Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Retrospect

Well, 2012 is almost in the books, and I can't help but try to take stock of what's happened this year.  For me personally, all the things I've left, and am leaving, undone have caused the walls of my life to appear to be closing in on me.  There's hardly an aspect of my life -- work, church callings, family life, friendships, home maintenance, etc. -- that I don't feel like I'm falling down on.  The only area in which I've clearly made progress is my exercise regimen, inasmuch as I've resumed running on treadmills at the gym after two-and-a-half years of riding stationary bicycles.  (I've even got to the point where I'm running three miles in 30 minutes, although thus far it's been beating the daylights out of me.)  I have sensed a measure of improvement in my health -- particularly regarding the effects of my mal de debarquement symptoms -- which I attribute to my taking 100 mg of Sertraline/Zoloft every day.  I still tend to feel off-balance, brain-fried, and physically fatigued in the afternoons; however, the fact that I can run for a half-hour on a treadmill, without having the machine feel like it's rocking back and forth, is a minor miracle in itself. 

As for my family, most of us are doing very well, especially considering the concerns I had at the beginning of the year.  Chris has had to put in long hours to keep his auto-repair business afloat, finding that honest, reliable help is hard to find.  However, he and Kristy were able to purchase a nice home this year, and the second "j-pouch" surgery that Nicole had done in Cleveland ultimately proved to be a resounding success, providing reason to hope she'll be able to live a long, full life with relatively minor personal inconvenience.  Kristy is expecting a new baby boy next spring.  Heidi and Dion have had their share of trials this year, and it hasn't been easy for Heidi to have Dion's son Nolan living with them during this school year, but they've hung in there.  Easton has been promoted twice this year at Bradbury Stamm, and although Devery has her hands full at home with a three-year-old and a one-year-old, they seem to be going places.  Darren received his bachelor's degree this year and started grad school, and, of course, he and Cait are now married and seem poised to accomplish great things.  As do Kiley and Sam: Kiley, too, is expecting a baby boy; Sam has been accepted to medical school at UNM; and they have now moved into the larger portion of the duplex in which they've lived since their wedding last year.

I still feel very pessimistic about the long-term prospects for the United States.  As Mark Steyn has noted, the U.S. has been there to cushion Europe's decline, heavily subsidizing its defense for two generations now, but who will be there to soften or hold in check our decline?  That Barack Obama could be re-elected president, after a first term that served only to explode the national debt and push us further down the socialist path that Europe has already trod and found to be a dead-end, bodes extremely ill in my view.  We've seen the steady erosion of constitutional liberties and increasing governmental intrusion in our lives and the personal choices we make, and there's no real end in sight.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Darren and Cait's Wedding

Cait and Darren, December 18, 2012
Our son Darren married Cait Brobst in the Albuquerque LDS temple on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 (which, coincidentally, was his parents' 28th wedding anniversary).  They met at BYU last fall (2011), where they each have another year of school; they will be living in an apartment near the intersection of 500 North and 100 West in Provo.  In a slight twist of the usual wedding protocol, they had their reception on Saturday the 15th at Darren's uncle Mike and aunt Judy's house, and then we had an enjoyable wedding-day luncheon at Garduño’s restaurant, whence the couple departed for their honeymoon.  They spent several nights at the Worldmark resort in Santa Fe before setting out for Rochester, Minnesota to spend the holidays with Cait's parents.  

I guess this really makes Dorine and me empty-nesters, even though none of our kids has actually lived with us since the summer of 2011.  We've already seen how Cait brings out the best in Darren, which is all a parent can ask of a daughter- or son-in-law.  It may be too much to hope that Darren and Cait ultimately settle in Albuquerque, but if Darren could get a job at, say, Sandia National Labs, or perhaps Goodrich Aerospace (where his uncle Don Wilson works), and if Cait could gain admission to physician-assistant school at UNM, it wouldn't break my heart.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Traded the van for it, straight up...."

"We can get 70 miles a gallon on this hog!"
1. Our new minibike.  Dorine and I recently went to the cabin for a short (two-night) stay with Heidi and Kiley and their families.  (Dion did the dirty work for us in installing new upper-window blinds in the living room.)  While in Pagosa Springs, we decided to buy a minibike (see photo) at the Alco store.  It didn't run well from the start, but it did work well enough that we were able to ride it up and down the road.  We probably will only ever use the minibike in Colorado, but we'll need to have it worked on to get the clutch working properly.

