Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy, Happy Day !!!!!!! The Amazing Race starts up again, Sunday night on CBS -- it's my all-time favorite show ever. Couples racing around the world, solving problems, conquering challenges, breaking language barriers, experiences countries and cultures and most of all - arguing. How can you spend weeks on the road with a loved one and not argue?
Dave and I started our Hawaiian vacation under travel duress last year. We flew into Honolulu, rented a car and drove to Waikiki and had to navigate to our hotel. Here is where the problem begins. We are completely unfamiliar with the island, with Waikiki, and with the Hawaiian language in general - pronunciations and spellings. I found that every street name started with a K or an L and then was followed by 7 vowels, then an H or an N then 4 more vowels and some apostrophes mixed in. By the time I figured out what the name of the street was on the map, we were 4 blocks past where we saw the street. I just calmly folded up the map and put it away. Dave finally noticed I was no longer navigating. I told him we were just going to have to drive up and down the streets of Waikiki until we happened to run across the Radisson Hotel. Very fortunately for us, the Radisson showed up within 5 minutes of our random searching. If it hadn't we would have been heading for an "amazing" navigational argument.
Speaking of the Hawaiian language. . . my most lovely baby sister lives in Hawaii with her hawaiian husband and a bunch of beautiful hawaiian babies. (ok, some aren't babies anymore, but they are beyond beautiful!) I received a baby announcement for her 4th baby, their first boy. The photo was adorable, and under it was listed the date and time of his birth, his length and weight. Then his name was printed out in big bold letters - KAHIAU. (Admit it, . . . you can't pronounce it either.) I sent her an e-mail and said Hey, I need a pronunciation guide for his name. She responds very sweetly - it's pronounced just like it's spelled. (Hmmm . . . that didn't help). With them living in Hawaii, we don't get to see them very often, so two years go by before we ever see this little guy in person. . . and I still don't know how to pronounce his name. I think that there are some rules of behavior that state you can't ask your own sister the name of her child after 2 years. So I spent the morning listening for someone to say his name. I heard things like "Hey you little monkey" or "Hey little brother" and many other non-name references. I was about to give in to forever calling him "Hey little monkey" when I finally heard my sister say his name loud and clear (in english is sounds like Ka-hee-ow). As the name is a little bit different, it doesn't initially roll off the tongue. I had to practice, practice, practice so today I can proudly state that I can perfectly pronounce the names all 5 of my Hawaiian nieces and nephew, Kamalei, Kokia, Keona, Kahiau and Kapilina -- Amazing!

Monday, October 29, 2007

scary mary


Thursday, October 25, 2007


There is a lot of junk on the door of our fridge. Papers and pictures of all sorts pop up under the magnets. We hang all the wedding/graduation/birthday/birth announcements there. They don't come down very often. They stay up if the card is especially cute or if there is a photo included. I think we just took down last May's high school/college graduation announcements. Our nieces are just so cute we left their photos up. (Actually, Suzanne's Easter card is still there).

Although we have no grade school children bringing home finger painting masterpieces anymore, there is still a funny cartoon or sketch that will show up. Occasionally, an especially good report card will be posted.

But this month, we had another addition to our refrigerator collection. The title? "Birthday Wishlist"

Back in the day, we would take the Sears catalog and circle the items we wished for near Christmastime or our birthday. I don't remember receiving any specific items from the lists we made. In fact, I'm not sure my parents ever ordered from Sears. We had our own retail store and I'm sure every birthday gift we ever received was processed through our own cash registers at our own store. We always received tube socks. Think about that . . . . tube socks!!! Never a gift-giving holiday went by that we didn't receive tube socks. My parents could have re-named the store: "Whipples Family Fashions -- the Tube Sock Specialists". Lest my mother should see this . . . yes, we did receive other gifts-a-plenty.

OK . . . so this wish list on the fridge. If the total number of wishes were fulfilled, we would spend $507.00 (plus shipping and tax). How do I know this so exactly? This list has the prices conveniently posted next to each item. The prices are posted right next to the stock number, the color photo and the brand name. It would seem that it would have to be an unusually long and extensive list. Not so. Just six items. It seems that the needs of a college student are much pricier than the needs of our 8th grader.

The list concludes with a note " . . . OR money to go towards any of these items".

I think I'm going to go back to the tube sock tradition.

So Rachel is turning 21 today. She told us a while back "It will be cool to turn 21. I will be able to do everything . . . except rent a car". So what will be different for her this year from last? Not much. She is now old enough to rent a hotel room all by herself when she travels, but she can't rent a car (age 25 is the normal limit there). She doesn't drink, so nothing new with the age change there. She almost failed her written driving test when she was 16 even though she had thoroughly studied the handbook. She said she got all the DUI questions wrong. "I knew I'd never drink so I didn't study that section" . But what will be different is that she will end this year with an associate degree, which is pretty cool. In fact, she will be completing that in just a few weeks, halfway to a Bachelor's degree -- with many of the basic classes out of the way, now she can focus on music. She recently bought a new car, ok . . . not new, but less old than her old car. She has a whole lot of new, fun, adventurous friends. She is attending an incredible ward. She is becoming a very accomplished musician. Her grades are fantastic, her sisters love her to death, she is out with friends every night of the week, she is smart, funny and beautiful. What a way to start your adult life!

