6 months old

Since Aliza is now just over six months old, I thought I would share a picture of her and a couple of pictures of her parents and grandparents when they were each about six months old. This photo of Aliza was taken to celebrate her 6 month mark.

Now, photography and many other things have improved and progressed quite a bit from early 1986, 1980, 1963, and 1961, when these photos below were taken.

First are pictures of me.  Our little family was living in Leefe, Lincoln, Wyoming in a trailer house on a mining job site. Either way, you can take a look at some of my facial features and compare them to Aliza.

As you can see, there are quite a few differences.  I think Aliza is taking more and more features of her mother than me.  However, the blue eyes are coming through.  If there was a feature to pass on, I think that would be it.

Now that you have seen a couple of pictures of me from a similar age, look at this one of Amanda.  You can definitely see more features that are similar with this photo of Amanda.  Aliza does not have those ears though!

We just could not figure out where the shape of Aliza’s head is coming from.  I think I may have figured it out.  Look at this picture of my Dad as an infant probably somewhere around 4 or 5 months old.  Aliza’s round head and the hair line is more reminiscent of my Dad.  The furrows in the brow remind me of my nephew and some other pictures of my Dad, so I think the way Aliza furrows her forehead is from my Dad.  I also think this is where Aliza gets her ears.

Amanda insists that Aliza’s smile comes from her.  At certain times when Aliza smiles though, I see my Aunt Jackie’s smile.  The smile is also my Mom’s, but Mom had facial injuries which have altered her face, so I do not think the smile was as obviously my Mom’s.  But the peaks in her lips when she gets a big smile, and the way her cheeks pull back (no dimple though, Amanda can claim that) are my Mom’s line.

Now, venturing over to Amanda’s side of the family.  Obviously the expressions and looks of her family are not so integrated into my being as to recognize nuances.  I will let you judge for yourself whether you see some resemblances.  Here is a picture of Amanda’s Mom, Jill, at about 6 months.  The overall cheeks and dimples are definitely a family trait to that side.  I even think the shape of the mouth, but like I mentioned, the use and form of the mouth while smiling take on forms I recognize from my Mom’s side.

Lastly, a picture of Amanda’s Dad, Bryan. I think this gives us the origin of Aliza’s nose.  Aliza’s ears definitely do not match these ones either.  I think we also have the culprit for putting fingers in her mouth!  Aliza does not care for her thumb, it is both index fingers in the side of her mouth or two fingers as demonstrated by her grandfather in this picture.  It is interesting to think how much of our mannerisms are genetic or learned behaviour.  I am sure that neither Amanda or I ever taught Aliza how to put her fingers in her mouth, so it is a curious line of thought.

Well, that was fun.  We will have to do something similar when Miss Aliza finds herself at one year old.

Laundry list of escapades and visits

Amanda and I just returned from a 4 day visit to Utah/Idaho.  It was like a breath of fresh air into my life.  It was just what I needed.  Sorry it has taken so long, but here is some of what we did.

We arrived at Norfolk, Virginia airport at 6:00 in the morning to fly out for Salt Lake.  I am seriously considering if it was worth the $150 we saved to have two layovers.  I thought I would die from the trip.  We flew from Norfolk to Detroit, Michigan, then to Minneapolis, Minnesota on to Salt Lake City, Utah.  I think on each flight I became motion sick.  The layover would cause the sickness to subside and then we took off again.  It was a form of torture.  By the time I arrived in SLC I felt sick, weak, and irritable.  We went to bed pretty early to combat jet lag and my feeling sick.

Friday dawned bright and early.  I was up well before everyone else and was ready for the day before 7 AM even thought of rolling around.  We had crepes for breakfast.  The Hemsley family had a new crepe maker and it turned out to be a great purchase.  They were good.  I always liked the feeling of biting into a warm crepe with cold ice cream oozing between your teeth.  We found our way to Salt Lake again to pick up Bryan and attend the Salt Lake Temple.  I was really not feeling well and I ended up with a pair of pants that were far too tight.  I am glad I switched them out.  I am sure I would have passed out if I had kept them and not switched them for a larger waist size.  The session went well and Sherise, Amanda’s cousin, was beautiful.

After the endowment session Amanda and I split up.  Brad picked me up and we headed north for an evening of visiting and fellowship.  I changed at the Hemsley house and went on our way.  Our first stop was Lillian Talbot.  Lillian is my mother’s father’s sister.  I returned the three journals I typed up from 1961, 1962, and 1963.  I was glad to return them.  We visited for a few moments and went on our way.  The next stop was to Lona Jonas.  She is the sister in law to Lillian who we had just left.  We had a good visit with her.  She told us about her operation on her forehead and eye which came from a piece of glass working its way to the surface after 55 years!  Our next step took us closer to the Wasatch Mountains with a visit to Jennie Britzman.  She is my father’s mother’s mother’s daughter’s daughter (1st cousin to my Grandma Ross).  We had an interesting visit.  I discovered she had another husband I never knew about!  Brad turned out to be very interested in learning about Jennie.  He asked all the right questions and so I learned some family history things I hope I have not missed often in other family members.  How in the world did I ever not ask or find out she had another husband?  Brad really found her story fascinating and we enjoyed ourselves with a good laugh.  It doesn’t seem that she is 90 years old.  Her son Richard came home while we were there and we had a good visit with him as well.