2. Ankle sprains.  The last time I had a bad ankle sprain was in the early part of 1997, when I turned my left ankle after falling off a boulder that I was trying to climb in the Sandia foothills.  (I did tweak an ankle slightly on the last day of the backpacking trek we did at Philmont Scout Ranch in 2004, but my reflexes saved me that time from greater injury.)  I recently realized that the intervening fifteen-plus years has been the longest period of my life in which I haven't had a sprained ankle, as I was fourteen when I had my first bad sprain -- and playing basketball and volleyball would cause me to keep having them periodically, until I gave up team sports entirely at about the same time I developed an interest in rock-climbing.

3. Treadmills.  Our gym, Planet Fitness on Eubank Blvd., recently expanded and acquired a set of new treadmills.  I thought I'd experiment and try running on one of them; I knew I couldn't go very fast, so I did thirty minutes at 5.5 mph, or roughly 11:00/mile pace.  To my surprise, I tolerated it pretty well, despite not really having run for the last two-and-a-half years, and now I've done the treadmill the last five times I've gone to the gym.  The new machines are larger, have better cushioning, and even have hookups that allow the user to control his iPod on the treadmill console.  I don't know how long my body will hold out, but I'm excited about being able to run for the time being.  I'll never get back up to 8:30/mile or 9:00/mile pace again, but I would like to be able to finish three miles in thirty minutes -- we'll see.  I can't say I love running, but I do love being able to do it, however slowly.

4. Atrial fibrillation.  I'm taking a med called Flecainide twice a day for my atrial (heart) fibrillation, which seems to control it quite well.  I can't say what the prescription medications I'm taking now are doing to me, especially in combination, but I'm sure taking a lot of things at this point: Sertraline, Flomax (which I'll stop when I run out of the current supply), Flecainide, and my sleep meds (Temazepam and Zolpidem Tartrate), which I take on alternate nights.  These meds make me feel "weird" -- not sick or depressed, but very aware of all their side-effects.

5. My new job.  I recently changed jobs again, and now I work in the business office of the Geoscience, Climate, and Consequences Effects center (6900) at Sandia National Labs.  It's been a relief to be out of the ECIS SMU business office, as I much prefer to be "on the line."  It's pretty ironic, however, that a "climate change" skeptic like me is now supporting the climate scientists in the company.  Perhaps they'll win me over to the idea (a) that global warming is happening, (b) that the carbon output from human beings is causing it, (c) that draconian measures are necessary to reverse it, and (d) that the measures they propose will actually affect it.  For now, however, I still find it difficult not to believe that money, power, and ideology are driving, and thus corrupting, climate science.

6. More buns in the oven.  We've found out that our daughters Kristy (about to turn 34) and Kiley (age 20) are pregnant with our tenth and eleventh grandchildren.  It was a surprise to us that either was expecting, as we thought Kristy, already the mother of five, was done having children, and that Kiley would wait at least another year to start having children; however, we're happy for both of them.  (Kristy and her husband Chris recently bought a house -- in another ward, unfortunately -- and Kiley's husband Sam has been accepted to medical school at UNM for next fall.)  The fact that Kristy, our oldest, will have her last baby, and that Kiley, our youngest, will have her first baby -- and within a couple of weeks of each other next spring -- makes me feel like a circle of sorts is being closed.  I wish I could feel optimistic about the world our grandchildren will inherit from the navel-gazing, self-absorbed Baby Boomers who've essentially done all they can do to leave it an economic and moral wasteland for future generations.

