Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm amused by this today.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I am exhausted today. Melanie did everything I did this weekend, plus about 80% more. She seems to still be going strong. For that reason only, I wish I could go back to 17 years old again. Friday night was her Homecoming parade, tailgate party and football game. She takes any event and turns up the excitement full volume.She left the house a little bit jealous of us though, because we got to spend the afternoon with a nail gun and roofing shingles. Dave and I rewarded our efforts with a Friday night movie. Sadly, it was kind of a cheesey movie, and we didn't have time for dinner before we left so we actually ate dinner at the concession stand at the theater. (No, not one of the new cool dinner theaters. We ordered dinner at the same counter that you buy popcorn and gummy bears.) We go to the movies a lot, but hardly ever visit the concessions. I realize they do sell some sorts of food, but it just seems like getting invited to go out to dinner at the gas station mini mart. But we were starving so . . . theater pizza for dinner.

Saturday morning we made a quick trip up north to go swimming at Fossil Springs. It was the same trip we took a month ago, but Roxanne and Dave went with us this time. We set our alarms for 4:30 am, on the road by 5:15 and had a nice picnic breakfast by the creek before 8. It's nice to get up there early, we had the place to ourselves. The bad part about being up there so early is that it was still a bit chilly. We stood with our toes in the edge of the water like this for quite a while before anyone got brave enough to actually get in. It became more pleasant for swimming later in the morning, but crowds of people started coming later in the morning too.

We got back into town at 3:30 and Rachel had to go off to teach some piano lessons, Roxanne had a whole weekend worth of homework to get done and Melanie headed off for the homecoming dance with her friends.

Then the day just got better . . . Dave and I went up on the roof and put shingles on until almost 10 pm.
On Sunday, of course we spent the morning at church, then Melanie went to a youth dance planning committee meeting, and now as I type this, Dave and Melanie went to help some friends who just had a tire blow out on the freeway. I barely have the energy to lift the foot rest on the recliner in our living room and they have energy for a tire iron and a suburban.
The weekend is ending on a good note - The Amazing Race starts up tonight. A couple of friends are coming over to watch the opening episode with us. . . can't get better than that.

I'm going to fight for union benefits on this job

We needed a new roof this year. It's going on this week and guess who the hired hands are? Dave and his trusty assistants, Melanie and I.Dave called me outside to come look at something the first evening. I walked out into the backyard barefoot and he suggested maybe I shouldn't be outside without my shoes on just yet until we run the magnet through the grass a few more times. A few sweeps across the yard produced this. I wish we had a 7 year old on our block. I would have paid good money to have a kid drag a big magnet around the yard all afternoon. What kid doesn't like magnets? Oh and this project has given me lovely construction worker hands. I've also realized I have a little bit of a fear of heights. I can stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon with a rail to hold and be fine, but I'm not so comfortable on the edge of the second floor roof.

Good thing for sunny skies this week (luckily that is what is in the forecast most days of the year).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

fantastic fearless focused fun fascinating fifty!

I feel like I had a whole week to celebrate my birthday. It started with Suzanne announcing to the world that I was 50. (Roxanne's comment: oooooooh, you're gunna be in troooublee! You posted her age on facebook for all the world to see, haha ) We certainly got our fill of Suzanne's wonderful birthday cake. It was layer upon layer upon layer of various chocolates. Delicious!
Wednesday morning, I was getting some visitors. By 8:15 I started to see a pattern. *Friend after friend after friend stopped by to bring me a flower. I used up every vase I own and had to get out some water pitchers. Friends were still stopping by at 10:30 at night. There are over 90 flowers on my counter, along with balloons, chocolates and cards. Just to clarify, though, . . . I didn't have 90 visitors. Some brought bouquets. I actually thought it was quite optimistic of my girls to think that there would be 50 flowers, that I actually had that many friends :)
For dinner, we headed out to Organ Stop Pizza, Home of the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. Dave and I used to go there as young adults many decades ago and I thought it would be fun to take the girls there sometime, so that's where we went tonight. When we walked in, I had thoughts that this place might be kind of lame now - catering to retirees. But then, silly me, I realized we were dining with the Whipples. That fact alone changes any social gathering. Ben and the girls put in some musical requests for the organist - "Mr. Roboto", and "My Fair Lady". We never got to hear Mr. Roboto because we ended getting the whole rendition of a Broadway show, including the Overture, I think. Who knows every word to "I Could have Danced all Night"? Lauri does, that's who! She can rock every single word of that musical, with Dave and Debbie coming in with "On the Street Where you Live". Melanie and Ben sang all the Queen songs. You can tell what they're singing here, right? Correct! Bohemian Rhapsody.I was actually inspired with some new ideas for prelude on our church organ for this week. Why have I never thought of Phantom of the Opera on a Sunday morning? And then finish the closing hymn with a dramatic finger run all the way down the keyboard to a dramatic bass note.As if we hadn't eaten enough today, we came home to cake and presents. Brady sent home a gift for me so it seemed like he was here to celebrate with us, too. Melanie made a multi-layers red velvet, chocolate mousse cake with a nut topping. Sadly, there were so many candles burning, and the traditional birthday wishes were taking so long, that a section of nuts caught on fire. I'm choosing not to post pictures of the cake because it just looks like a dangerous ball of fire in our dining room. I almost got a sunburn from it while blowing out the candles.