We wound up the conversation and made our way to downtown Ogden to visit Mary Coley.  Her relationship to me is two fold.  She was married to my mother’s father’s brother, Irwin Jonas.  He was killed in WWII and she went on to marry Arthur Coley, Irwin’s Uncle.  It was an interesting story.  I knew that I did not have her parents in my family history so I had some questions to pose.  She answered them all with amazing clearness despite her being 89 years old.  She grew up in Minnesota and met Irwin while he was in training for the military there.  They were married and he went off to the war effort.  He wanted her home in Richmond, Utah when he came back so she moved out there.  She lived with Great Grandma Lillian Jonas (Lillian’s mother, Lona’s mother in law, Irwin’s mother).  It was there she lived when Irwin was killed.  At dinner with my Great Great Grandmother, Martha Coley, Art (Arthur) walked in one evening and asked where they had dragged up Mary.  They were married shortly after.  Anyhow, she does not remember her parents but was able to tell me their names.  Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by a foster family.  She also gave me the names of her foster parents.  So I have some research to do but have Mary’s lineage.  She also told us of her conversion story to the church.  That was very interesting as well.

We made our way to the home of Dave and Betty Donaldson after Aunt Mary.  Dave is my Grandma Ross’ brother.  We originally were going to stop at Grandpa’s but there was a man in a ten gallon hat sitting in his living room that we could see from the road.  So we decided to come back.  It wasn’t far since Dave and Betty live next door.  We had a good little visit with Dave and Betty.  Dave just had his knee replaced in the past few months.  He feels more confident and strong in his new knee than he does his other.  Plans are to replace the other probably this fall.  After all, we would not want to miss a perfectly good summer or fishing laid up in bed at home.  Next we found Abe and Caroline Gallegos home.  Caroline, my Dad’s sister, had just stepped out of the shower.  We visited with Abe for a while and Caroline emerged.  We talked about her new found love of family history, viewed photos.  Meanwhile Brad visited with Abe.

The night was running out and we had to be in our best shape for the long haul Saturday.  After the Gallegos home Brad dropped me off at the Hemsley residence and went to stay with our old roommate, Mark Morris, in Salt Lake.

Friday turned out to be a long night.  I had not recovered from whatever it was I had.  I wanted to blame it on the flight, but the usual suspect of a cold sore (which I always get after flying) showed up before I left Richmond.  I felt sick enough Friday evening Bryan made a run to the store for some Pepto Dismal (the correct spelling).  It is the first time I remember in my life having PB and it sure seems to have done the trick.  I awoke up at 1 AM in emergency situations.  I went on to vacate my entire system of any remnants of food.  I panicked after tossing the perfectly good hamburger in the toilet when it came up  all red and pink.  My brain kicked in to tell me it was only the evidence of PB.  Before the night was finished, it felt I had puked every thought of food I had entertained for the past week.  The rest of the system went on to winterize itself.  By the time I went back to bed at 3 after a shower and a cleaning of the throne I was feeling much better about life.  That constant sickness from the flight was gone.

Saturday dawned bright and early.  We were headed off to Salt Lake City for the sealing ceremony.  We were parked found our way through the temple maze for the sealing party and visited with friends and family for a while.  Before long we were ushered up to a sealing room and we waited for the happy couple and sealer to appear.  Travis and Sherise made their way in followed by Elder Bednar.  It was your typical sealing except Elder Bednar gave some very direct advice before the sealing.  Usually it tends to be a rather superfluous group of niceties which are showered on the couple.  He gave the couple, and for those listening in the party, a direct sermon on several topics I don’t think this is the place to disclose.  I do remember coming out of the ceremony thinking, “I wish they would teach that in General Conference.”

We waited outside in the beautiful spring weather for the couple to appear for photos.  I made a few quick expeditions around temple square and even looking at deconstruction and construction sites bordering temple square.  The flowers and grass didn’t look real.  (They were as testing went on to prove)  The couple made their appearance, we spent the next 45 minutes under the loose commands of a photographer and I made my escape.

Brad appeared and we made a quick venture to the Church Museum to see the exhibit on the Tabernacle.  We trekked northward changing clothes at the Hemsley’s and pressing on to Cache Valley.

Our first stop upon arriving at in that blessed valley was in the city of Nibley.  We stopped to visit Larry and Margo Anhder but they decided not to be home.  We visited with Cynthia Farnsworth around the corner who Brad worked with at the city of Nibley.  It was a good visit.

We left Nibley and headed into Logan to visit Sunshine Terrace.  During school Brad and I used to go down and visit all the old luvs who were there.  Brad only had one of hers still living, Thelma Freeman who is now over the 104 mark.  She remembered Brad very well and even asked if he was off to spray lawns in Malad.  It was a good visit with her.  Even thought she is pretty well death and blind, she remembered quite a bit.  She began to give Brad a rundown on all her grandchildren and I excused myself to go see if anyone I used to regularly visit was still alive.  Nope, they were all gone.  Even Eula Waldron who I thought would live for a good while longer had passed away last fall.  Harriet Elison had passed away last summer.  Apparently right after my last visit she passed.  I felt kinda bad knowing every single person I used to visit while at USU was now dead.  Good for them I suppose.  I decided not to start up any new friendships with an old luv as I didn’t know the next time I would be around to visit.  I went back to listen to Brad and Thelma talk about how she wasn’t going to die until Brad was married.  She openly admitted she wants to die but the Lord just doesn’t seem to want her yet, or perhaps it was because Brad wasn’t married yet….