7. Darren's upcoming wedding.  Darren and his fiancee Cait Brobst will be married on December 18 in the Albuquerque Temple.  I can't help but feel bad for Cait's parents, who, not being Mormons, won't be able to attend the sealing and thus probably won't even bother coming to Albuquerque.  Darren will be the last of our kids to be married, and he seems very happy with Cait; he's working on his master's degree in EE, and Cait is still doing her undergrad with plans to become a physician's assistant.  December is a lousy time of year to be married, as Dorine and I can attest, but of course college students typically have to get hitched between semesters of school.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Election...with Consequences

Well, I feel tremendously disheartened by the fact that Barack Obama has won re-election.  One could hope that Obama will actually try to be a leader in his second term, seeking to take action to ward off the economic Judgement Day that is in our country's near-future, and that he would want to be known in history as something other than the Nero who presided over the commencement of the catastrophic dissolution of the greatest country the world has ever known.  However, he has shown amply that he knows only one direction to tread -- left -- and I think his second term will pretty much seal our country's fate.  A viable currency is essential to any civilized society, and no country, no matter how large, can sustain annual trillion-unit budget deficits indefinitely; thus I believe that massive devaluation of the dollar due to hyperinflation is practically a dead-certainty at this point.  (I once laughed when my friend Bob Maes showed me an envelope stuffed with near-worthless Argentine paper money and told me that all those billetes literally were what he received in change after paying for bus fare one time while he was serving his mission in Argentina in 1980.  It doesn't seem nearly so funny now.)  

It's instructive -- if unpublicized by the liberal propaganda-meisters in the media -- that a large majority of new U.S. Treasury bonds and t-bills are now "purchased" by the Federal Reserve.  Just like a ditzy Peg Bundy, selling cosmetics to herself (and going hog-wild spending the commissions) in an old episode of Married...with Children, our elected officials act as though the revenue generated through sales of debt instruments -- essentially to the very government that spends it all -- materializes out of nothing and doesn't have to be paid back.  I've begun to rethink the idea of living in New Mexico, simply because when it all comes down, I fear the Southwest will be the Bosnia of what will then be the former United States.  Nobody will want to be here who isn't a predator; the 1980 New Mexico prison riot may prove to have been child's play by comparison.

[Update 1/16/13: Here are excerpts from the Married..with Children episode referenced above.]

Monday, October 22, 2012

There was a time....

Dumb looks are free
Here's a photo of me that I didn't know existed until last year, when Ken Mantlo, a one-time buddy of mine, scanned and e-mailed it to me.  It was taken at his parents' house in Albuquerque, probably in the summer of 1981 (when I was twenty-two), although I don't remember the occasion.  It obviously isn't a particularly flattering portrait, but it reflects a time when I still had a fair amount of self-regard -- something that several failed dating relationships, together with a disastrous first semester of law school in the fall of 1983, caused to dissipate.  At the time, I was a recently returned missionary who, despite not having concrete plans for the future, nonetheless considered the world to be full of possibilities.

I look back on that summer with some fondness, as it was the last truly carefree time of my lifeI was having a lot of fun attending the local singles ward and going to all the young-adult activities, and my "filthy" summer job -- bagging fertilizer at a plant in the South Valley -- blessedly ended after a couple of weeks, when my brother Roger (who had worked there for five years and had gotten me the job) had a fistfight with the boss arising from a disagreement over some tools that one of the other employees had stolen.  Things changed abruptly that fall, when I went back to BYU for what turned out to be my last year there; my brother Kelly got me a job working at Utah Valley Hospital as a "respiratory equipment technician," which had me working 12-hour shifts every Saturday and Sunday.  My work schedule, combined with the fact that I was rooming with Ken, Tracy Carroll, and a football player from Washington state named Bub Mathews -- none of whom worked or was nearly as serious about school as I was -- made that an extremely tough year for me and played a large part in my not ever going back to BYU.  I'm still left wondering where the intervening thirty-plus years went!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The "J"

Here is a still-frame from the 1962 film Lonely Are the Brave, starring Kirk Douglas; the scene excerpted here was filmed on the West Mesa of Albuquerque.  As can be seen in the frame -- and just as there used to be a "U" (for "UNM") painted on a small peak in the Sandia foothills -- there once was a "J" painted on a small peak near the escarpment on the West Mesa.  (It stood for the "College of St. Joseph," a Catholic school later known as the University of Albuquerque, which closed in 1986 and whose facilities now house St. Pius X High School.)  The spot where Douglas is riding here (and it is Douglas, not a stand-in) is not far from the present-day location of our daughter Devery's house.  The "J" -- which is now erased, as is the "U" -- is a piece of local history that few Albuquerque residents know about now, although I remember it well from my childhood.  I especially like the fact that it's preserved, if only for a few seconds, in an old Hollywood film.