Thanks everyone. It was a fun day.

*And thanks for the cake, the chocolates, the flowers and the visits - Suzanne, Holly, Sydney, Kristi, Robyn, Virginia, Dodee, Joan, Elaine, Violet, Charlie, Rana, Rebecca, Claire, Lindsey, Peggy, Cindi, Joanne, Holly, Carolyn, Lezlee, Paula, Alicia, Laurie, Leslie, Pam, Deeana, Vicki, Jennifer, Heidi, and Jana, and the mystery doorbell ringer and runner (who ran very very fast!)

I know that's risky naming names for fear I've forgotten someone.

Thanks for all the fun comments on facebook too -- I love you all!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

brady's birthday

Brady spent his 23rd birthday in downtown Des Moines, Iowa yesterday. He is so grateful for everyone that supports him. I'm forwarding all his facebook messages to him today. Here's part of his e-mail he sent yesterday morning:

THANKS FOR ALL THE BIRTHDAY WISHES!! You will have to thank every one in the ward that wrote me a card. It was awesome. There was some people that I didn't recognize, it sounds like there are a lot of new people in the ward.
I also received a surprise package from Elder Phillips and Elder Benett yesterday. Elder Phillips crocheted me a beanie and Elder Benett sent me a super cool tie. They also sent me pictures of 2 people that got baptized that Elder Phillips and I were working with. It's been a sweet birthday so far.
In the plans for today, the AP's are going to take us out to lunch pretty soon, we are going to get some awesome Des Moines pictures, better than the ones we got before, and we are going to hike to the tallest point in Iowa. There is a skyscraper downtown that is like 50 stories tall. Word on the street is that it is the tallest point in Iowa, which I believe from serving in the outside areas. The missionary record stands at the 37th floor, before security find you and kicks you out. It's a missionary legend that there is a rich mans club on the top of it, or an observation deck, or a restaurant... we are not sure but we are going to conquer the urban mountain today.
Well thank you for all the birthday wishes, I LOVE YOU ALL. -Elder Hale

Friday, September 9, 2011

in the dawn's early light

My alarm went off at 4:50 the other day, an hour earlier than normal. Our normal morning gets us together for family prayer at 5:50 before Melanie leaves for school. But this particular day I wanted to do a little hiking before the excessive heat warnings went into effect (not that it helped, it was still excessively hot at 5:30 am).
Nevertheless, I crawled out of bed and found Dave already putting his work boots on to get to a job site to also beat the heat of the day. I started gathering up the girls for prayers. Melanie was already up to start getting ready for school, and I found Rachel sitting at her computer composing some music for her classes, (I'm not actually sure whether she got up early, or stayed up all night). It was strange that we were all up at an hour beginning with the number 4 ! We are not morning people. Seriously not morning people! Especially not me. But this heat just does something to you and by 2:30 in the afternoon, everyone is ready for a siesta. (Or maybe we're ready to sleep because we got up at 4 am!)
When I drove into the parking lot to go hiking, the sun had not yet come up and the parking lot was FULL! I think I took one of the last two spaces in the whole park. It surprises me to think that there is so much activity going on in the world in the pre-dawn hours. Naturally, those are the hours that I prefer to be in bed.
I headed up on the trails and over a hill and enjoyed this sight:Sometimes the views around town are just breathtaking. I think in the end, it was worth starting the day so early.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


There's a Monte Carlo, circa 1977, driving around our neighborhood lately. Isn't this the most awesome car you've ever seen? This is the car - even the same color - my parents had when I was first driving. I LOVED sitting behind the wheel of the ever-so-elegant Monte Carlo.