We left and wandered our way around Utah State University.  Fascinating how quickly things can change.  The new library is completed and we wandered its corridors.  Don’t know if I think it was designed very well, but it was certainly interesting.  The Merrill Library was gone with only the stark increase in the size of the Quad to mark its passing.  We paid a visit to Dentist Office #6 to visit with Matt Geddes and Lucas Garcia for a good while.  Justin Siebenhaar also showed up and we were able to visit with him too.  We did not remain long before we headed out.

Ellis and Geri Jonas we found in their van.  Brad and I did not figure out if they were coming and going.  They said they were waiting for someone (who did not appear while we were there) and yet talked about dinner (so were they coming or going?).  It was good to visit with them for a while.  They gave us the scoop on Ron in Afghanistan, BJ in the hospital, Amie a new house, Jennie a nice guy who she might marry, Ryan and his wife, Julie with her leg, Dan and his job, and the whole story that went with the family.  Geri is just so funny in how she tells it.  Brad and I got a good kick out of it.  Ellis seemed to be more with it than I remember him for the past 5 years.  He has thinned down quite a bit which the Dr.’s wanted him to do anyway.

Allen, Marie, Kade, and Kallie Lundgreen were where we spent our next hour.  Richmond, Utah seems like time is treating it well.  Marie told us the entire latest saga for the city.  The city is publishing a new history but nobody seems to like the author except a few who like to stir up trouble in town.  There is a story unfolding about public records from the old North Cache High School that was torn down which now want to be taken back probably only to be destroyed or lost.  We talked about some history and the story inevitably moved towards Mom.  The best part, I offered Marie a Eureka vacuum cleaner from the 1950’s that I have been lugging around for over a year.  I finally remembered to take it, had it where I could take it, and remembered to give it.  All in all, we enjoyed the reunion and laughs.  It was if I had never left.  Brad sure got a kick out of it.  He thinks we are all crazy.

Next we enjoyed the new highway in Southern Idaho from the Utah border to Preston.  How nice.  So totally cruisable now.  We stopped at the home of Larry and Barbara Andra to visit.  They were not home.  Brad and I took a good look and tour of the new facilities Larry has set up and his new ride in delivering lawn spraying services.  Those new guys have it good!  He has a brand new truck with a new trailer and two 500 gallon tanks.  He appears serious about this whole lawn spraying business!

It was as we climbed into the car we realized we really needed to get moving in order to make it to Blackfoot in time to even catch the last 30 minutes of the reception.  We did a little speeding up the old highway past Winder, Banida, Red Rock, Downey, and Virginia.  We had some good conversation.  We decided we both really like Inkom and could live there some day.  We rounded through Pocatello and made our way to Blackfoot in good time.  We arrived 15 minutes before the reception was scheduled to end.  We went through the line, did our hugs, ate some cake, and enjoyed the family meal in the kitchen.  It was the close of a good day.  We started with Travis and Sherise and ended with them too (not to mention frog eye salad!!!).

After the reception, we watched the fireworks and the send off.  I have to admit, I can’t stand some of the cheesy traditions that accompany marriages and receptions.  I am glad Amanda and I left most of them out.  We loaded up some food for the road and made the way across Southern Idaho to Kasota.  On the way Brad read some really good articles from the latest Summit Magazine from Brigham Young University – Idaho.  We both decided that if we were going to school this fall out of high school, we would both choose YofI.

Sunday morning dawned far too early for us.  We arose, had some wonderful country biscuits and gravy and headed to church.  Church was quite enjoyable.  I really enjoyed the completely humble tone in which the meetings took place.  Elder’s Quorum’s lesson was on Testimony by President Kimball.  Every single person shared some thought and all, except one, did it in a completely humble tone and perspective.  I was not only impressed by the tone of those who participated but the fact that all participated.  It was not even encouraged by the teacher.  I don’t ever remember becoming emotional in Elder’s Quorum as it is usually the least spiritual of all the church meetings.  Sunday school was by Sister Crane and she did well.  Ted was totally shocked when he sat with his family to find us sitting with them.  Sacrament was Fast & Testimony Meeting.  I really quite enjoyed it.  President Merrill bore his testimony and I very much enjoyed it.  President King also bore his testimony which was powerful.  I followed President King which was a bit intimidating.

After church we made a quick trip home before making our rounds for the day.  The first stop of the day was at Sergene Jensen’s in Heyburn.  This was Brad’s first meeting of Sergene and he commented that he could definitely tell she was an Andra.  It was the first time I have seen her in probably 5 years.  We had a good visit while there.  Brad talked golf with Neil from Filer while I fixed Sergene’s computer, her cell phone, and chatted about her son Andy.  She had a pacemaker put in last December which was a surprise to me.  But she thinks it was a worthwhile investment as it has drastically improved her golf swing.  Neil says he wants one now.  It was a good visit.

We went to visit my Aunt Jackie afterwards.  We found Willie, Jackie, and Jesse all home for the day.  Willie was just leaving for work but it was a good visit.  I visited with Jackie for a good while.  Brad wasn’t feeling well so he went and took a nap in the car.  We discussed a variety of things, none of which are worth mentioning here.  Pretty much it boils down to she seems like a lost soul who isn’t willing to make the changes necessary to get her life back in order.

