Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Happy Couple..

Since they don't allow cameras in the temple, this is as close to photographic proof as I can get.
Marcy and Wynn Birch. August 29, 2008.

BTW, the Rexburg temple is awesome. The Seattle temple is fine, it's like home (broken in and a little outdated - but very comfortable) - and Rexburg is like a luxury spa resort (shiny and modern - but with truly classic lines). Good job, Wynn (general foreman for the Rexburg temple), and Marcy (ad lib designer of corner molding pieces for the temple).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Art of Bunburying

Welcome, welcome.

I have walked Marcy through the blogging set-up (thank you Keira for doing that for me). She is now up and running here. Let's all give the nearly married gal a shout-out.

If any of you have forgotten what "bunburying" is...well, shame on you.

Letters from the Underground..again

I finally have a covert location worthy of an underground movement. Today's blog is being sent from "Magic Suds". We decided to do a couple of loads of laundry before going over to Marcy and Wynn's place. I didn't want all of our wet towels to get smelly. Magic Suds is appropriately gritty. The best thing about it is that there isn't anyone else here right now.

We spent yesterday spelunking. Okay, I'm not totally sure exploring caves counts as spelunking if you have handrails, electric lights and a guide. It was pretty cool anyway. We drove up in to Montana and toured the Lewis and Clark Caverns. BTW - Lewis and Clark were never there. Teddy Roosevelt (in a brilliant marketing move) decided to honor the duo a hundred years or so after the fact.

Too bad they didn't have wi-fi there. It would REALLY have been "underground".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Secret Hideaway

The view from the front porch. Not bad. But it's a little too wide open for a true hideaway.
The secret hideaway. I sort of wish the logs weren't quite so new looking. The cabin doesn't look nearly stealthy enough.

Henry's Lake State Park is no Panther Creek Campground, but right now that's a good thing. It helps me think of this "vacation" more like it is a real vacation....which it is turning out to be.

Letters from the Underground...cont.

This evenings blog comes to you via the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce free wi-fi. After a full day in Yellowstone Steve and I are getting ready to drop off the boys at the theater to see "Journey to the Center of the Earth". As you can readily see in the above picture, BOTH boys have survived. So far.
Mammoth Hot Springs - cool scary face..

Buffulo gals won't you get off the road, get off the road, get off the road....

Yellowstone rocks.

Letters from the Underground

This is where having Suzanne's camera and more importantly her magic eye would come in handy. I'll bet that I think that a lot this week.
I feel a bit subversive right now. Sitting in a tiny cabin in Eastern Idaho, typing away on my husband's laptop. I hope I'm not channeling the unabomber or some member of an underground movement.

We left home Sunday -after church (well, sacrament meeting) and drove as far as Twin Falls. Even though Twin is a couple of miles off the freeway we could see the new Twin Falls temple practically glowing in the night. In the morning after a hearty breakfast at I-Hop we drove over by it. It's quite a pretty temple - and quite startlingly white. Which I guess is why it lit up so well. Anyway. Last night Steve connected to the internet (more unabomber channeling) and found out that the Twin Falls temple had been dedicated by President Monson on Sunday. The day we first saw it. We thought it looked new, we just didn't know how new.

A couple or three hours later we were in Rexburg and saw their new temple. Yes, it's gorgeous, but, having lived Rexburg for 8 months in the 1970's - I was not expecting it to be facing the direction that it is facing. I knew it was on the hill/slope above the college. I thought it would face the college-look out towards town and valley. Nope. I think it faces east - so it's broadside to the town and since you come into town from the west - you sort of come at it from the rear. None of that changes that it is a beautiful temple.

We're off to Yellowstone today - I promise to take lots of pictures and hope that by sheer numbers I will end up with one or two excellent ones. Wish me luck

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Serenity Now

This is where I will be tomorrow afternoon.
Serenity now.
Serenity now.

I am actually feeling a lot better about our incipient vacation. Considering that we're leaving in about 3 hours, I'd say that it's about time.