[Update 10/17/12: Here are a couple of photos from Google Earth.  The one on the left is an aerial view of the "J" -- note that the peak is very obviously an extinct volcano, and that the outline of the "J" is still visible on the eastern face.  The pic on the right is a broader view of the area, showing the location of the "J" relative to Devery's house, as well as the approximate location where the frame from Lonely Are the Brave was photographed.]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Few Memories

At Dorine's parents' house, Spring 1986
This photo, probably taken sometime in April 1986, brings back a few memories.  The baby in the picture is Devery, and I had broken the fourth metacarpal bone in my left hand while diving for a pop fly in a spring-league softball game.  Since I'm left-handed, I had to write all my final exams the following month with that cast on my hand; needless to say, it wasn't easy!  Dorine and I had been married for about 16 months at that time, and we used to go have Sunday dinner with her parents, Lynn and Rhea Wilson, at their house on Riviera Rd. NE, where this was taken.  After Rhea died of cancer in the spring of 1990, and ever since Lynn's remarriage a year or two later -- to one of his sons' mother-in-law, no less -- we have only rarely visited the house.  (Lynn has gone with us to a lot of Dorine's softball games in the last few years, so we still see him quite often.)  As Dorine says, it just isn't her mother's home anymore.  It seems strange that Rhea has been gone now for more than 22 years, and that my father has been gone for more than 15 years.  Time flies, whether you're having fun or not!

Seeing this photo also reminds me what Dorine looked like before she got braces on her teeth around 1998 (having teeth extracted at the same time).  Orthodontia changed the shape of her mouth quite markedly -- overall, I'd say for the better, although I thought she was beautiful either way.  (The braces were her idea, not mine.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The End of Summer

Dorine and I in the Sandia foothills
1. We've been working on our back yard, or at least part of it, to plant new grass.  The job has entailed tearing up a lot of roots from the shade tree in back of the house, which roots had, over time, risen up to the surface.  Then, when we roto-tilled the ground on Friday, we tore up a bunch more roots that were just below the surface, leaving me wondering seriously if the tree will survive.  I hope it doesn't fall over on the house!

2. I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about our pets -- Baloo the cat, Gekker the leopard gecko, and Mischa the miniature pinscher.  We finally had pity on Baloo and had him euthanized, and then Gekker expired of extreme gecko old age.  Mischa, however, was relatively young and we expected her to stay healthy for a number of years.  Nonetheless, lately she's lost weight, acts sluggish, and seems to be losing her sight.  Diabetes is the first thing that springs to mind -- I guess we'll be taking her to the vet to find out.

[Update 9/12/12: The veterinarian, indeed, diagnosed Mischa with diabetes.  I never expected to care enough for a pet to give it insulin shots, but that's exactly what we're doing for Mischa; however, surgery to correct the cataracts that she seemingly developed overnight -- and which have left her all but blind -- is pretty much out of our price range, no matter the level of our caring.]

3. As the fall presidential election approaches, it occurs to me that, really, the only reason Barack Obama is even in the running for re-election is that he's African American.  (Of course, race was about 90% of the reason he defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries.)  Is it racist to posit that a Caucasian with Obama's record in office probably would have faced a bruising primary challenge and, at the least, would be polling well behind his opponent from the other major party?  The Dems and their allies in the media have none-too-subtly suggested that there can be no legitimate opposition to Obama's policies -- that all such opposition is, by definition, fueled by racism.  Others have said it more eloquently, but when "racism" encompasses sincere policy differences, the word really has lost most of its meaning, and, if enough people wake up to that reality, Mitt Romney will be president next year

4. When I was growing up, both of my parents were registered Democrats (and, for all I know, my mother could still be one).  As the Democratic Party moved steadily left-ward in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, my father became a Republican and died an arch-conservative.  The biggest difficulties I would have with being a Democrat these days are (a) the fact that unrestricted abortion rights (including late-term abortions) are practically the central sacrament of the quasi-church of Democrat "progressivism," and (b) the fact that the Dems continue to expand government entitlements drastically without any realistic means of paying for them.  No matter what one believes about abortion rights, there simply is no good justification for a third-trimester abortion -- it's baby-killing, pure and simple.  And no matter what one believes government can or should do to "spread the wealth" to the poor, it is the height of irresponsibility and recklessness to increase entitlement spending radically with no revenue to pay for it.  I think the Dems ought to "man up" and confess the obvious truth of these things, inasmuch as one of them is killing our country morally, and the other is doing so fiscally.

