strong Crosswinds Possible  "I read that sign: Strong Crossword Puzzles. . . . Puzzles? ok . . . Bring it on!"

"Do fishes fart?"

Mel --"Your car sounds like a carnival ride".

Mel --"It looks like an albatross pooped on my car".

Rachel -- "This was easier when we were five" (fort building)
This comment isn't necessarily funny. The humor is that they were building a fort, from which they were planning to watch a movie.

the crowded house

I was going through my list of blog entries and found a post that I apparently never hit the "Publish" button.  It is from 2 years ago, but full of fun memories, so I'm going to share it 2 years late. 
 
 I'm posting more pictures from our reunion. It's a little much, I know. but if not a post about a reunion, the only thing left to post about is sales tax forms and collection calls. That's about all that's going on in my life this week.
We went on a road trip with these crazies. Our four kids, of course, and their cousin Ben. Plus Dave and I. And we picked up Dave's brother Eric on the way too.
Ben lives in Florida, flew to Phoenix and took a roadtrip with us. I couldn't imaging flying west across the country, then driving north across the country. Too much traveling for me. I am becoming kind of a baby about long trips. I'm probably going to be an old lady that doesn't like the long drive to Mesa. I'm glad it wasn't too much travel for him, because we really enjoyed spending time with him. I wish his wife and kids could have come too.
The reason for this trip was the upcoming 90th birthday of Dave's dad. (Thank Chelsea for the cool cake)
There were a lot of people coming to celebrate with him. I saw this book in the living room, the title seemed kind of appropriate. As you can see, the house got a bit crowded and spilled out into the back yard.
There were a couple people I didn't get a clear view of their face, because there was a camera in use most of the time.

As reunions go, there is time for 3 brothers who live in 3 different states to spend some time together.


There were some games going on - I'm not sure what the rules were, but the point would be use great force to see how high you could send the kickball into the atmophere while on the swingset. The other rule would be to make sure the ball was sent "skyward" and not toward the women relaxing in the lawn chairs nearby.

We spent one morning (about 12 of us) at an indoor gun range in town. Can I say that was a lot of fun? I've never done that before. You can see from the picture below how well I am doing.
                                       
(Just kidding Tamera. You were awesome!)

We had a picnic breakfast at Justice Park where the boys would often go when they were growing up.


Of course there was some raspberry picking in Grandpa's garden!

There was some barbequeing in the back yard as well.

I don't think the swings ever stopped.

There were a bazillion pictures taken of this beautiful sweet little thing (Aleah). And all but one were happy. So I'm going to post it .
Delos and 3 of the 5 boys.
We are planning another get together in 4 years. That's probably logical to have big get-togethers spaced out over time because this family lives from the east coast to the west coast, but it is hard to go that long without seeing each other.  Good thing for blogs and facebook!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

this week

We had some crazy flooding in Phoenix recently. Some referred to it at the 'Hundred Year Flood'. That is a good name, and sounds dramatic to have that kind of flooding every 100 years, however, we had similar flooding in the first few years I moved to Phoenix, perhaps 35 years ago. So maybe it was the "Great 35 Year Flood".  The TV was all weather related news for 24 hours straight.  A year ago, Atlanta got an inch or two of snow and it shut the city down.  The whole country laughed a bit at that (not understanding the whole situation, of course), but I think the whole country was laughing at Phoenix for shutting down with 2 inches of rain.

The rain and flooding started about 2 or 3 am, so it was pretty severe as we started our day. Melanie left for school, got about 3 or 4 miles and received a text that school was cancelled, the campus was shut down so she turned around.  Those few miles took her 1 1/2 hours to circle around and get home. Kyle was driving in the same part of town and ended up at work 2 hours late.  Rachel zipped to work like every other day, and Roxanne won the prize - she got on the freeway for her regular 25 minute drive and got there in 8 minutes.  The freeway was empty (flooded sections closed behind her route). Brady was out of town and was surprised to hear the reports from northern California. He also was missing an important test at school so was relieved to hear that the campus had shut down and his vacation wouldn't adversely affect his grade.

On another note, Melanie needed a picture to send to her Mission President.  We couldn't find a reasonable picture anywhere in our files for the last year or two (they just needed a nice head shot, nothing fancy). It is very difficult for this girl to smile into the camera.  Not only were our files full of silly pictures, but when we went out into the yard to take a specific picture for her Mission President, the photo shoot started out like this:


I'm not sure her Mission President knows what he's getting with this girl!

letter to the tooth fairy

I was looking for some artwork in the kids' memory boxes, so I sat down and enjoyed a trip down memory lane looking through the kids saved projects, pictures and stories.
I found a few funny notes. Some I'm not sure what was going on in our family one year. Perhaps we were particularly poor??  And there seems to be an unsympathetic tooth fairy.