I have been working on seminary stuff for hours every day - and a fair amount of that time I've been working on scripture mastery scriptures and just plain reading the New Testament. One of the scripture mastery scriptures is James 2:17-18

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

So....if I apply this to my life....I have been "working" towards getting ready for this week, what I really need is to have faith that it will turn out fine. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

I actually like the scripture in 2 Nephi a little better - as it applies to me:

2 Ne. 25: 23
.... for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

I've done just about all I can to plan and prepare for this week. Now all I need is grace.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Somebody Moved My Cheese!

I need a complete make-over, and I need it now. What I really and truly need is a total attitude adjustment, a new lens on my perception filter, platinum blond hair dye. Oh, and while I'm at it - gas to be under $2 a gallon again.

I try to be flexible. I do. Up to a point. Then I want a goal. Then I plan for the goal. Then I reach the goal....get it?

I have had an impromptu vacation thrust upon me. The plans seem to change hourly. So far this is what we have managed to "firm up".
  • leave Sunday morning after church.
  • go to a wedding Friday morning in eastern Idaho.
  • drive down to Utah Friday afternoon.

As you can see, there are a few gaping holes. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Oh, and Saturday. And when we're coming home - a 1,000 mile trip in itself.

This might be a great opportunity to try and learn to be more long as I don't turn out like Krook (from Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House). He spontaneously combusted.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Moment of Weakness

I have an amazing super power. My husband is pretty much in awe of it. Telemarketers call our house...I can analyze the call, say no thank you, and then hang up - all in about 5 seconds. I have 2 or 3 exceptions to the rule throughout the year - a few dollars here and there for certain charities - but that's it.

The same with door-to-door hawkers. I don't care if it's a BYU undergrad trying to sell me a home security set-up or an inner-city youth selling magazines. I especially don't care if it's an inner city kid selling home cleaning products. Nope - I send them on their way - quickly. I will occasionally - very occasionally fork over for a close friend of the family, but that's about it.

I do willingly give of my food storage whenever a group comes by collecting for the food bank - so I hope you don't get the idea that I am utterly heartless. That said, I was blindsided today. I blame kryptonite. Obviously something was sapping my super invulnerability to door to door salesmen. My defenses were down. It must have been the kryptonite - though I am willing to lay some of the blame on Nathan. He it was that came and told me that there was someone at the door for me.

I now have not one, but two new magazine subscriptions.

I very guiltily fessed up to my husband at the dinner table. He didn't pay too much attention...until after dinner when he saw the receipt....

I have to give Steve credit. He didn't get mad. He just laughed. It helped that we had taken our van in to the mechanic today to get it ready for our trip and the total mechanics bill was....wait for it....$0.00. (I have blogged before about my love for our mechanic, Mike. He's awesome.)

Thanks hon for seeing the humor in the situation.

The Downside of a Large Library

I have a pretty good grasp of what books we own. I may not remember every one, but I do have a fair idea of what books are in my house and a general idea of where there are. I have a lot of books in my house. Here's where the downside comes in. I couldn't find a certain book today. The title of the book is: "Is There and Object to Your Lesson?" (yes, more seminary related stuff). I searched. And searched. I enlisted Nathan and Alex. They searched. I did finally find it - it had fallen down behind the couch in the living room. I had had to take apart the couch (remember it has 3 large sections) to move it to look behind it.

So...I moved the couch, vacuumed up the dust bunnies (whole generations of dust bunnies), mopped the floor, vacuumed the area rug, and I still haven't put the couch back where it belongs...sigh.


Smells that remind me it's back to school time:

1. Nothing smells more like back to school than the smell of hot tar in August.
It must have been some kind of rule back in the 50's,60's and 70's that all schools had to have a flat roof. A flat roof in Oregon is just an invitation for leaks. Surprisingly, it does rain a fairish amount in the Northwest. At least it does in the winter.
Every summer it seemed like one school or another was getting a new coat of hot tar. The smell of hot tar seemed to float for miles - I suppose it's like when you burn up the belt on your vacuum and the whole house stinks.

