Thursday, July 30, 2009


Our last day in california took us through napa valley. We enjoyed shopping in calistoga springs but napa itself felt dead. We took the long way around clear lake. I'll just say it's not all clear but it's still beautiful. This day's drive was much more pleasant. I was surprised by the tourism aspects of wine country - just odd to me since it's not on my radar. I did enjoy what appeared to be huge azalea bushes everywhere. But they could have been rhododendrons - I hear they're related. I took a photo while on the highway anyway.

our very last day began in reno and ended up in church just in time for sacrament meeting. Let me just tell you what a let down nevada is when finishing a scenic road trip. At least I had a good book to read. I finished "god wants a powerful people" - it did a lot for me in the moment and since then. We had good discussions connected to points made in the book. I'd also like to point out what an amazingly comfortable stay we had in the staybridgesuites in reno using the fabulous friends and family rate courtesy of the good friend tracie - thanks tracie - hooray for a haven of comfort after a bad night in willits.


I've already voiced my complaints about the koa there but there was one redeeming factor about the town - their family friendly pizza joint. Friendly regulars gave advice on what and how to order and the service was exceptional. Friendly and helpful and kind and fun employees. I overheard a couple even fighting over who did the hard job of cleaning up the salad bar. I loved the place so much I left a 5 dollar general tip - one of those plastic cups by the register type deals. I also bought two servings of ice cream. It had been a hard afternoon of driving twisty mountain and coastal roads. My road trip buddies were a bit sick by the time we were done and I had a headache. So here is evidence of my ice cream servings and the happy pizza joint. Sometimes it's life's little pleasures that save a day.

More redwoods

We kept driving south and went through the avenue of the giants. Wow. Again those redwoods are amazing. We took a short walk through a grove until I decided it was time to look for facilities. In this grove, though, things seemed more wild. Trees would be leaning over and still growing so they'd have branches going straight up like new trees. There were also a LOT of trees/plants growing on others.

Wedding rock

On our drive south we stopped at patrick's point and visited wedding rock. What a stunning view - and it was even fogged in - but still - just like stories and movies and imagination - but real. our favorite bit was the squirrel that seemed to be meditating on the view too. Sorry my camera is so lame. If you look closely maybe you can see it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Move it!

I haven't finished blogging my trip - I will tomorrow - but before I hit the hay I just wanted to report on some of today's fun. to make up for so much sitting the last few days I took myself to the cinema cardio. I caught the last exciting bit of karate kid - what a fun and inspiring flick. It made me want to be a better mentor to the neighbor kid - remember, the one that put stickers on my house. Last week he left a couple letters in my mail box. Anyway, fun was had at the gym but it got better at fhe. There's an especially vibrant fellow in my ward who presented a workshop on health. He's a young spanish version of jack lalanne - in fact he showed a few clips from jack's old show. Very inspiring - I can't wait to learn more. After the presentation he took us through some movements that basically had us hitting ourselves - it was like a self massage. I think it focused on all the pressure points. It was fun to be a part of a room full of adults doing what looked like some funny slap dance. It felt great!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rest stop

This is the view from one of our many stops. I happened to find a comfortable rock to lie on. Kristen opted to climb down the rocks and run across the beach to meet us in the parking lot. I noticed there was a hostel right by the beach. So very cool! I love hostels but we decided the koa was cheaper for us. And it may have been more comfortable. We loved the koa up in crescent city - loved it! I wish i'd taken a photo of it. Our cabin was in a redwood forest - just a difference of a few feet and we went from daylight to dark. I'm a big fan of the koa kabins. Well... except for the one in willits. No photo of that one either. We stayed there the next night and hated it. Blech. They were celebrating christmas in july and the place seemed packed with partiers. I felt like we were staying in a trailer park. Blech.

The gals

So here we are - in our only group picture. I think we'd just looked out over an amazing rocky cliff - the coast line trail is stunning - and I insisted on taking this picture. Seriously - it's a great drive. I only wish we'd stopped more often. We passed lots of people on bikes - holy dedication and hard work. At one stop we visited with a fellow who had a major telescope attached to a camera. He took pictures of birds. Cool "job."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lady bird johnson grove

Our first tourist stop in the redwoods was stunning. I finally saw things that i've only read about or seen in movies - it's a forest more stunning and fantastical than i've ever been in and i've gotten around. The trees are supposedly taller than football fields. The friends are posed in front of some upturned roots. The forest floor is covered in ferns and clover like plants - all huge to match the trees. Other common trees were rododendrons and hawthornes - they often grew out of fallen dead redwoods - so everything felt alive. A lot of redwoods were bruned on the inside but their outer bark has water for resin so they didn't burn easily and you'd see hollowed out trees still living. They reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books - "my side of the mountain" where a kid lived inside a tree. Best book!

Clam beach

We finally hit the coast at mckinleyville. This may have been our favorite beach. It wasn't terribly crowded. We got our toes wet - cold - and watched a man play fetch with his dog by throwing the ball into the oncoming waves. Seeing the ocean was one of the main reasons for this trip. Angela loves the ocean.