But in reality, I didn't get to drive it very often. Usually the available vehicle offered to me was a double cab, long bed pickup truck. It was HUGE! Although this picture is the size and shape of the truck I drove, ours had the lovely mid-1970's styling more like this:

It was the truck that went on Saturday river trips, and to the dump, and other various exciting destinations around Winslow.

But if I was going to be very truthful about my transportation options, this is what I was driving most days:

I got a 10 speed bicycle in 8th grade that was my transportation option 90% of the time through high school. I rode it to mutual, I rode it to piano lessons, I rode it to my friend's house. I tried to never ride it to school because I didn't want to feel like a loser (as if being a pedestrian for my entire high school career never tainted that reputation). Winslow is a pretty tiny place and I could get most anywhere pretty quick.

I got a note from my friend, Terri, the other day. "Could you all please come back so I can ride my bike to your house, play in the attic and laugh till my sides hurt?"

I look back on so many good memories growing up in Winslow. I sometimes wonder why I was so anxious to leave town when I finished high school.

So, Terri, I know we always laugh and have fun when we get together, and I do have an attic, so . . . . just say when!

Favorite bike story: Once I had to get a tooth pulled prior to orthodontics, . . . so 8th grade maybe? I was dropped off along with my bike at the dentist and I was going to ride the few blocks home afterwards. I was upset that I had to ride my bike, but looking back now, all 9 kids were still at home and mom was a limited resource to all of our needs. Anyway, apparently I was more of a bleeder than would have been expected and the cotton pad in my mouth filled to overflowing on the ride home and blood was dripping down my chin and over my shirt as I made my way across town to get home. Yeah, . . . good times!

Friday, September 2, 2011

why i am glad august is over

It is finally September! Although the temperature is not one bit different than it was 3 days ago, just saying the word "September" makes me feel cooler.

But I am glad August is done because:

  • There was excessive heat warnings and an average monthly temperature of 107 degrees and a high for the month of 117 degrees.

  • Dave had a big pipe installation job during the excessive heat warning days. He was working in fiberglass insulation, in a hot attic for hours and hours each day.

  • We had a lot of car problems with each of our vehicles. The last hour of the month, in fact, Rachel had a dead battery and a flat tire within 45 minutes of each other.

  • There was an unexpected death in the family that brought some heartache.

  • We had some unexpected travel expenses (fogged in airport, missed connection flight, had to buy a second set of last minute airline tickets for three people).

  • We had to do a lot of changing of insurance - cars, truck, business. That is always a hard project.

  • I had a very painful (and expensive) root canal and other miscellaneous (and expensive) dental work.

  • Roxanne's wedding has been called off. It was a difficult decision, but seemingly the right one. Things ended on friendly terms, but still a heartbreaking thing to go through.

  • Brady wrote a couple of letters home and expressed some struggles. He will get through them just fine, but I sure wanted to pick up the phone and talk with him.

    Here's hoping September is a little cooler and a little less expensive.

the kind of day i love

We went hiking up in Oak Creek Canyon today. Suzanne was a bit worried about the possiblity of high temperatures on our hike due to the excessive heat wave across the state the past many, many weeks. (And by 'a bit worried' I mean she mentioned it every time we talked before, during and after this hike.) Luckily, we escaped the overbearing and inhumane temperatures of Phoenix and we enjoyed the cool temperatures of Oak Creek Canyon. We went up there intending to do a different trail, but asked someone for some advice of a shady trail, one that wouldn't leave us in any direct contact with the sun (because did I mention that someone was worried about it being too hot?)

Anyway, we drove up to the trailhead of the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon. We were on the trail and around the water for the next five hours and the day was perfect! The trail went right along the creek bed, crossing over it a dozen times. We packed our lunch and enjoyed eating along the banks of the creek. And not only was it a naturally shady trail, but the day was overcast! There was not one bit of sunshine! On the way back to the car, we took our shoes off and enjoyed soaking our feet in the creek for a bit.

I love Arizona!