5. BYU has played its first football game of the 2012 season, beating Washington State handily, 30-6.  It's not realistic to expect the Y to go undefeated, but, having seen their first outing, I believe there isn't a game on the Cougars' schedule that they can't win.

[Update 9/21/12: BYU has now lost two close games in a row, to Utah and Boise State.  The Y's defense has played heroically, but the offense has been horrible; points given up off turnovers were the difference in both losses.  I won't jump off the bandwagon, but clearly BYU isn't as good a team as they appeared to be.]

6. I've been using an "event monitor" to record heart arrhythmias, and it appears that I have some left-atrial fibrillation that could be caused by high blood pressure.  I believe, however, that the combination of long-term insomnia and chronic disequilibrium have contributed heavily to whatever heart issues I'm having.  I'm on medication for it now, but it's difficult to say what my long-term treatment plan will be.  Diet will undoubtedly play a big role in it, but that won't be easy for me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It weighs on my mind....

At Philmont Scout Ranch, 2004
1. I've been thinking a lot about how I used to idolize certain rock stars, even having fantasies about becoming one myself.  In recent times, however, I've found, after reading several rock-star memoirs or biographies, that all I feel now for pop musicians of all stripes is unadulterated revulsion.  I still listen to the pop music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s -- and I like some music released since then -- but I no longer have any regard for the people who made/make it.

2. In the last few weeks I've seen some slight improvement in my health.  My mal de debarquement (MdD) rocking sensation hasn't gone away, but I haven't been feeling quite as bad all the time.  I think two things have helped.  One, I've been taking Sertraline (Zoloft), a "selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor" (SSRI) anti-depressant.  (The literature for MdD states that some patients derive some relief from SSRIs.  It may be that all the Sertraline does is mitigate the anxiety and depression that otherwise result from MdD -- in other words, it doesn't help the underlying condition but merely blunts its secondary effects -- but that's something.  I went through some bad days while adjusting to the med, but I seem to be seeing some benefit now.)  And two, I've stopped doing any kind of hamstring stretches as part of my warm-up routine at the gym.  Apparently I can't stretch my hammies, even "lightly," without causing chronic lower-back muscle tears; now that I've stopped, however, my back has felt much better.

3. I haven't had much desire to play guitar recently.  Somehow, guitar-playing has only added to my depression of late -- possibly because the stuff I play tends to be blues-based, and (as Elton John might say) there's a reason they call it the blues.  I also wonder sometimes if I've simply wasted too much of my life playing guitar when I could have been doing more-constructive things.  The guitar used to have something of a therapeutic effect on me, as it helped me to channel or resolve my emotions in much the same way that keeping a journal has always helped me to focus my thoughts; however, now it seems only to create negative emotions or to aggravate existing ones.

4. Related to the foregoing is the fact that a variety of activities have fallen out of my life over time, creating "space" that I've had a hard time filling by other means.  I used to like to go to Las Vegas and do a little low-roller gambling with my brother-in-law Mike, but it's now been almost six years since my last trip there and I'm only mildly interested in going back.  I used to like to go bouldering with Rod Williamson in the Sandia foothills, but that's long gone from my life now.  I also used to enjoy the adventure of caving with friends, but it's now been almost four years since our last trip to the Guads.  (It's probably a moot point now that there are fears about the spread of "white nose syndrome," which has been killing bats by the tens of thousands back east; I doubt any of the cognizant agencies in New Mexico is issuing recreational caving permits now, and they may never do so again.)  I used to enjoy backpacking, at least to the extent I ever did it, but it's been almost six years now since Bob Maes and I last went to the Grand Canyon.  I sang for five years (1997-2002) in a local men's a cappella group called "De Profundis" -- which I enjoyed to a certain extent, although I never really regarded it to be worth the time commitment (plus I'm not that great a singer to begin with).  Now, well...I really don't even like to sing in our ward choir.  