We went to visit a friend of Brad’s, Eli Hansen but he was not home.  We did visit with Eli’s mother, Teri for a few minutes.  We then attempted to pay a visit to Scott and Chris Horsley, but they too were not home.  We stopped to visit Brad’s great Aunt Ora Barlow.  We had a good little visit with her.  I guess before she married Woodrow (Woody) she was married to a Jones.  Her son Lenny popped in and visited with us while we were there too.  It was interesting to hear some of the dynamics of another family.

We attempted another visit to the Horsley home without success and we headed to visit the Orton family.  Kevin, Megan, Ryan, and Kegan were all there.  I wanted to visit with them but had to so I could get a picture with Ryan and Flat Stanley.  As you are aware, I helped with his Flat Stanley project (FS has his own album!).  So chatted about Tran-Systems, Circle A, Ag Express, Washington DC, life in general, the positioning of the stars in the cosmos, and other various lowly conversations.  The actual camera for the photo was at Kevin’s parents so we made the trip to Paul for that.  Brad and I did a quick driving tour of Paul to see what changes have been made.  It is still there, I can verify that.  They are also getting a new city park across from the Stake Center and Harpers are finally subdividing the property next to the Stake Center.  Paul, Idaho is on the boom!

Brad wanted to nap some more so I left him in the car to snooze.  I went in and had even more interesting conversations.  We discussed the lifestyle of the polygamist fundamentalists in Utah.  Wow, I never knew all the ways you could cheat the United States Government!  But the polygamists have it worked out to a ‘T”.  Kevin’s mother became a polygamist and they are sure she is dead but will not report it so they can continue to collect the Social Security Checks.  They mooch the system from the crib to death.  If I didn’t believe in honesty I might be tempted to do the same.  The conversation with Dennis and Derith Orton turned to other subjects until I received a phone call from my Dad wanted to know if I was still planning on dinner.  Yep, the time had arrived and I did not even notice it.  I had to end the conversations rather abruptly and made my way home.

Dad usually is very relaxed about food and eating times but I found out Andra was the instigator.  She was all in an uproar for some reason and wanted to get out of there.  She gave us some reason with Brian needing her somewhere but we could tell it was a lie.  She left in a huff without saying anything for a good bye or even hello.  In addition, she left the present that was intended for her.  I am amazed at how easily people can treat their own family badly and think it is okay.  Perhaps those who are closest to us we can just expect they will understand and we can be as selfish as we want.  That was the extent of any real time with my sister.

Dinner turned out to be very good.  Dad made the t-bone steaks in his usual fashion with the barbeque grill and sugar cure.  It was very good.  Made me wish we could afford a bit more meat to eat on the grill in Virginia.  We had baked potatoes, steaks, salad and plenty more.  It was good to sit down and eat a meal with Dad, Andra who ate only a little bit very quickly, Brad, and Jan.  We talked health, Idaho, family, and a variety of issues.  It was good quality time with the family.  Brad finally decided it was time for him to crash.  He asked for a blessing which we gave him and he crashed despite the fact it was only 8:30 p.m.  I visited with Dad and Jan a little longer before I borrowed Dad’s truck and went to pay a visit to the Tateoka Family.

I roamed up to the top of the hill at Kasota and visited with Ted and Becca.  We lounged around for a while as I told them about the events so far during the weekend.  Ted was quite fascinated with the advice given by Elder Bednar and took the opportunity to pat himself on the back some.  We had a good laugh.  He went with me for a drive to AgExpress (I want to call it Circle A) and we filled up Dad’s pickup for him.  We talked about life in general.  He told me about his struggles in the Bishopric and some of the cases that are before him.  I can sympathize and honestly hope I never serve in that type of capacity.  It sounds like a nightmare in many ways.  I know there are many blessings that come, and Ted openly admits those.  We talked about marriage, women, work, and several other topics.  In the end, he had to be home at a descent hour.  I dropped him off and went home.

Monday again dawned far too bright and early.  Brad arose and was feeling much better after about 11 hours of sleep.  We got ready, loaded the car, said our good byes, and headed out.  Ted wanted us to stop by for breakfast.  We found him at his parent’s place and we had a great breakfast of ham, eggs, toast, and plenty more.  We were stuffed.  We spent some time talking before Ted had to go back to work on the farm.

We went to visit Dustin McClellan at his home.  We found him in the work shop and we took a good look at the Old Dodge.  She was covered in dust and bird droppings but still looked good.  Dustin says he is going to clean her up and get her going again now that spring is here.  Plus he has just finished doing his spring field work and had a week before his next phase.  We visited for a while in his house and we looked around to see what he has done differently.  Next, we stopped by AgExpress and visited with Dad and he introduced me to most of the people in the office.  I knew Michelle and remember Sean.  We said our good bye’s and headed off to Paul and Kathy Duncan’s.

Kathy had forgotten we were coming and we found her in her pajamas still cleaning up after the weekend.  She quickly changed and we visited for a good hour.  She insisted we eat lunch with her and started making food.  Brad and I thought we would both pop if we ate more after a big breakfast.  It turned out to be really good barbeque chicken, salad, and cheesy potatoes.  Brad really liked the desert.  Paul came home and ate with us and we had a good visit about farming, the dairy, and life in general.  Their whole family is doing well and things are good.

