Monday, October 31, 2011


Me and my buddy, Cooper. What are the chances that we'd show up to the church party wearing the same costume not once, but two years in a row?? What should we wear next year?

Dave's dad is staying with us for a couple of weeks. He lives in a house way out in the country up in Idaho. Dave didn't grow up trick-or-treating. (Don't worry, he got plenty of candy at the school Halloween carnivals). I don't think Dave's dad has ever worn a halloween costume in his 89 years. This was a challenge. I emailed all his grandkids for suggestions. They had some great ideas - Mr Monopoly, an Idaho potato, a pirate, combat fatigues, a cowboy, a pirate, a lumberjack, and a barbershop singer. I headed off to the thrift store with many ideas in mind, thinking whatever piece I could find at a good price, that would be the costume. I found a pirate hat and patch right when I walked in so that was that. He has a bit of a memory problem, so each day I told him we were preparing to go to a costume party. One day he'd be horrified that he would have to wear a costume, the next day (having forgotten that we'd already talked about it) was ready to be the life of the party wearing a pink polka dot dress. Then the next day he'd be flabbergasted that anyone would bother to work on a costume for a silly party. Finally, I just handed him some clothes and told him to go change and he couldn't imagine why we would want to dress up to go to a party, then he had the time of his life. He was all "AAARRRRR" like a pirate all night.

(Can you find Waldo?)

Melanie got quite creative with the cardboard boxes and odds and ends around the house. The problem with this costume is that you can't quite function - she couldn't touch her two hands together, so she would pick up a piece of candy, then toss it to to her bucket in her other hand. Getting anything to her mouth was impossible. I think her friends started using her costume as a table to set their drinks down.

She stayed at the party for a while then off to go party hopping with her friends (her life is so wild and exciting - she left one family friendly church party, to go to another family-friendly church party)

Sunday night we celebrated Rachel's birthday. After dinner and presents and cake, we carved pumpkins which always evolves into the annual pumpkin seed fight. Kirsten and her husband Adam were able to come have some fun and make a mess with us too. The method of the pumpkins seed fight is to squeeze the slimy seed between your fingers until it flings our of your grip and flies across the table - extra points if it sticks on someone's face. In the midst of hundreds of pumpkin seeds flying around the dining room, Roxanne remained focused on her masterpiece. Dave had a unique method for carving his pumpkin. His motto - "There's a power tool for every job."
The highlight of my weekend really had nothing to do with Halloween. I spent the day planting winter grass seed and spreading manure all around the backyard - almost 20 bags of steer manure - yay! There is no possible way of getting through that project smelling good. I don't have much of a green thumb, but I'm giving our yard a good effort this month. My goal is to have the flower beds full, the trees trimmed, and the winter grass thick for a party in December. Rachel is graduating from ASU and Brady is coming home from his mission!! Party at our house!! Clear your calendar - everyone is invited! (I don't know when the party is going to be, just clear the last couple weeks of December and I'll let you know!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