So what do I like to do?  I still like to hike, at least insofar as I can find time and energy for it.  I like to go camping with the family, although that's difficult to swing more than once or twice a year.  I like to exercise, whether it's riding a stationary bike at the gym or taking long walks with Dorine; it's been nice that Dorine has caught the "exercise bug," inasmuch as we have that in common now.  I spend too much time on the Internet, which is really my only source of news and information these days.  I also spend too much time watching "reality TV" shows on The History Channel, A&E, TruTV, and SpikeTV.  Finally, I like to go shopping, mainly to spend time with Dorine.  My problem with trying to find any new pastimes these days -- constructive or otherwise -- is the stupid MdD and how it saps all my resources.

5. I've often wondered if I'm at least partly a hypocrite for being politically conservative at the same time I work in a quasi-government job at a national laboratory.  In many ways, I am part of what I rail against -- I'm paid well for the job I do; I have fairly lavish benefits (especially annual vacation time); I could retire as early as age 55; and I curse every time the benefits/retirement package is modified to my detriment (which is practically every year), even though I know why the cost-cutting measures are necessary.  (The company's new hires don't even have a pension plan anymore; rather, all they get is greater "matching" contributions to their 401(k) savings plans.)  One could reasonably ask why I'm in favor of cutting federal spending in drastic fashion when seemingly I'm just one more pig at the federal trough; I'm not sure I have a good answer.

6. I'm looking forward very much to the start of the college football season, if only to watch BYU play.  Some people have put the "Y" down for going independent in football -- claiming the only reason it did so was that no "power" conference would extend it an invitation to join -- but the mere fact that all of its games are on national TV (on ESPN, BYUtv, or...this year, against Notre Dame...NBC) has surely expanded its fan base.  And if I'm at all representative of that fan base, the ability to watch BYU on television has likewise deepened loyalty to the Cougar "brand."  I used to say, inasmuch as I earned two degrees (JD, MBA) from the University of New Mexico and one (BA) from BYU, that I was two parts UNM fan and one part BYU fan.  However, given that UNM all but disappeared from TV as the result of the Mountain West Conference's exclusive broadcast contract with its debacle of a network "The mtn," I naturally gravitated to BYU when it left the MWC and went on the air full-time.

As for the University of Utah's joining the Pacific-12 Conference last year, I can't help but liken it to Barack Obama's winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.  Just as Obama won the Nobel prize, not for anything he'd done, but simply by virtue of not being (and as a pointed rebuke to) George W. Bush, Utah was invited to join the Pac-12 essentially as a reward for not being (and as a pointed rebuke to) BYU.  Having grown up in New Mexico, I am not particularly anti-University of Utah: I rooted for the U in its bowl game last year against Georgia Tech and even pulled for the San Francisco 49ers in last year's NFL playoffs because of their quarterback Alex Smith (a U product).  However, I really want BYU to beat Utah -- thereby avenging a horrible 54-10 loss last year and putting a few inferiority-complexed U fans in their place -- in the two schools' September 15 football game in SLC.  We'll see if membership in a "power" conference truly is conducive to perpetual football superiority; my guess is that it isn't, necessarily.

[Update 9/17/12: Well, BYU lost to Utah again, 24-21, although at least this year's game wasn't as big an embarrassment as last year's.  It was, however, about the most bizarre football game I've ever seen.  Not only did the crowd noise have a significant impact on the game (causing BYU to receive a huge number of "false start" penalties and also to snap the ball early a couple of times out of the "shotgun" formation, one of which led to a fumble that a Utah player picked up and returned for a touchdown), but the home fans ran out on the field prematurely -- twice -- and had to be herded back off the field.  The first time, the "friendly" home timekeeper had run out the clock on BYU, but an official's review caused one second to be put back on the clock, which in turn allowed BYU to attempt a 51-yard field goal.  That attempt was blocked, but the home fans ran out again onto the field while the ball was still "live," leading to a penalty against Utah that gave BYU another attempt at a field goal (despite there being no time remaining, since of course a football game can't end on a defensive penalty), an eminently make-able one from 36 yards; however, this time the ball bounced off the left upright, finally ending the game.  Of course, I would have liked to see the game go to overtime, but in a sense it was cosmic justice -- BYU was outplayed and simply didn't deserve to win.  I'll keep rooting for them, however!]