We had to get moving once again and we took the old highway 30 out to the Raft River exit.  We took the freeway and got off to head out towards Rockland.  It was a beautiful drive with the stormy clouds, the scenic valley, and the crepuscular drama.  We paid a visit to Leo and Rhea Udy a few miles of Rockland approaching Roy.  It was a really good visit.  I quite enjoyed our conversation.  They have served several church missions.  Two or three of them in helping with engineering projects in the building of temples.  One was with Nauvoo and I think there was one or two more.  They also served in Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  They have known Jack and Janet Duncan since their days in Oregon.  It was also interesting to learn about the Udy history.  This was even more true in light of the Udy Lawn Spraying business my Uncle Larry has.  Rhea is Brad’s great aunt.  We spent our time there and needed to head out in order to be able to pay a visit to Grandpa and make it to Kaysville in time for a party there.

We left the Udy home and took the drive to Malad, Idaho.  We took some time to stop at Twin Springs and a quick drive through Holbrook.  It seemed strange to us to be able to drive through a town literally in the middle of nowhere and know many of the people who live in the homes and much history of the area.  We crossed the pass into Pleasantview and talked about our crazy day recording cemetery tombstone names in Samaria.  We finally arrived in Malad and took a look at all the lots that I am thinking of buying there.  We took some pictures with the phone and left just as the rain was starting to come down again.

We caught I-15 south and got off to drop back into Plain City.  We stopped by Uncle Dave’s again to drop the picture off we neglected to do the first time.  That is another long story, but I have been trying to get that photo back to its owner for a good two years now.  One person takes it, can’t deliver it, and it keeps coming back to me.  At one point, so I would not forget it, I placed it on a desk in Provo so I would always see it.  The weekend I went to take it back I forgot it because Brad, of all people, hid it because he didn’t like it sitting out.  Anyhow, I hope it is the final step to finding its way back to Ed Telford.

We stopped and had a good visit with Grandpa.  He seemed a bit down from the latest waves of death in his circle of friends.  It was still fun to see him and spend some time with him.  In the end he didn’t seem like he wanted to talk much so we said our good byes and headed out.  We made our last stop at the Olive Garden in Layton in order to meet the Hemsley family.  Brad and I discussed our weekend and figured out we really quite enjoyed ourselves.  To top it off, we figured out we had reconnected, visited with, and spent time with at least 43 people since Friday morning together.  That seemed like quite the group of people.  We felt content in our activities.  I came back with 4 pages of family history notes.  Brad was able to see family he had not seen in about 2-8 years.  Best of all, we just enjoyed the company and the sites of Idaho/Utah.

It was Scott Hemsley’s birthday and we ate out at Olive Garden to celebrate the event.  Derek did not join us but it was a good dinner and we had some good laughs.  They are a good family.  I am happy to claim them as family and to have ties with them.  We went back to their home (Brad left for Provo and did not eat with us) and watched The Terminal with Tom Hanks.  It seemed highly fitting since we would again be spending a whole day in traveling by plane.  Amanda’s grandparents came over and we visited with them some.  Finally we crashed since we had to leave at 5 a.m. and felt we needed the rest.

The flights went okay.  I don’t like riding in the very back because sometimes you feel every bit of turbulence.  I think I regained my motion sickness every time we were on descent to the airport.  The winds and tossing just doesn’t do much for my stomach.  The last flight put me under and heater vent or something that blew warm air on me the entire flight.  So I turned on my cold air nozzle to high and suffered with the torments of hot and cold air blowing on me.

We arrived at Norfolk, kissed the ground and went to the Odom home in Newport News.  They fed us some Chinese (which was very nice of them!) and we went home.

There is the end of the narrative of the trip to Utah and Idaho.  I know it became a bit of a laundry list of things we did.  But I did not want to write it by hand in my journal and I type so quickly.  Plus I know some of you would be interested.  So viola, there you go!

