Chester, England

Some of you have already noticed, but I uploaded a whole lot of photos yesterday.  About 250 actually were in the batch.  It includes the rest of the photos from Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France.  I did not upload any photos from Scotland or England.  They will have to wait for the next chance I get.

We are now staying with the Byrom family in Runcorn, England.  Today we went to Chester and walked the walls.  We went through the cathedral and went down the main shopping streets.  It was a beautiful day for what we were doing.  We quite enjoyed ourselves.  We each had a pasty and a vanilla finger.  She liked it but it was too much.

We stopped by Ellesmere Port on the way home at a outlet mall.  We picked out a couple of suits and bought them.  However, we were not convinced we had the best deal so we took them back.  For as much money as we were paying, I didn’t absolutely love the suits.  With our buyers remorse, we took them back.  Interestingly, on the way out, we stumbled upon another store.  I found better quality suits that were on sale for almost half of the cost for the other two suits.  Hands down, Amanda and I both liked the second store over the first.  Now I have some new suits, one of the reasons I wanted to come back to Europe.

We had dinner this evening, some amazing lasagna.  Rose has always made great lasagna.  Afterward, Rose, Amanda, and I went to visit an older lady I taught on the mission.  She was such a sweet soul and she proved to be the same.  We have all aged, but the sociality has not diminished or changed with time.  I think Amanda quite enjoyed Jane Young and her quaint little home in the English countryside.

Yesterday, we had dinner with Jack and Brenda Millington from Howe Bridge.  Jack used to cook us as missionaries some wonderful homemade pot pies.  Visiting with him on Sunday, he offered to make me and Amanda one.  We agreed and met with them yesterday.  The pot pie was as wonderful as ever, boiled cabbage, and homemade trifle.  We really had some good laughs.  Jack even sent us off with a couple of parting gifts.

There are so many people that nearly 10 years have changed nothing.  We don’t always remember each other’s names, but the feelings are still the same.  Memories seem to come back quickly, surprisingly.  What will heaven be like?

Venice, Italy

I sent this one zesterdaz, but it did not go through for some reason.  Sorrz.

Just a quick update.  Internet here costs us roughly $10 an hour, so we are using as little time as possible.

We are in Venice.  Right on the Mediterranean, we are feeling the heat and humidity.  I am loving it, Amanda not so much so.  Last night, I had real Italian pizza and Amanda had real Italian pasta.  We are living the life of luxury.  We are in a nice little flat right off a campo (miniature piazza) and the place buzzes at all times of the day.  We arrived safely here from Salzburg.

Bern, Switzerland

Hallo from Bern, Switzerland.  It has been a verz long daz working our waz through Northern Italz up here to Swityerland.  Zes, we are back to a German kezboard+  About the onlz thing reallz noteworthz todaz is that we made a stop over in Milano, oh and Zurich.  We will be seasoned train travelers the waz we are going.  I cannot forget to mention the endless tunnels as we worked our waz through the breathtaking Alps.

We left the Mediterranean humid heat to come to the Alpine drz heat of Bern.  Aren`t we luckz?

I know I onlz made passing mention of Venice in our verz short time on the internet there.  It was an interesting citz.  We enjozed our different Italian meals and some of the sights.  However, it was hot and sultrz.  We both ended up with blisters on our feet and enough swass for the rest of our lives.  It is the worst laid out citz on the planet.  Between the canals and small allezs, we never knew if we were coming or going.  There were manz wonderful things there, but neither of us think we will go back.

Bern has to be our favorite citz so far.  Dresden is definitelz a match, but unfortunatelz war removed most of its everz daz walk of life.  Bern was fortunate to maintain and hold most of its medieval roots.

We are learning a new currencz here.  We were feeling rich knowing the dollar was worth more than the Swiss Franc, but we are feeling poor watching how much higher everzthing is priced.

Tomorrow we hit the temple and start the long, long, long, long, long train ride to Paris.

Salzburg to Venice

There is not a whole lot to share I think manz would be familiar with.