Happy Birthday Rachel!

For more info on this beautiful daughter of mine (or to wish her a Happy Birthday):

Thursday, October 18, 2007


What started out as bored teenagers with a camera ended up as a three-day competitive jumping contest. . . kids trying to out-do their parents, uncles trying to out-do their nephews. The angle was to see who could have the most creative mid-air shot.

I ran across these photos the other day and I don't know if we've shared them with the family. It was a fun addition to our family reunion. Here are some of my favorites: Elizabeth had to do this jump about 7 times. Each time she would jump in with a joyous "TA DAAA!" Then she would she would come up out of the water (coughing and sputtering) and ask me if I got a good picture of her. Unfortunately her jumping expertise was much better than my photography expertise and she had to repeat her plunge again and again (each time equally joyous). You can't tell from the photo, but I was worrying about her water-filled lungs before we were done capturing that jump.

What could be better than a family reunion?


UUUUGGGHHH!! Our neighborhood is getting infested with these things!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

i'm way too old

I received a birthday party invitation this past summer. I was surprised to find out it was for my Grandpa. It was to celebrate 100 years from his birth! What was surprising about that invitation was that he had passed away over 10 years ago. Our extended family was being invited to get together to celebrate and commemorate the life of a great man.
A hundred years is a LONG LONG time, but made me realize how old I am. I am closely associated with someone who was born 100 years ago! And not just associated in a distant, pedigree-chart kind of way, but I lived with my grandparents during college, I have fond memories of my grandpa as a fun and vibrant man.

My other grandfather was born in 1900. I always thought that was a cool year to be born -- it was easy to remember his age when I was a kid. But that puts him at 107 this year.

So who else have we been associated with in our lifetime?
Ronald Reagan would have been 96 years old this year.

That may not surprise you, but John F Kennedy was always the epitome of youth and vigor. He wasn't much younger than Reagan . . . he was born in 1917 and would have been 90 years old this year.

David O. McKay was the prophet when I was a child. He would have been 134 years old this year.

Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne are two great American icons that were both born the same year as my grandfather -- 1907. Although well known to me, they probably wouldn't be recognized by my children by name or by sight (even John Wayne's very recognizable voice is unfamiliar to them). In 1907, World War I was still several years away.

Here's a tidbit of information that may help you in a game of trivia one day. UPS was founded in 1907. Who knew? (Who cares?)

It shouldn't surprise me that we are all aging. It's a fact of life. It just surprises me that the numbers are looming so big. Half of my siblings have passed the 50 year mark. Luckily several of us are so much more youthful and have a ways to go to that mark. We'll all get there soon enough . . .

In the meantime, let's just enjoy the ride!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween Party? or Fall Festival?

Halloween is a strange holiday. On the one hand, it glorifies "the dark side," and celebrating it is probably a sure way to condemn your soul to eternal suffering in a fiery pit. On the other hand, there's all that candy.
(Clever wording copied directly from a little American Greetings card sitting here on my desk).

It really is a strange holiday. I always thought I liked Halloween. You know what, though? I kind of don't. I don't really like trick-or-treating. Fortunately, our kids have finally aged out of that activity for the most part. Halloween parties are ok, but kind of useless. (Did I say Halloween Party? I meant Fall Festival. I really don't see a difference in the activity, but the schools/churches/neighborhoods seem to think the name is more politically correct) I personally don't like wearing costumes. I'm quite a party-pooper and haven't worn a costume in years.

Carving pumpkins is fun, but cleaning up the mess after the unavoidable pumpkin seed fight is not fun. And disposing of a pumpkin that has been decomposing on the porch for days is definitely not fun. (btw, the photo at the top was a pumpkin carved by Roxanne)

But . . . I LOVE making costumes with the kids. Our photo albums are full of princesses, spiders, cowboys, clowns, hobos, pirates, angels, skunks and of course, PEACOCKS:
Rachel, the Peacock
Brady, the Peacock
Roxanne, the Peacock

Unfortunately, the bird costume died before Melanie was born and the peacock tradition sadly passed on, too.

Katie, didn't I tell you that hand-me-down costumes are a fine family tradition?
Here is Cindy, the clown

and Curtis, the clown

What kind of indestructible fabric could these had possibly been made from? I know Lauri and Garry had to have worn it too!

Then in some cruel twist of fate, I seem to have graduated from the green clown costume to the red clown costume!

For my own kids, the most dangerous costume by far was Rachel's Pippi Longstockings. She had a coat hanger wire wound over her head and down each braid. She quickly learned the lethal effects of a quick head turn.

My all time favorite was Melanie's costume last year . She will try anything. She spent the whole evening walking like a 90 year old woman and animating her face like an infant. She cracks me up!