May’s flowers

I know, I know.  It has been too long and I must do better.  Sometimes life seems like it is not worth recording, but at other times, it seems I never have time to record what I want to.  My journals obviously take precedent, but I can do better at keeping up the blog.
Just finished a weekend at Flaming Gorge with the Hemsley Family.  I had a very enjoyable experience.  I feel bad because I went with a bit of exhaustion and fatigue.  I slept and napped enough to overcome it, but at the loss to my in-laws.  I did take considerable time to read on in Rough Stone Rolling and found myself quite inspired by some of it.  Again, I think Bushman’s generalizations are far off the mark at times, but I do enjoy the historical facts and timeline.  I read the parts dealing quite a bit with the Kirtland years and was captivated.  Anyhow, fishing went well.  We got there at 2:30 AM on the first night which I was sure would kill me.  We slept in, went fly fishing, had breakfast, went back, was rained out, and came back to camp.  It was a really slow day.  However, it was great for napping and resting.  Fly fishing just did not go well though.  It was pretty dead.  Don’t know if it is my technique or what, but others around me were doing poorly as well.  However, the next day was great.  We did some fishing at the dam regular style.  I caught 6 fish in the time of the morning.  We kept two of them, both Bass.  That evening we went out again, and I caught another 6 fish.  Kept two more, both Bass.  For a side note, I ate a filet from one of my Bass last night, I enjoyed it.  However, a bit haunted by the thoughts of catching the live fish, then the memory of it being gutted, then the filet process, and now I was eating it.    I will comment about our rafting trip on the way down the Green on Saturday afternoon.  I was in the non-wild boat for making the trip.  However, the wild boat turned out to be pretty weak, and we ended up taking nearly all the rapids straight on.  It was a rush, and I very much enjoyed it.  One of the final little rapids, we went right over the rock and landed in the hole behind it.  We churned in the hole, taking on water, and spinning.  I ended up breaking my oar trying to get out of the hole.  Others claimed it could turned out to have been a dangerous situation.  I felt no fear for my life though.  I think it was just a panic they felt.  I thought it was a blast and was totally in control.  We went over, Bryan nailed me pretty hard as the boat bent, I about was knocked out then.  But I was able to pull back in, and worked at getting out.  It was hilarious the different responses people have.  The river was not very deep, and despite having waders (spelling ??) on, I did not think we were in any danger.  The other boat helped us get all of our floating objects that were flooded from our boat.  It was a great laugh.  I was dying to try it again.  Can’t wait to do the Snake or the Colorado.  Dad told me the time he went down the Colorado back in the 50’s.  Oh man, what a blast it must have been.  Spent some good time chatting with Bryan driving.  Man, he had quite a few concerns about my marrying Amanda.  I am glad they took everything in stride.  Over the weekend, I saw loads of characteristics in Bryan that Amanda possesses.  Interesting how much we get from our parents.
Last night we made the preparations for our trip to Richmond.  I contacted individuals for places to stay across the country.  I am really looking forward to it.  Our first night we will stay in Denver.  The second night we will stay in Independence, Missouri.  The next night and Sunday we will spend in Branson, Missouri.  The next night we will stay somewhere probably in Kentucky.  Don’t know where yet.  Then the next night we will stay in Lexington, Virginia.  The last day will be the ride into Richmond, unpacking, and returning our rented vehicle.  I am looking forward to it.  We will visit my family in Missouri on the Saturday, along with Liberty and Independence for church sites, and I would like to visit the Truman Library again.  We will have to see.  I visited with the Institute Director in Richmond, Virginia.  He gave me some good leads on people to contact and places to stay.  One of which I feel really good about I visited with today.  It is known there as Little Provo.  Despite my dislike for Provo, having other LDS people around, along with most of them at the dental school will be good.  Especially since Amanda can catch rides with them, and hopefully even be in classes with some of them.  The cost is a bit more than I would prefer, however, the other parts might make it worth it.  Especially if we have other people coming to visit.
Life continues well here in Provo.  I am enjoying life.  I have not any complaints.  We are still in the Primary, so we don’t deal with the rest of the ward.  It is a great blessing.  The Sunday before last we stayed with Amanda’s parents (Mother’s Day).  We got to take her grandparents back to Payson, and I enjoyed that visit.  We also had a little get together with Jill’s family.  It was good.  I enjoyed the time and stay.  I sprayed that same weekend and stopped in to see my Uncle and Aunt Ellis and Geri Jonas in Smithfield.  They are doing well.  Three of their four children’s families were all represented.  It was good to sit and visit with them all.  Life is good.  I spray again for Larry this weekend.  I am looking forward to it.  Larry let me borrow an album and a basket of pictures, of which I scanned over an hundred photos.  All on the Andra line.
Anyhow, I think I am going to close.  I have to go pick up Amanda here in a bit from work.  I continue to study for the LSAT in June.  I have spent considerable time praying about the issue and feel totally calm about it.  I feel no more panic or concern.  I will do what I can and take the test.  The outcome is whatever happens.  How can I expect to be something I am not.  I know very plainly that God will put me where he wants me, even if that might not be where I would like.  But I know Richmond is definitely the next step to pursue.  I do not know what what the future holds, even if law school is an option, but only time will tell.  Things are being prepared and laid out.  We will just have to wait and see.  We are living right and doing what we are supposed to.
Hope all is well.  Please feel free to drop me a line.  I love to hear from people.