2. Rain. The smell of rain after a couple of weeks of dry weather.

3. Paste. The kind we had back in the 60's. I don't know if it still smells the same, since glue sticks were invented I don't think I've had to buy paste for my kids.

4. Shoeboxes. The kind that your new school shoes (that you weren't allowed to wear until school started) were stored in.

5. Lunchboxes. The old metal kind would have a very specific kind of smell after a few weeks of use. Not an appetizing smell - a combination of peanut butter, grape jelly, tuna, mayo, apples, cheese, etc...

What smells remind you of school?

Back to School Preparations

I feel woefully unprepared for "back to school". I've spent more time this summer setting up and dealing with kids and school than I usually do (in summer), but it still doesn't quite seem real. In spite of all the signing up, placement tests, registering, emails, phone calls, etc... I haven't done the one thing that really evokes that "back to school" feeling.

Back to school shopping.

Alex and Nathan don't actually start school until September 22nd. That's right, the 22nd. They will both be going to Everett Community College. This will be their first time since Alex was in preschool to be going to the same school together. Nathan pretty much has a new wardrobe since he got back from his mission - so no need for new clothes there. Alex, yeah....well, he pretty much needs the gamut. Except socks. He's good on socks.

Danny starts school on the 8th - but since he's "virtually" going to school, I "virtually" have not bought him any new clothes...I haven't felt that pressure yet. I think I should get him some new clothes. Nothing says "back to school" like new socks and underwear and a pair of new shoes.

Speaking of underwear, HERE"S a related Olympic story that I found fairly hilarious.

I think I'll have to post later about back to school shopping in my youth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Feeling Blue

It's time to pick blueberries at my house! A week or two later than usual - thanks to a long cool spring.

Unskilled labor.

Someone likes blueberries...can you guess who?

My Own Private "Idaho"

Steve and I were in the planning stages of a week long vacation. We had initially been looking at going somewhere (by we, I mean just the two of us) during fall or winter. With my new calling we thought we would bump it up and go right before school/seminary start. Pretty much that meant next week. Almost decided to go on an Alaskan cruise (RT out of Seattle is pretty darn easy), but since I've gone on two and Steve has been on one Alaskan cruise already, we felt our vacation dollars could be better spent elsewhere.

We had just about settled on 5 days on the Olympic Peninsula when Marcy called with her wedding plans.

Last I checked, the Olympic Peninsula is the opposite direction from Idaho. we wrap together vacation and wedding? Steve said we could just do the wedding as a "side trip". Sorry honey, but 1,600+ miles NEVER qualifies as a side trip. Unless maybe you're an astronaut.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This is the Place

Who: Marcy Hanna and Winn Birch
Where: Rexburg Temple
When: Friday August 29th. 10:30am.

The Money Shot

This is why I like living here. Beautiful sunsets. We also get some pretty awesome sunrises. I just need Suzanne to come and take the pictures.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Guilty Olympic Pleasure...

I missed a lot of the Olympics over the weekend - too much going on - so this evening I sped through about 10-15 hours - in 2 hours. Guess what my favorite sport to watch was?

Gymnastics. Nope.
Michael Phelps winning gold medals in swimming. No way.
100 meter dash? uh uh.
Men's shot put. You betcha.

The few men that I saw competing looked like they were press ganged out of a biker bar. Large, hairy, bandanna wearing slobs. I loved it.

Pick a Day, Any Day

Not really ANY day. Any day pretty soon.

Marcy called me today with the happy news that she and Winn are good to go....go get married. Looks like around Labor Day weekend...maybe the 29th...maybe sooner? I made her promise to give me a firm date by tomorrow. Firm date and time. I promised I would go, and wild horses couldn't keep me away, well, maybe wild horses could, but not tame horses. Definitely not tame horses.

Unless there is a plague of wild horses, Steve and I will be there. With bells on.

Who's with me?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I used to like Suzanne. Really. Oh, well, here goes nothing...


  1. Reading. Duh.
  2. International travel.
  3. Grandchildren.


  1. High bridges, especially if they have metal grates for decking.
  2. Small spaces (yes, I am claustrophobic).
  3. The Dentist. Thank you Dr. Elliot.