Dear tooth fairy,
can you give me 3 dollars because what I need is for lunchs at school.
love Roxanne
write back to me

Dear Roxanne,
Here is some money for one lunch.  Maybe you could save some money or do some more chores for more money.  This is a very nice tooth.  It looks like a front tooth.  Smile a Lot!  love the Tooth Fairy

Dear Santa clause,
for christmas what I really really, really want is on my list with a star by it.  But I have not had a Jeep for 3 or 4 years. Pease can you get me one? If I don't get one I'll probably be very upset. I don't want to be grumpy on Christmas.
write back
love, Roxanne
write back
p.s. Please can you get me a jeep?

Dear Hale Children-
Hey Where's the cookies? And the milk? Well, I helped myself to some cocoa- hope you don't mind (I had to even go through your cupboards to find a cup).
Enjoy your toys. Your house looks different this year, you weren't sleeping in the same rooms (I think I almost woke up your Grandma)
Have a Merry Christmas
and a fun New Year!
Santa
P.S. Roxanne-- It's not a "Barbie Jeep" but I hope you have fun with it (and I hope you let your little sister ride it sometimes)
(Don't be grumpy on Christmas)

Dear parents,
it was so late I couldn't vacume well I could but I was too tired. So I stayed up ti about 11:15 doing my room but tomorrow I will vacume as well as I can and make sure it stays like that the whole day. I want to make you proud.
love, Roxanne
I love you
(age 9) (I guess I was a slave driver - making my 4th grade daughter stay up through the middle of the night to clean her room!)

I have a letter from Roxanne's Grandpa Hale.  It is in response to a letter Roxanne had written. Roxanne was age 5 1/2 and apparently had written about the pinewood derby, sleeping on the top bunk, and playing in a tree house.  His letter is adorable. He has not been able to communicate (think and write) well for some years so it's fun to remember his 'old' self. He was surprised that she wasn't scared to sleep on a top bunk, he suggested a movie she might like etc. However, he has always had a side of his communication that is distinctly his, for instance, besides responding to the info in her letter, he also included this information to a 5 year old:
It is time to do a lot of work in the raspberries.  Raspberries grow new canes to have fruit on every year and I must take out the old canes and the smaller weak plants so we will get a good crop.   A couple of weeks ago we had a few warm days and I set out a double row of strawberries.  I humped the dirt up so it was for or five inches high and about two feet wide.  Then I covered that with black plastic and put dirt on it along the edges so the wind wouldn't bow it away. Then I cut an "X" in it about four inches on each cut and set in a small strawberry plant and watered them. We saw this method used when we were in Australia dn I decided to try it.
Then the snow was on the ground last week I spread nitrogen on the lawn area.  As the snow melts it will dissolve the nitrogen and make the grass grow fast and green and thick so we will have a special lawn for you to pay on when you come this summer.
(It cracks me up that he told her the measurements in the garden and explained nitrogen for the lawn. He went on to tell her about optimal temperatures in the greenhouse to start his tomatoes , etc)

Anyway, it was fun to read letters and look at school papers and artwork and remember years gone by. I miss being a mother of small kids. Of course I look back and wish I had done some things differently, more effectively, more energetically, etc. But overall, they were fun years for me. I hope the kids will remember their childhood as fun years too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

things that get broken

There are reasons that we didn't have a lot of nice/fancy things in our home as the kids were growing up.  There is a lot of breakage of things as kids grow from infancy to adulthood.
The sheet rock on the hallway walls was always marred and dented.  Partly because it is a narrow hallway and any furniture that is moved, bumps the walls.  But mainly, I think most of the dents were from little feet.  A disciplined child often had to sit in the hallway.  It was just wide enough for a young child to sit with their back against one wall and kick the wall on the other side. Also because of a narrow style hallway, there were a few dents because of climbing activities.


Sometimes the kids didn't own up to broken things, or tried to play dumb, but sometimes they ratted each other out.
We came home one evening to this note:
Mom, Brady was kiking his sokrball and he kiked it relly hard and brok the back door window. I think bug's are going too come in. I am skrd. Belev me.
Love Roxanne
I could honestly feel her fear as I read "I am skrd. Belev me!" (this was a note I put in our 'save' box)

The strangest incident was a toilet that wouldn't flush.  At all, It would not even drain slow.  The drain was completely sealed closed.  When the toilet was disassembled and removed, we could see that the floor drain was not plugged, so it was the toilet itself.  The toilet was taken to the backyard to investigate the problem.  There was a leather baseball skin adhered to the curved drain in the base of the toilet.  Why??  How can that question ever be answered?  Why was the leather taken off the baseball? And why did someone feel a need to flush it down the toilet? And why would it adhere itself so tightly to the ceramic drain to cause us to spend an entire Saturday removing and reassembling a toilet?