Oh the nothingness

Here I write once again.  Sometimes life seems so full of everything, and other times as if this broad expanse of nothingness.  The variety of individuals I have the privilege of being with is amazing.  Their view, their outlook, the goals, their aspirations, their weaknesses all seem to vary so much.  The variety and style prompts me to proclaim how wonderful and amazing they are.  The intelligence that is so encompassing held by just a dozen people is staggering.  Yet, sometimes I wonder if they know one iota of anything concerning themselves and eternity.  People seem to be so good, wonderful, and helpful and in the same breath so greedy, selfish, and conceited.  What an education far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Sometimes I wonder about the words of C.S. Lewis about when one recognizes themselves, that becomes the basis of pride.  Yet, one star is greater than another, one is always greater than another.  Perhaps we can recognize our own individuality but should be highly cautious about setting ourselves up over other people.  That is what the world is teaching.  You are special, it doesn’t matter what anyone is or does, you are better than they are.  That is false.  We are special, we are individuals, but we are a part of the fabric and an essential player.  We cannot be independent of all others.  No man is an island.  To think we are to be our own man, independent of the God who created us, and the fellow citizens of the earth only creates a bunch of insufferable show offs.  It breeds relativism and more conflict in the world.
While I have no doubt of the place of America in the role of the world, I find it scary that we subscribe to the belief I just mentioned.  I remember in England when an American could not understand one with the local dialect, they met it characteristically with talking a little louder and asking a question a little slower.  It wasn’t them who had the problem, it ws the individual speaking!  We expect the world to revolve around us and pay us all the respect we believe is our due.  We claim the rest of the world has pride and arrogance, even ignorance; when I must admit I think we are the one guilty of the charge.  Is it any wonder the French have problems with us?  In their history individuals given power rather than a government has produced “The Terror”.  Why wouldn’t we expect them to react the way they did when we gave more over arching powers to the executive?  When the power of waging war and of going into battle was given in their country, it led to a man seeking to rule Europe.  Add that to their condition of their neighbors who have taken them over because of what they deemed as right.  Of course France is not supportive of our going into another country to further ideals of democracy.  We can see why they don’t like capital punishment, the guillotine is a national symbol still to them.  That is something they will forever buck at.  What is more, we hover and watch them and give them the cold shoulder.  Not as a brother in the world should do, but as a lesser creature.  Someone who is to not be associated with on the playground.  We act the bully, and then when they bristle or don’t fall in line, we scorn and mock them.  Try and turn our friends against them to persuade them to be with us.  Looking back, that bully did hold their power for time.  What ever happened to the bully.  I hope we became more mature, that we all become equal, but it isn’t true.  I know of three who bullied me in elementary and junior school, and sadly they find themselves on the lower of the totem pole in life today.  I do not know if this would be true generally or across the board, but it is in my life.  Sadly, I expect the same thing will happen eventually to us as a nation.
Then I look at other nations who are different.  Others with different goals and perspectives.  We eye them with caution and expect they must have questionable motives.  The uncertainty always creates fear doesn’t it?  “I have often thought to myself, what is to be done?”  Education is our only hope.  Just like Thomas Jefferson I find myself thinking that our only hope would be education and the constant expansion of our understanding.  It must be understood, retained, and constantly built upon.  Just like Joseph Smith taught of the need for increasing light and knowledge, Thomas Jefferson admonished, and Allan Bloom admonishes we must find and constantly be analyzing.  We find our beliefs, seek out further light, compare it to what we have, and throw away what doesn’t work.  Leave it behind, keeping a faithful record of where we have been.  Sadly, such a case does not seem to be on the books today.  Like I mentioned the case of relativism seems to be taking hold with all its disastrous underpinnings.  James Madison made it clear that without the moral compasses and moorings that come from religious principles, the looking out one for another, democracy would drift and fall.  Without morality democracy will pass as all the others have before our time.
Odd isn’t it.  We are so smart, yet we never counsel with history.  Is it any wonder we are so seriously admonished to remember.  Rather than condemning, let us seek.  Rather than finding our lines and demanding nobody to cross over, why don’t we step over them ourselves and act as more faithful pilgrims and wanderers?  The glory of God is intelligence isn’t it?  When slapped, turn your cheek and move on.  Service to your enemies and comfort to those who are weak.  Revenge is never the order of the day.
It all starts with the individual.  From there the example is powerful.  There is great hope in the world.  There is great possibility of potential.  Why are we focused on fear?  Why not look to the future?  Fear only cripples.
Inside the world, in my own personal life, there is much to look forward to.  I find in myself a growth and a bright outlook.  It all comes in the name of Amanda Hemsley for me.  Burton K Wheeler and Jared Diamond have been my meat recently.  Not to mention the studies of Iranian business deals and American history that have been my research.  There has been a constant barrage of information which have helped to temper me and my zeal.  Somehow though, the introduction of another who is to be considered as yourself changes things drastically.  My vision has expanded not only of the world from her eyes but the view from my own.  It tempers the excitement of youth even more, but gives more drive for the future.  Somehow the clutch of individualism is disengaged and one finds themselves propelled faster and further along the road of life.  I am not even married yet!  The walk continues, but it is taking on new vistas.  I leave the Rocky Mountains with dizzying height and glamor to the more humble and open expanse of the plains.  It is not that there is less to see, nor is there less to experience.  It is just different.  The ecosystem is just as open, but a new road.  The anticipation is great.  Where will it take us?  How far will it take us?  Shall we circle the earth or walk slowly to Blair, Nebraska?  Either one, I am content.
She is most beautiful, captivating, and sublime.  I have not potential to describe the connection in those eyes and how far the warmth of her body seems to penetrate.  This world is definitely beyond the physical.  We don’t even know all the aspects of the physical, but already many doors are open for emotional and spiritual travel.
I found one of her hairs today.  It glistened and somehow represented something so far away.  It was only a memento that was obviously manifesting of her presence.  Yet she is so far away.  This part is not even living, but yet it speaks of her.  How many hairs in the world do I see, yet lose their true significance.  I have eyes but do not see.
Life is more than just me.  I focus on myself so much, everything revolves around my life, because that is me.  It is unavoidable.  But the greatest joys come in the life of others.  Burton K Wheeler’s experiences are now a part of my own.  His personality has become a part of mine.  While the stories and the times may melt, I have been changed and can clearly link it to him.  The same with Cecil D Andrus’ life.  On and on and on.  Oh if I could implore more people to record their lives and write their stories!  What I would not give to read the same of my ancestors.  My grandmother’s journal was a portal into another’s life.  However, that life is an extension of me.  While Brother Wheeler is far more removed, he is still a part of the country I now life, and that is part of me as well.  I was so sure to go out and define the world and change it according to my view.  I am coming to find out that the world has created much of what I am.  It has changed me.  It used to be such a negative view.  I always knew what needed to change and what I was to do.  Now it is the opposite.  What can I learn from it to apply in life.  I seek more and more.  Dismissing those which are of lesser quality and holding to those which are more true.
Is it any wonder we are exhorted to seek out knowledge.  It is the only thing that will save us.  Especially that knowledge which is most important.
Amanda came to visit over last weekend.  All my time with her is something to be cherished.  We learn so much from each other.  I learn so much from her.  She amazes me.  She is so pure and wonderful.  She makes me wish I was better, glad I receive her love, and yet honoured.  I love her and hope we will forever build upon that.  We are both just humble enough to learn from each other and to walk the path together.  As we grow, how much more sweeter can it possibly become?
Oh the nothingness of man.  God rules the nations and the earth inasmuch as we let him.  He oversees all and knows all things.  May we learn of him rather than to pontificate to the world what they should know.  There is so much to learn.  May I always be learning and seeking?  Rather than the one giving instruction.  Reminds me of Socrates always asking the questions rather than giving the answers.  Good night.