We did get a ride up to the Hohensalzburg, see the big main churches here in Salzburg, and visit the birthplace and home of Mozart.  Those were definitelz interesting.  This is definitelz the citz of little finds though.  From the antique shops to the other little sights, it has been verz interesting.  The best part is that our hotel was so close to everzthing and none of the daz was lost to travel.

Sadlz, we are headed for an 8 hour train ride to Venice todaz.

Well, somebodz is waiting for the computer.  Time to head out.

Welcome to June. It is already all planned out!

Boy, am I glad June is here!  My wife has joined me after our long separation from job and school.  What a relief.  I don’t have to worry about her stressing herself out or being picked up by a much more dashing, intelligent, catch of a man.

We leave this week for what may be the trip of a lifetime.  How many times in a lifetime, if ever, does one get to go to Europe for 6 weeks?  We will be starting with friends in Belgium, working our way to Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, The Netherlands, England, Wales, Scotland, and who knows where else we may stumble.  We really cannot afford it, but why not live with some reckless abandon for a little while?  There are so many friends who do so every day of their life and seem to make it through their whole lives.  Granted, their quality may be diminished some.  But what is lost by worry seems it might be made up by the large home and toys that the self-proclaimed responsible typically don’t get to enjoy.  We leave on the 4th to return on the 16th of July.

We signed a purchase contract for a home this month.  Somewhere around the 22nd of June we will be closing on a humble home in Oklahoma City.  Who would ever have thought my first home purchase would be in Oklahoma City?  Did I ever think I would move or live in Oklahoma City.  Most certainly not.

Amanda and I just hit all three of the Idaho temples this past week.  Amanda had never been to any of them.  We have now hit all three Idaho and 11 Utah temples.  Before year end, we will have three more in that geography alone to hit to make it complete once again.  I am very sad I will be in Oklahoma City when the dedication of the Twin Falls Temple takes place.  Being so close to home, and wanting a temple closer for so long, now we get one and I cannot attend.  Amanda and I will be helping with the open house in July.  I guess that is some solace for missing the dedication.  I believe Idaho Falls and Manti are still my favorite temples.  The Rexburg Temple has so many gorgeous rooms.  However, for some reason I still prefer the sessions that are split up into all their sections.  Manti and Idaho Falls Temples both have you moving between all the rooms.  Manti has the pioneer value and beauty with a live session, but the simplicity of Idaho Falls with its rooms and movement make it a favorite.  Salt Lake certainly has the beauty but the place seems more like a zoo than a temple, especially in the summer with all the sealings.

This past week Amanda spent a day with me at work doing bench testing.  It was a beautiful day and we spent nearly all of it in Minidoka.  The Minidoka Longhorn Cafe and Whitesides Dairy was enjoyable for me.  The wastewater we play with is less than beautiful but it is part of life.  Whether we like it or not, we all have waste and somebody has to deal with it.  I thought Amanda was going to throw up at one point when we were doing some filteration.  She kept it down, luckily.  The day turned out well.  Except for the fact Amanda picked up a tick somewhere.  Not only did she pick him up, the tick dug in and started to sup near the middle of her calf.  She was not a happy camper when she discovered him.  A little polish remover and she backed right out.  Hope she got plenty to eat for the long stay in the septic tank.

For the first time in what must be at least 8 years since Grandma Ross passed away, all my siblings were back together.  Becky was coming through Southern Idaho so Scott organized a BBQ.  All five of us where there.  It was really quite a bit of fun and I enjoyed myself.  Even though we were never really close, I am glad we are still cordial and can enjoy ourselves when we get together.  Vicki, Dad’s first wife, was even there.  Dad and Jan were there as well.  Andra brought Brian and Daniel and little Daniel was certainly a favorite.

I know I have not been writing as much.  Despite more people reading the blog than ever before, I just don’t feel like I have much to write.  A couple of people want me to write more relevant things that would pertain to them, but how does one write interesting things for everyone?  Then, how does anyone write for someone else and keep their voice and soul into it?