Current Obsessions/collections

  1. Books. (I am currently reading the New Testament and Betty Neels - that's all I have time for because of obsession #2)
  2. Seminary (not self imposed, but I'm obsessed with it nonetheless).
  3. Olympics (only a few days left).

Surprising Facts

  1. I'm not artistic - but many people I know think that I am because I'm not too bad at copying and I'm great at tracing. Note: Tracing is not Art. I'm pretty darn good at making posters.
  2. I am a list maker. Okay, I guess that's not surprising. But I do feel compelled to make lists so that I don't forget stuff.
  3. I think I inherited Dad's hearing. What? Huh? Oh, you're not surprised about that either? Tough.

There. I'm done. I might forgive you Sue. Maybe.

I tag:


(These are the rules: list 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 current obsessions/collections, 3 surprising facts and then tag 5 other people. Leave a comment for the people you tag so they know they have been tagged.)


Our lesson in young women's today was on studying the scriptures.

I am currently reading the New Testament.

We are smack dab in the middle of the Olympics.

I was reading this today:

I Corinthians 9:24
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one recieveth the prize? So run, that ye many obtain."

Is this a sign that it's okay to watch the Olympics on Sunday? All of it or just the track events?

If I wasn't quite so swamped with seminary and young women I would be very tempted to just veg out on the couch for the rest of the day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's Too Darn Hot!

I am definitely a wimp when it comes to hot weather. I usually enjoy the summer here in the mild northwest. This summer has been great - most of the high temperatures have been in the 70's. My kind of weather.

The past couple of days the thermometer has been creeping. Creeping up. I keep telling myself, "it's supposed to cool off tomorrow, it's supposed to cool off tomorrow..."

If we had more than a handful of really hot days I'd be tempted to shell out for central air conditioning - but I really can't justify the cost. I'll have to be content with sweltering for a few days. It's really good for me spiritually. The hot weather reminds me that I don't want to spend eternity roasting in the fires of....heck.

In the meantime, I'm melting.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bring On the (more) Obscure Sports!

I get a little fed up with the amount of coverage (or lack of "coverage") beach volleyball gets - when there is a lot more going on in Olympics than just swimming, volleyball, gymnastics. And I don't mean water polo.

Why do we have to sit through (okay, with DVR I skip through) countless qualifying swimming heats, but don't get to see even a little skeet shooting, badminton or dressage? What, you may ask, is dressage? That is exactly my point. If they don't show a little dressage in the Olympics most people will be just plain ignorant of the fact that is has to do with the equestrian events (horses). You gotta love an event where the competitors dress up in top hats. I also think it's cool that this is one of only three sports that men and women get to compete together.

I hope they get separate locker rooms.

I'm not saying that I want to watch hours of archery, kayaking or ping pong (sorry, table tennis), but I'd like a little taste of them. I depend on the Olympics for a two years supply of ALL of my sports fixes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I did pretty well the first half of the week. I woke up at or BEFORE 5am. Got up, got moving. Today, not so much. Sigh.

Last night I went to the "Movies in the Park" with the young women (query: was this my last YW activity?). The entertainment didn't start until dark....and it was 20 minutes away, in Snohomish. I was happy when it was decided that we had been there long enough at around 10:30. After dropping off 7 young women I got home around 11pm...Steve was still up watching Olympics...then prayer, then getting ready for bed, was about 12:15am when I turned out my light. I didn't get out of bed this morning until about 7:30am.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Found It!

Dear Husband (aka Steve) has been a little stressed out for the past couple of days. After coming home from a week of shaveless camping he manfully shaved off his 6 day old beard and then discovered or rather didn't discover the charger for his rechargeable razor. Oops. His razor usually lasts a week or so after being plugged in and charged up. He's been wracking his brain trying to remember where he last used it (in the meantime having to go without shaving due to lack of charge).

Did he take it to Salt Lake with him and leave it there?
Did he take it to Portland and leave it at Tia's house?
Did he have it in the van while we were camping?

