Monday, February 9, 2009

What a Year!!

It is unbelievable that as yesterday came and went, one year has passed since Dad passed away. The time has flown by and in many ways it seems like just yesterday that he was with us. I can't even begin to count the number of times this year I have thought "I need to tell Dad..." before I reminded myself that he already knows.

When my days are falling apart around me, he has been there so many times to pick up the pieces. BYU Football season wasn't quite the same without him. Our source for the answers to those thought-provoking questions has not been a phone call away. We do know where to go, however, to make an effort to connect our thoughts with his and receive his ever present words of advice. Fortunately his grave marker is not too hard to find.

It has been a year. It has flown by and I am sure the next one will as well. He taught me many things in my life and wanted the best and more. One of his favorite things to tell us was "It's good for your experience" so I guess my experiences are mounting to the heavens. I was reminded during my weekend funk that I need to make him proud so I guess I need to figure out how to get my act together so that I can do that.

In any case, he was one of the best people I will ever know and I am glad to know that families are forever. I love you Dad!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bombs Away!!!

Friday I got a call from a friend to see if we were interested in flying in the WWII B-17 Bomber from Falcon Field on Saturday afternoon. They had two seats available on a flight. First of all, let's be clear that I am a wimp (Debbie's words after the fact) and I know nothing about planes from any era. I also am afraid of heights and have claustrophobia, but my husband, on the other hand, LOVES planes. In fact, his first question when I asked if he was interested was "Can I take a camera?" So we took advantage of the opportunity and took flight. The plane was the "Sentimental Journey". Needless to say, my husband was a very happy person when he got to sit in the bombadier seat for takeoff. I settled for the navigator spot.
The flight was around 20 minutes in the air. We had a few minutes' delay in taking off, but the problems were dealt with and we were off. Carol was on the ground to take pictures of our ascent. She did a great job of capturing the moment.

We started off the flight in the nose, but the other four people on the flight also got their opportunity for the great view. Once we left the front of the plane, we had to climb under a low divider and onto the catwalk across the bomb bay. It was very narrow! We had been told ahead of time that if we dropped anything down there during the flight we should just leave it there and they would get it after the flight - comforting thought!! Looking at pictures reminds me how narrow that walk really was!!!

During the pre-flight briefing, we were told that we could move around the plane once they reached level altitude, especially in the back of the plane. I thought they were crazy. I figured I would be in my seat, belted in, until we landed. Actually I didn't sit down until it was time to land - it was amazing even to me.

Duane had the opportunity to "shoot a gun", he got to take a ton of pictures (even some with the bomb bay doors open), and he got the opportunity for this once-in-a-lifetime flight. As we were getting off the plane, I told him Debbie would be his best friend forever.

Carol had a great time taking pictures while we were flying and topped it off with pictures of the incoming landing.

"Sentimental Journey" rolled off the assembly line in late 1944 and has been used in a variety of roles through the years. Now it can be seen at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Mesa's Falcon Field until May when it heads out for its summer tour of airshows and displays. What a piece of history and a treat.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Flagstaff Happenings...

So what did we get to do in Flagstaff? Believe me, it was well worth the trip. Just to be able to have no schedules, no deadlines, no demands was fantastic!! We took games and puzzles and a folding table that fit between the beds in our hotel room. Spending more time there than we had originally expected wasn't so bad.

We did venture outside a few times, though. We went on a tour of the Arizona Historical Society Pioneer Museum. The Museum is housed in the former Coconino County Hospital, once known as the "Poor Farm" because many of the patients were indigent elderly men. Some of the rooms are still set up as exam rooms. The collections include artifacts related to the logging industry, livestock raising, and social life of the region. Their winter exhibit is "Playthings of the Past" which includes various means of entertainment through the years. They also have an iron lung on display. That is just an amazing idea that someone could live like that for years on end.

They have other buildings on the site which were associated with the hospital. Carol's new camera has settings that they had fun experimenting with and they took some cool pictures around the area. One of my favorites is this black and white they took of the barn which housed the horses and a milk cow in the early 1900s. There was a lot of snow that morning and they took a number of beautiful pictures around the exterior of the building.

We did change our mind about going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on Wednesday because of the weather. There was a storm expected in the early afternoon and we did not want to take our chances getting stuck so we decided not to go. The storm ended up not starting until the evening so we probably would have been fine.

Friday we did decide to go to the Rim, though. Duane was debating, but I said we were going. I was still on a cracker and diet pepsi diet from my bout with whatever had me on Thursday night, but that was something Duane really wanted to do and even though it was going to add a few hours to our trip home, I insisted it was going to happen. It was sooooo cold and the wind was blowing, but it was beautiful and the pictures were worth the time. We only went to a couple of the observation sites because the roads weren't that great. Carol and I got our for a few pictures, then we told Duane to take his time and we would have the car warm for him when he finished.

It was a great trip and I am so glad we went. It was a simple and memorable Christmas for our family!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry White Wishes!!