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cabin Trip, August 2-6, 2012

Kristy with Hailee on the San Juan
By the San Juan near the malt shoppe
In the Rio Blanco near the cabin
Walking up-river for another tubing run
By the San Juan on the east end of town
Alexis on the banks of the San Juan
Maddi and Hailee at Treasure Falls
Dion floating on the San Juan
Me with Maddi in the Rio Blanco
Having ice cream at the malt shoppe
Chris with Maddi in the San Juan
Dorine on the river walk in town
Outside the cabin
Kiley and Sam at Treasure Falls
Zach floating on the San Juan
Some of the kids on the San Juan
Kiley and Sam on the San Juan
Zach playing Wii in the cabin
Family members at Treasure Falls
Treasure Falls
Dion and Kayla
Chris floating on the San Juan
Me at Echo Amphitheater, 1963
Me at Echo Amphitheater, 2012

                                                        Lunch at the cabin, 8/5/12

We recently spent four nights at the cabin, arriving on Thursday, August 2, and coming home on Monday, August 6.  Most of our family went up on this trip -- only Darren, who's in Provo, and Devery and Easton, who decided there would be a big-enough crowd as things stood, didn't go.  The cabin, which isn't all that big, became a bit of a zoo at times with seventeen people there, but all in all, we had fun.  Dorine and I took one bedroom, and Kiley and Sam the other, for the first two nights, and then we relinquished the bedrooms to Kristy and Chris, and to Heidi and Dion, for the last two nights.  I can't say I relish sleeping on an airbed in the living room -- especially when I use a breathing machine at night for my sleep apnea -- but it all worked out.  We did a little playing in the Rio Blanco by the cabin, but more fun was had in town on the San Juan River, which was low enough for safe inner-tubing.  I enjoyed our usual trips to the malt shoppe, to Treasure Falls, and to the supermarket.  I made a point of stopping at Echo Amphitheater on the way home, as I desired to get a picture of me standing in the same place in which my mother took a photograph of me when I was four years old.  As you can tell from the photos above, much of the same infrastructure is still in place from nearly fifty years ago.  I shot the video embedded above, which shows the cabin living room and kitchen/dining area and gives a good idea of life at the cabin with extended family.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Camping Trip to Villanueva, July 13-14, 2012

Dorine with Kayla and Tyler
Kayla at the river's edge
Tyler on the bank of the river
Our campsite, next to the water tank

Mason, Kayla, Tyler
Easton and Devery

Mariah, Nolan
Dorine with Noelle

Mason and Tyler planning mischief

Another view of our campsite
Kristy and Devery with Noelle
The twins checking out the "bichos"

Zach, Nolan, Alexis, Nicole
Sweating out the heat

We took our annual family camping trip to Villanueva State Park on Friday, July 13.  It turned out to be a crowded evening at the park; it was a good thing that Dorine and I (along with Heidi and Dion's kids and Nicole's friend Mariah Smith) got there at 2:30 pm to claim a couple of "sheltered" campsites for our group.  As it was, we had to camp on the upper level at the water tank, which is about a quarter-mile walk from the river and the full-service bathrooms (although our sites did at least have running water and a decent pit toilet).  Feeling self-conscious about "squatting" on two campsites with one car, I didn't feel like we could even go walk around until Devery and Easton and their kids got there at about 5:30 pm, so we sat in the heat for about three hours.  (I should at least have gone and soaked my t-shirt to stay cool, but it didn't occur to me to do that until later.)  We had steak/chicken fajitas for dinner, which tasted great, and then Kristy and Chris and their kids arrived at around 7:30 pm.  

As always, it was a lot of work to set up tents, inflate air beds, and get out sleeping bags, but at least we had plenty of space for everyone.  We didn't do a whole lot that evening, but we did take the little kids on a walk down to the main bathrooms, both to wash up and to look for toads and bugs.  The next morning we had a nice breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, pancakes, and orange juice.  We had brought along our inner tubes, so we pumped them up (and patched them, as necessary) and took turns using them to float down the river, which was enjoyable, and the kids got to play at the playground.  We didn't get to take any hikes to speak of, and our staying only one night once again raised questions about whether the trip was worth all the work, but overall we had a lot of fun.  Next year we may look for a different place to camp, as the "secret" is clearly "out" about Villanueva -- it's significantly more popular now than it was when we first went there in 2004.