Questions, questions.

I prove yet again my superior lost and foundage. Lost and findability? Lost and founded?

Whatever...I found it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Proud Parenting Moments

Highlights of proud parenting moments:

  • birth of child
  • child sleeps through night
  • first tooth
  • weaning
  • walking
  • potty trained
  • really potty trained
  • preschool
  • 1st grade
  • learn to read
  • baptism
  • learn to ride a bike
  • learn to drive
  • graduate from high school
  • go on mission
  • ask a girl out on a date

Nathan has arrived. He has a date. A real date. With a nice girl.

The crowd goes wild.

Where's Title IX When You Really Need It?

Okay, Title IX wasn't really all about girls getting equal opportunities to play sports in school- but it sure seemed that way. I feel that it was probably a pretty good thing in general as far as addressing some of the problems with gender discrimination in the public school system (Who wanted to take 3 years of Home Ec? Not me).

I've been watching as much of the Olympics as I can (start humming....I love technology...), having a DVR has been quite wonderful - not just skipping commercials, but also skipping boring sports like basketball. One other way we use our DVR is to fast forward through the women's beach volleyball. Yeah.

Why is it that the men's beach volleyball uniforms look like normal sports attire (see picture above), while the women are pretty much "nakedish". Okay, not naked, but come on - do they really need to be wearing bikinis to compete? Not only is it unnecessarily immodest, but bikinis offer so many more opportunities to get sand in places that might chafe. I say, give the girls at least a t-shirt. Seems like discrimination to me - but let's not get out of hand. I'd hate to have anti-discrimination work the other way. Guys in bikinis are MUCH worse than girls in bikinis.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Marcy!

Sorry I haven't sent you anything for your birthday yet. I plead a case of being on vacation. I hope you love being 50 years old. Love it. After all, that's where I'll be next year...

Let's not forget that this is Mom's birthday too - let's do the were born on her 19th birthday, you are 50...50 + 19....I guess she would have been 69. Happy birthday, Mom.

Resetting my internal clock.

I decided a couple of weeks ago that as soon as we got back from vacation I would try and reset my internal clock for "seminary time". It's not so much that I need to get up way earlier, it's that I need to get up a little earlier AND be coherent. Yeah. Anyway, last night I was sort of getting ready for bed around 9pm - so far, so good. I had been doing some research for seminary on my computer and I accidentally came across this blog. Wow. I didn't get to bed for nearly another hour and a half.

I now have a new favorite phrase to describe Fast and Testimony meeting. "Open mic Sunday".

New phrase to describe Utah - "behind the Zion Curtain".

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Vacation Photos, day 5

August 8th
7 miles of assorted hiking/walking - mostly at or near Bonneville Dam, including the hatchery.

Jonah taking a gander at the dam.

Not quite sure what Daniel is looking at, but Brady and Alex are trying to help.

Salmon swimming upstream.

The boys and Herman the sturgeon.

Vacation Photos, day 4

August 7th
12 miles combined. Lewis River (Lower, Middle AND Upper Falls), Ape Cave, Trail of Two Forests.

Lewis River - Lower Falls/Daniel.
Lewis River - Lower Falls/Alex.
Brady, Jonah and Daniel sitting just above the Lower Falls.
Trail of Two Forests/Alex.

Trail of Two Forests/Brady

Trail of Two Forests/Daniel.

It's really too bad I didn't get a picture of Jonah here. This was his favorite place of the whole week, and he was the fastest tunnel rat. He was able to get through the tunnel in 17 seconds. This is where being the smallest really came in handy.

Vacation Photos, day 3

August 6th.
13 miles on the Eagle Creek trail to Tunnel Falls. My personal favorite hike of the week.

And a little child shall lead them....Jonah gets his turn to lead out.
Yes, the trail is narrow with sheer drop offs in places, but we all made it just fine.

Taking a little break along the way.

Yes, those are the falls next to Daniel. He is standing just outside the tunnel.

Alex and Brady at the falls. We didn't linger here very long.

One fine day.