It's a small town in california. But it has one of the coolest bridges ever. We walked over it the night before and it was all lit up from below. I can't say i've ever seen so many spiderwebs in my life! Well we went back in the daylight - super cool at both times of day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

leg 1 of cali trip

My friends kristen and angela (friends fro church) and I headed west this morning. Tonight we sleep in a motel 6 in redding. After tasty chevy's for dinner we went to sun dial bridge - wow - worth seeing! Most of the day was spent on the road. We stopped in lassen national park and spent time next to summit lake. I wish I knew the name of the montain - but I haven't fully studied the map. Anyway, it was a gorgeous lake. It made the perfect sounds and the breeze felt like heaven. Just see how clear the water is! I wish we camped there and stayed a day or two. But tomorrow we head north to crescent city.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


earlier this week during scripture study i got thinking about enemies. in 2 nephi 4 nephi prays that his enemies way will be hedged up. i wondered who my enemies were. they're hard to spot. if i can't spot them how can i pray for them? pray for them in the good, bless them sort of way, and in the hedge them up sort of way - you know, so that they aren't enemies anymore and aren't a problem. yesterday i watched a short bit on the byutv - it was a healthy living program and there was a panel of experts. one of the experts said that we live in an environment that promotes unhealthy food and unhealthy behavior. we go around telling ourselves and others that we should just make good choices - yes there are temptations, but we should have self control and not give in. he pointed out that our environment in relation to healthy eating is like putting a person in a room plastered with pornography and telling that person to not look or be affected by it. at some point it will drive you bonkers. his point was that at some point, no matter our desire to behave responsibly, we will make poor eating and behavior choices because our environment is so toxic. it got me thinking that my enemies may be all the advertising, as well as "norms" that surround me. i thought of all the friends and acquaintances, well meaning and kind that they are, with their various suggestions/advice/offers that may not be healthy for me physically, mentally, or emotionally. i think we need to pray for our enemies because a lot of them may not consciously even BE our enemies - they are well meaning loved ones who may be misguided by their own "enemies." so what do you think of that? sure makes me want to be a lot more self aware and careful about my actions and choices and beliefs.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I hate being sick. I hate coughing. I hate feeling lethargic. I hate blowing my nose. I hate not that smiling takes effort. It reminds me of a great fortune cookie I got earlier this week: it's tough being fanscinating. Especially, I say, when i'm sick.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

housing market

so... a couple good friends just recently bought new homes. hooray for low interest rates! well, as you know, the housing market is always a bit crazy. just for a point of interest i'd like to share another snippet from my father's journal. this one is dated november 27, 1979.

The real estate market here has suffered a real turn for the worse. Nationwide the prime interest rate has risen to over 15% which has really put a damper on real estate transactions. Our friends the Melzers have been trying very hard to sell their home to move to Los Angeles. They have had some difficulty which may be some indication that it may not be so easy for us either. One thing is for sure – we will move. Since it was right that we should come here and have this experience, I am sure a way will be provided, either easily or with difficulty, for us to be able to move on to the next assignment.

what is interesting to me is that my parents bought their house in california knowing they'd only be there for a year. that's a lot of house selling headache. seems like renting would have been a good option - but i don't know the rules and norms of home ownership back in the late 70's. this morning i read in the ny times an article about president carter's speech he delivered in july of 1979. apparently the nation was in a "crisis" and needed some leadership and hope. the article taled about how carter was different from regan and obama by speaking of reality and the need for responsibility as opposed to a bunch of fluffy positive talk and dreams. having just typed my father's experiences of the same time period i don't think my father was much of a news reader - at least his journal reflects none of the concern this article seemed to imply was gripping the nation. his days are filled with fixing things around the house (including a car) and conducting music in sunday school - it was apparently a very rewarding calling for him. he also does a lot of dreaming about missionary work and balancing his work responsibilities with family time. it reminds me of a comment made in my relief society the other day. the woman said that if you are prepared and have heeded the prophet's warnings of the last 10 years then this financial crisis our nation seems to be in won't be having too drastic of an effect on you. i like to think that may parents were heeding the prophet - i know they were - my dad mentions quite a few times things president kimball said. hooray for goodly parents.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

30 years ago

yesterday i was at my mother's house. i found an old journal my father managed to keep for about a year of his life 30 years ago. i decided to take it home and type it up to share with my family. luckily my father had decent hand writing. this project is going more easily than i thought. i can't say i love sitting at my computer typing, but i love reliving my childhood through my father's eyes, especially with the added perspective i now have of being his age. he was just about my current age when he was writing these entries. i just finished one dated june 12, 1979. here's the final paragraph of that entry:

Friday night and Sunday morning I went to help an elderly lady in our ward to put to bed and get out of bed her husband who is very nearly completely paralyzed from a stroke. He seems to be very alert mentally but is almost completely dependant on others for everything. He cannot even speak beyond just a few words. I would never want to be in a condition like that. If I were no longer able to do anything I would much rather pass along to a new task. This also has impressed upon me more deeply the importance of doing worthwhile and important things now while I can. I must not let the time go by without accomplishing something of worth there is much to do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Last day