Interesting Days

It is strange how coincidence seems to play into our lives. Even I, a low staffer, an Idahoan, who is of very little importance in the realm of all men who have walked upon the earth have the privilege of meeting such amazing men. There are giants around us and we very seldom realize it. Most of those will never be  recognized or accredited for what they do. However, today I wish to pay tribute to the common man (men and women, you know what I mean…man is not without the woman, and woman not without the man). There are souls around us who affect us so deeply that they forever change our course. Most of them are the every day run of the mill who humbly go about doing their duty. Many men do what they can to get by, others in service to others oblivious and often doing more damage, but then there are those who know what they need to do and do it well. Those who seek to do what they do well, live their lives to the best of their capability who influence the most.This week I met a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Talat. He paid a visit to Senator Smith. He is the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It definitely is not every day that we meet the President of a small country. What is more, one that is a bit more questionable in the eyes of many nations. Besides that, he is a very powerful man. He came with his entourage and sat in the office for a while (the Senator was meeting with the President of Starbucks…how ironic) and then left to visit with the Senator in his office. I do not know the culture, I do not know the man, but he seemed very deliberate and almost unhappy. The whole group seemed almost dire in many ways. While I can boast that I met the man who leads another nation, he left little or no influence upon me.

The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.

If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.

In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.

With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.

The low down on Miss AH

Well, the details about Amanda. Since everybody keeps asking. Here we go.

She is a beautful, red head at about 5’6″. She grew up in Kaysville, Utah about 20 minutes north of Salt Lake. She has two parents (duh) Bryan and Jill, and three siblings Derek (16), Scott (12), and Alyssa (6). She is a biology major at Utah State, but after we marry will finish her last semester at BYU. She plans on attending Virginia Commonwealth University and become an Dental Hygienist.

We met at Utah State as we both lived in the same ward. The first month of the school year the Elder’s taught the same apartments they had from the summer. I home taught her apartment the first month and met her then. I don’t remember anything in particular about the incident, other than she struck me as the usual freshman, but cute. There was something that intrigued me, but I never thought twice about it. I would say hello to her at Ward Prayer but otherwise never saw or visited with her.

It was not until the end of January that we had a snow storm that dumped snow on us. We received about a foot and a half overnight. Well, being the dutiful Elder assigned to keep some of the sidewalks cleared, I was out shoveling snow. It was a chore to keep my sidewalks clean. Finally when it slowed down some, I thought, well what is the point of shoveling walks if they have to walk through it to the church. So I started shoveling a walk all the way to the church doors. I had crossed the parking lot and was headed by some trees when I was nailed in the side of the head with a snowball. Looking around, a girl who I could not recognize with her hood and everything was looking very innocent. I walked over to her and told her we needed to chat. Putting my arm around her, I picked her up and did a full body plant with her in the snow and then proceeded to white wash her. (I could full body slam her in a foot and half of snow, so I did) She laughed, I laughed, I helped her up (I now knew who it was), and then went back to shoveling. Only seconds later, I was hit by another snow ball in the side of the head. I turned around and was more shocked by the audacity of the girl, (J Golden Kimball comes to mind, “You damn sons of perdition, have you no respect for the Priesthood!) and thought well, here comes another white washing. Again, she did not attempt to run and I proceeded to dump her again and white wash her. However, when I planted her, she put her elbow down, and I heard it hit the pavement. It visibly hurt her, so I felt really bad. I helped her up, felt really bad, and walked her home. I promised I would make it up to her somehow.

A few weeks later, I finally got up the nerve, and a hole in my schedule to take her out. A married friend (James) of mine was given a turkey at Christmas. His wife (Catherine), hates turkey, so he told me to bring a date to dinner, a hungry one. After being turned down twice, Amanda accepted. I did not tell her we were having dinner with a married couple until on the way there, that way she could not back out. We had dinner and played games afterward and my friend insisted on telling stories of me the whole time. After the date, she seemed to enjoy herself, I was impressed with her demeanor, and decided I wanted to take her out again. A week later I was invited by a family in Richmond to come to dinner and bring a date. I did, another awkward date, but she handled it well. I have been taking her out ever since. She keeps letting me!

She really impressed me with an understanding of astronomy. It was also very impressive how she studied biology and could retain it. She was learning it, not just studying it to pass a test. She is one very smart cookie! That kept my attention and she has taught me many things. A very thoughtful girl, deliberate, and interesting. She has a quiet confidence which is very attractive. That is not to mention that she is really cute too. She loves me, and everything has lined up perfectly. Sometimes I think it is too perfect how everything has turned out.

Anyhow, that is the story from my side of the paradigm. Any other questions, feel free to let me know.