So . . . I guess I'll put up with all the less desirable aspects of this crazy holiday. I've got to get busy making a Ghost Busters Jumpsuit for Melanie.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

the new 'me'

I have a new secret identity.
I've had an issue with my name recently. I was originally named Cynthia. The story goes that my dad agreed to that name on the condition that it would never be shortened to "Cindy". I don't know how old a child is before she has an abililty to form memories, but my name was shortened to "Cindy" before that time.
Cindy has always sounded like a little girl name to me. There is only one song that I know of that uses the name:
I wish I was an apple,
a-hangin' on a tree
and every time my Cindy passed,
she'd take a bite of me
Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
I'll marry you some day.
(What is the meaning behind that song, really . . . ?)

There are many Cindys in the world -- too many really. I could differentiate myself with the more formal name. In the meantime, Ms. Tanner and I address each other as "Cindi, with an eye" and "Cindy, with a why".
My friend, Suzanne, had a successful name change at some point between her youth and her adult life. Her family and childhood friends still call her Suzy, but to the rest of the world, she has become Suzanne.
I was not consciously aware that there was an appropriate time frame to submit a name change. So I started my adult life as Cindy. I know someday if we retire and move to a new city, I will introduce myself with a new name. However, I don't know if that will ever happen. And I know I can't ask my friends of 20 years to call me something new. The next best choice is to have multiple identities. I recently joined a new "club" - I was new to the group and no one knew me . . . not from church, not from school, not from our neighborhood. It was a clean break -- I became Cynthia for a whole day. Now I have to train Dave when to address me by which name. If he can be successfully trained, then we're good to go!

boy toys

There is an interesting conversation that we've had with many friends and family in the past few weeks. It plays out pretty much the same way each time the topic comes up. It goes something like this:
Dave: "Do you want to see the tractor I bought?"
Friends: (momentary surprised silence -- then they break eye contact with Dave and turn their heads in my direction and lock eyes with me while still speaking to Dave) . . . "You bought a tractor?"
I am guessing they want to see my reaction to the fact that Dave has a tractor. Yes, I am aware, at this point, that Dave has purchased some tractors (notice the plural? yes, there is more than one) and I have come to peace with it.
Friends: "What are you going to do with a tractor?"
To understand the surprise in their voices you have to understand that we live in central Phoenix, the sixth largest city in the country, very urban, very inner-city. Our house sits on a typical averaged-sized city lot. Our neighbor's home sits approximately 20 feet from ours. There is not an empty lot nor open acreage for miles in any direction. So what is the tractor for? No one has quite figured that out yet. Dave calls it a "Nuper" (NUPR - No useful purpose, really).

He has been accused of going through a mid-life crisis. If that truly what it is, I think there are a lot worse things that could be enticing to a man in his 40's. However, I think it has just come to a time that he gets to focus on his own interests for a while. Dave has been truly disciplined over the years - I don't think he stepped inside a convenience store for over 10 years -- no soda, no junk food. He was willing to take lunches from home and drive old cars and trucks to make ends meet. While our kids have had braces and school trips and we've paid for home improvements and car insurance for multiple teenagers, he has put his own interests on the back burner. He has worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs at times and has always put family first. Now . . . 2007 has become the "The Year of ME !". And why not?
The tractor that he is restoring is actually a type of tractor that his dad used on his farm in Idaho. It is an Allis Chalmers Model G. It was designed for use by small farmers in 1948 and was sold for about 8 years. It has interchangeable implements so a farmer could use one machine for multiple purposes. Now, if we could only figure out its purpose for our yard.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

secret diary

Gone, I suppose, are the days of a diary with a lock on the side. We would hide our little book under the mattress and place the key in a box in the back of the closet. It was completely taboo to read someone's journal. What has the world come to? Actually encouraging our friends to read about our daily lives? I'm not sure there will be much to read here of interest to anyone else, but this will be my attempt to capture an occassional glimpse into the lives of the Hale family.
My mother was not a journal writer. We have a brief, but hilarious, series of letters she wrote to her mother during a week long camping trip when we were small. It is one of the few pieces of writing we have of hers. (I don't know that she was a germ-a-phobe, per se, but I think she still liked her 4 small children to be pristinely clean for any photo opportunity that came along. It is hilarious to read of her Herculean effort to accomplish that level of cleanliness out in the northern California forest.) Anyway . . . my second mom is a wonderful woman who also in a Herculean effort got all 9 of us to adulthood. However she, too, is not a journal writer (unless she has a secret diary stashed under her mattress). She is a great mom and has had a fascinating life and it would be cool to read her thoughts and her take on the crazy, fun, complicated and wonderful life we all lived and survived together.
My sister and I have vowed to remedy this problem of omission and break the non-writing cycle. I think Lauri has done a much better job journaling and record keeping than I have. My writing efforts have been hit and miss over the years. So this blog is an attempt in my "hit and miss" pattern. We'll see how it goes.
I have been reading a few blogs recently. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about our adorable neices and busy nephews and my very 'deep-thinking and way-smarter-than-me' friends. It is fascinating to read insights into the life of others. There are a lot of interesting people out there! But I still feel like I'm ignoring a taboo and reading secret diaries.