Well it's super late so my stories will probably be short. Basically I got fried by the sun today. We had "water frolics" in the pool. An hour in the sun can do major damage. Other things we did - bret and I lost at doubles shuffleboard to a couple who just found out they're pregnant - also, he attends harvard law school. Then we played lightning with the brothers - I think they like to wear me out by "going easy" until I give up from exhaustion. Oh we also learned a cool new game called kubb. Or wa it cubb? Or kuub? Or cuub? Anyway it's a foreign game involving blocks you throw. Bret and I played with a couple siblings and it took over an hour - we were evenly matched. Then we played with the oldest and only officially athletic member of the family and we lost twice in about half an hour. Still it was fun! Okay now to bed. We check out tomorrow. Sadness.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Today began with a torn nail - I even bled - seriously I have never had such a horrible injury before. It happened while making my bed. I wish I could tell you how we spent the morning - oh, I remember, shooting arrows. And watching family members throw horseshoes, climb rock walls, play shuffleboard, and shoot arrows. In the afternoon we hiked to first falls. That was far enough for me as my finger was throbbing. I tried walleyball but it hurt too much. We played air hockey, foosball, and ping pong before dinner and finished the night with some serious pool ball. Another full day at camp. Oh, and a good discussion about the plan of salvation. I want your insights - but not by blog - talk to me in person if you/i think to.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Tonight I found a bee on my floor, near death, crawling towards the open door. I finally helped him out after I took this photo to document it. It was a huge black and yellow bumble bee. Later, after visiting the facilities, I found another one! The second one seemed to have more life but he was still grounded. I wonder where they came from.


This morning began a bit earlier than usual - we went fishing about 7:30. One of the nieces was successful! Which is a miracle because of all the nieces this is the one who had never fished before and who cared the most about getting one and who had the least concept of how much luck is required to even catch one. Apparently the fish wasn't even fully hooked and could/should have gotten away. I tell you little miracles happen often but it feels good to notice and recognize them. The rest of the day consisted of playing horseshoes, water aerobics, remote control car crashing contest, walleyball (i was the lone female and bret said I did well - he's far too generous), frontier days activities like hatchet throwing and train riding, and the best part is an early bed time! Tomorrow we even get to sleep in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shuffleboard champ

Okay, not quite champs. We've only won our first round - but it was fun to learn a new sport and feel successful. Granted our competition was just as new to the game. Besides lots of shuffleboard we did team building field games that got us wet and made us feel like winners. Keeping track of lots of little girls, though, can be a bit of a challenge in such a chaotic setting. Luckily we still have more adults than kids. After exhausting ourselves near to death we all went swimming and played some pool style basketball. In the evening we had fishing and painting ceramics. I commented to bret that I feel like i've played more in just one day than I have in an entire summer. I can't believe we have 3 more full days of this! Oh and the food is good too. I crack up, though, at all the kids who insist on drinking powerade because it is bright blue. Whatever happened to the good old days of kool-aid?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday at camp

Since my fans (plewe) demand more stories i'll see what I can say about sunday at family camp.
We had sacrament meeting in an outdoor amphitheater. Testimonies went about 20 minutes over. There are a few large family reunions in attendance so you can imagine family was a theme to most of them. One group is headed by an emeritus general authority - sorenson. Another is temple president in brazil. The temple president actually gave a great fireside this evening on the church's status in brazil. Apparenly it's second in size (membership wise) to the u.s. In rs and eq they just had everyone introduce themselves and then we had more testimonies. In the afternoon we took family pictures - one brother kept bugging me about being "extra" but I think I handled him just fine. It was my first opportunity, though, to pose in a family picture in which I don't fully belong. The introductions in rs were awkward too, as was the "adult mixer" they had after lunch. Being part of a family reunion where you're "a friend" can be weird if you let it. Mostly I put on my best "i belong" attitude and behavior and I fit just fine. In fact one of the nieces has declared that i'm her new best friend. I helped 2 different (other) nieces use the restroom. I also helped with dressing for bed like I did last night. And at the family's baby blessing (another evening activity) I got to play the piano. Except for the one brother's silly questions I think everyone's making me feel right at home. It was truly an enjoyable sabbath!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Aspen grove family camp

I'm ready for bed. This is my cozy cabin I have all to myself. Poor bret has to share a cabin this size with his brother and 3 nieces. And truthfully, of all the family I think I have the best cabin of all. It is directly across from the bathrooms - lucky! So far i've had fun bonding with the nieces. What trusting girls! I think I can testify of the need to be like little children at least in the sense of being trusting. I got to help take them to the bathroom and brush their teeth. I even got to help them floss. It was fun hanging out in the communal bathroom with the sisters in law and other nieces. It's a great feeling to have kids automatically embrace you and sit on your lap and take your hand and show you everything they care about. so far - great!

not to mention i've had a fabulous lat couple days with my family. This morning we picked cherries, made a pie, made pom poms, played badminton, held kids, read books, grilled chicken, cleaned dishes, laughed hard, chatted it up with siblings, you know - all the good stuff.