Merry Christmas from the Cluffs!! My intention was to put this out there ON Christmas, but the illness that overtook my body the afternoon of Christmas Day kept that from happening; nevertheless, the hope from our family to yours is that the time spent with your family and loved ones remembering the birth of our Savior was happy and memorable.

The snow in Flagstaff started falling about the time the sun went down (I don't know if it never really got up on Wednesday) and we woke up on Christmas to a winter wonderland - about 8 inches of snow on the ground and it continued to snow throughout the day. It was a soft, white, beautiful snow, though (it was still COLD!!).

We went to the first showing of "Bedtime Stories" at the theater right down the street from our hotel. We don't typically go to movies on Christmas, although, Carol decided we needed to make this a new tradition. There were quite a few people at the theater when we got there and even more there when we left, but there were only about 30 people in the theater where we were. That was a fun thing to do.

We went from there to IHOP for lunch - one of the few places open. We had to wait for a table because they were packed!! They were only open until 2 and it was after 2 when we left. The employees were definitely ready to finish up and go home.

We went back to our hotel room to relax for the afternoon - took naps, did puzzles, played games. Carol's new addiction is Dutch Blitz so now we just have to make sure we make time for the relaxation part of life in the future.

With the exception of the getting sick part, it was a nice Christmas - great to have some time to relax and have no fixed schedule.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Changing Plans...

We planned to go to the Lowell Observatory on Monday night to see their Holiday Skies show. We called at 4:30 to see if they were going to be open because of the snow and they said yes. By the time we got there an hour later, they were closed!! The guy driving the snow plow up and down the hill said they had problems with employees driving on the hill so they decided it would be best to close. We took a few pictures and took a slow drive down the hill and went to WalMart instead...

We decided to go back yesterday to take a tour of the Observatory during the day, but the stars were not in our favor - they were closed because of Christmas Eve...

We were planning on going up to South Rim of the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, but the weather forecast called for the snow and chains were recommended. The low brake fluid light had come on in the van so we tried to buy chains when we dealt with the brake fluid, but they did not have any. At that point we decided it wasn't worth it to take the risk since the storm was expected (it turns out the snow didn't start until later in the evening, but we had no way of knowing that at 9:30 in the morning).

Because of the snow that fell and was on the ground most of the week, most of the outdoor activities that we had talked about doing were put on hold until another season of the year when we can make a return trip.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Greetings from Riordan Mansion!!

Well, we made our break from the Valley Christmas this week and were greeted with snow 20 miles outside of Flagstaff. This meant we have had to modify some of the things we had hoped to do, but we did get to tour the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park.

The Mansion was built in 1904 for two Riordan families. The two wings are basically mirror images of each other with a center common room adjoining them. It was built in the "arts and crafts" style and is filled with original furnishings. Both floors of the east wing can be toured and have some great furnishings. Nothing can be touched except for a Steinway grand piano, which I was invited to play as the only one in the group who could play the piano. I told Duane we could just pack that up and take it home with us.

The east wing is only open on the first floor and is filled with memorabilia and examples of what life was like for the lumber industry in Flagstaff in the early 1900s as well as what the family was like through the years. Family and education were two things that were very important to the Riordans and this is evident in their homes. The homes and the contents belonging to the families were donated to the state.

We all love historical stuff so it was very interesting to us.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Countdown Continues...

3) I get the opportunity to teach Presidents of the Church in Sunday School next year. We have had great lessons this year on preparing for exaltation and the steps we need to take on a daily basis to return and live with our Heavenly Father. What a great blessing and what great discussions we have had. The prophets of the Lord are such great men and positive examples in our lives - getting to spend a year studying their lives will be a great blessing.
4) We are going to get a project finished at home... I don't know what project it is going to be since we have so many started, but we will get one done (or maybe more than one).
5) I am going to take time to actually finish reading the books we choose to read for book club...
6) I am going to get back into the habit of regular scripture study. When I am in that habit in my life, it adds such a great peace, I need to remember that and stick with it!
7) I am going to make time for me every day (okay, well maybe not every day, but even once a week is an improvement).
8) We have season tickets to the Hale Theatre for 2009. They have some great shows coming and we get to go as a family to see "Beauty and the Beast" and "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" (among others)... I can't wait until January!
9) We also are going to see "The Lion King" and "Wicked" at Gammage. Through the Mesa Chamber, we got discount tickets. "Wicked" tickets aren't even on sale to the general public yet and we already have ours!!! Carol saw it in London so she can't wait to see it again.
10) I get to participate this week with the Chamber in wrapping gifts for a family from Save the Family. I love this annual project and the associations I have through Women's Business Council.
11) We are thoroughly enjoying the Christmas movies - the problem we run into is not getting them recorded off fast enough and running out of space on the DVR.
12) I am looking forward to finding some order in my life... filling my vessel with the spirit of organization... I used to feelk much more in control - I would like to head back in that direction.
13) I am looking forward to a Christmas that focuses on the spirit of Christ and his life - the example He set for us to follow, the peace we can have each day because of the life He lived.