random stuff going on

Melanie bought a new car. And I use the term "new" loosely. It is older than she is, by a longshot. She bought a 25 year old Blazer with her own hard-earned money. Paid in Full!Suzanne and I went bowling last week. I haven't done that in years. We just stopped by and bowled 2 games. I was impressed that our scores were over 100! How can you not love rental bowling shoes. And they even had a vending machine to get socks. They weren't new socks. They were rental socks, folded and for sale in the vending machine. A weird, yet ingenious, vending machine usage.There has been a lot of car repair going on the last couple of months:This is partly because of acquiring a 25 year old car and trying to get it up to par. But also because we all drive old cars. The kids have had to buy their own cars and as you can guess, that means they are not driving fresh off the factory floor models. We do a lot of work to keep them running, with a complicated system of trading cars when one or more is out of commission (and when I say "we" do a lot of work on the cars, I clearly don't mean "me") This picture features Dave working solo, which he is wonderful to help the girls with the mechanics of their cars, but he has taught them well. Rachel is good to come home, jack up her car and change the brakes, replace a bumper, fix a broken mechanical piece of a window, etc. She is very handy with the wrenches.
I came in the other day to find Melanie and her friend eating lunch in the living room and watching "Clifford, the Big Red Dog". I'm not sure what that was all about. Some things I just don't question.
Melanie and I tied a quilt on General Conference weekend. Although she has a nice comforter for her bed, she still often reached for her pink ballerina blanket that we made together when she was in 2nd or 3rd grade. While I don't have anything against pink ballerinas, this particular quilt was faded beyond recognition and was shredded and worn from many years of use. I spent the evening last night doing Brady's taxes. He worked for just a few days in 2010 before he left on his mission. He didn't owe anything so I didn't worry about taking care of them in April. We was due a whopping $6 return. If it had been a credit card, or a business that owed him money, I would have let it go. But somehow, I feel a great need to not let the IRS keep our money. So I spent a larger than prudent amount of time last night filling out the paperwork to get him his $6 back (minus the cost of a postage stamp, he nets $5.56!)
Dave is on his way back from a tractor show across the country. He recently restored one of his tractors to its original splendor. His tractor was intact one Saturday morning, and by the end of the day it was in a hundred pieces around the carport. He was swimming in a sea of orange. He went through every piece of engine, and sanded and repainted every piece of the body until it was glossy and shiny. The collectors of this particular tractor, the Allis Chalmers Model G, get together in Alabama every year, so Dave decided to meet up with them and swap tractor stories for a few days. The long road trip didn't sound very exciting to me, but he loves to drive and I think he needed a few days away to relax and get his mind off the stresses of business and life.
He has a very mechanical mind. He can take apart anything and remember how it goes back together. When I use the hose attachment on my vacuum, I can hardly remember how it goes back when I'm done. Once Brady and Dave were rebuilding the engine on the van. The engine was taken apart piece by piece. Hundreds of car parts were laying all over the carport floor. Dave had gone inside for a minute, and our Bishop walked up the driveway and saw Brady (a young teenager then) amongst all the car parts and said - "Does your Dad know you did that?"

I ran a tiller across a section of our back yard today. We've got a spot of our back yard that has always been a little high, so when the irrigation comes in, it doesn't get much water. I'm determined to even out our yard. We also have a trench across another part of our yard from a water line repair last year. It has settled and needs to be filled. Twenty minutes into my project this morning, I am realizing I may be able to rip up the back yard, but I'm not sure I have the skill set to make it as level as I envision. We have a neighbor across the street that has a velvet smooth lawn. I may have to ask for advice. Only time will tell whether I can improve the yard, or make it considerably worse.

I could be an electrophysiologist now!

Last week I had a lucky, lucky opportunity to attend part of a Cardiology Conference. I sat in the audience as the speaker reviewed and enhanced my knowledge of dyspnes, asystole, tachycaria, fossa ovalis, ganglionic plexi and axons, paroxysmal cavotricuspid isthmus, typical atrial flutter, and thromb embolism.
Seriously? The conference could have been presented in Italian and I wouldn't have understood any less.
Suzanne needed to attend an early morning class in Flagstaff and invited me to tag along so we could go hiking afterwards. I have realized that there are areas of study that clearly have a full and rich language of their own. Rachel was sharing some charting of a musical piece she was working on a posted this photo.I've been involved with music all my life and she regularly comes up with theory that I never knew existed. Obviously, this is Webern's Op 21 mvt 1 charted out. (Oh to be a music major...)
Anyway, after my mind got kind of cluttered up with cardiological information, we headed out to do some hiking and clear our heads. We found a trail head that had several options, some too short, some too long, so we just headed out and planned to just hike for a certain time, stop and eat our lunch, then head back. I always have a hard time with that plan. I prefer to hike to a destination, or do a loop trail. I always worry that when we just randomly turn back, that I might be missing something just around the next bend, or over the next hill. I'd hate for someone to tell me "If you'd have hiked 5 more minutes, you would have been at the waterfall!". Anyway, the weather was great - long sleeves on and still just a little bit chilly. Even a little bit of snow on the ground. Perfect.
After we finished hiking we drove to Sunset Crater. As many times as I've driven by, I've never stopped. We were too pooped to walk around much, but there is a lot to see from the scenic drive and the 1/4 mile walking loop. The lava flows are fascinating - like being on another planet. There was also an display of how many volcanoes are in the area around Flagstaff. I had no idea . . . fascinating.
After that, I became a dull traveling companion, I passed out asleep in the car all the way home.