Another evening, we came home to this note:
The toilet broke by Brady playing with it. It was just an accident. The glass (ceramic) broke. The water ran everywhere.  I turned the handle down at the bottom. It was hard but after the water just touched the brown tile I turned it. We cleaned it up best we could.  Sorry! Rachel
(how could we get mad when the water had been stopped, floored had been cleaned up, towels washed and dried?)

The list of broken items could go on and on:
Living room window - toddler throwing a set of car keys.
Van -- teenagers (enough said).
Trampoline -- expected, a lot of usage over the years.
Dishes - expected.
Spoons - always missing, kids must be selling them on the black market.
Wallpaper- brand new wallpaper put up in child's bedroom.  3 foot square ripped off before nap time was over on the very first day. 
Closet door - markers, has anyone raised kids without markers on the walls at some point?
Christmas stockings -- I used a pencil and was writing the kids names on the stockings so I could embroider over the writing.  Melanie decided to help me and wrote her name on hers in a child's handwriting with a black sharpie.
Glass top coffee table - children crawling under the table and trying to stand up while still under the table.
Carpet stains - inevitable. 
Brown swivel chair - a favorite chair. It swiveled, it rocked, it twirled. It was the most comfortable chair we owned. We kept it way after it was torn up and should have been tossed. 
Piano keys -- markers, chipped.  
FHE chart -- rotating pieces with our names on it to rotate weekly assignments.  Names often got lost/broken.
Blankets - taken outside, loved to death, worn out in so many ways.
Worn spots on the roof. teen kids liked to go outside of the upstairs bedroom and sit on the roof. A traffic pattern began to appear.

The kids are leaving the house one by one now, The house is becoming quiet. I'm kind of enjoying redecorating and carpeting, but I'm hoping one day there will be some grandkids running around with markers and loosing our spoons. 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Well, Melanie got her mission call yesterday.  She will be living on the other side of the earth in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  As we replayed the video (which I can't seem to download here) of her opening her assignment, we overheard each other saying "She's going to Czechoslovakia!"
I later learned a few things.  There hasn't been a Czechoslovakia for over 20 years. Does that embarrass me that we didn't know that?  Yes. Yes it does. (although in our defense, she said "Czech/Slovak", it sounds similar, right?) I thought it might have been a country on the Risk game board (our source of our basic geography knowledge growing up), but I just looked up images of current and older game boards and there has only been northern Europe and southern Europe, so I suppose our Czech knowledge really did come from 5th grade geography (pre-1993, when it really was Czechoslovakia)
On the video you can also hear us say it is in Eastern Europe.  Although it is more 'east' than some other European countries, it's really in the central region. The Czech Republic borders Germany and Austria. Rather than geographical differentiation, there are cultural and religious difference between the central European countries and eastern European countries.  Our friend Tom, from Holland, piped in and said it was not an Eastern European country.  I am sure in the next 2 years we are going to learn so much about an area of the world that truly is unfamiliar to us. The only thing I know about these 2 complete countries is that Prague is a beautiful city. That is very limited knowledge. I'm excited to start learning.
Melanie wants to learn 500 words before she gets to the Mission Training Center in December. (One college friend offered her help with the language. She said - I know one phrase in Czech I can help you with: "You a dumb boy!") Tom suggested looking up the famous poet, Franz Kafka. That might be fun to learn some poetry in the language.
When Brady opened his  mission call a few years ago, also with the possibility of serving anywhere in the world, I was surprised how relieved I was when he read his assignment -- Illinois. I didn't realize how anxious I was feeling about the possibility of him dealing with medical emergencies in a third world country or navigating roads and highways in a jungle. Illinois and Iowa were foreign enough for me. He loved the area and the people there.
We went to buy a map for Melanie today and while at the store, we were studying the globes they had on display.  Dave went on his mission to the northern island of Japan, the Sapporo Mission.  It is about 1/3 the way around the globe.  Melanie's mission is about 1/3 of the way around the globe in the other direction.
Although this is a modern and stable country, it is still so far, far away that I feel anxious sending our baby around the globe. She is competent and capable though and I know she will be an amazing missionary and an amazing ambassador for our church and our country.
Let the adventures begin!