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Friday, April 29, 2011

Bad, bad shoes!

These are my running shoes.  I've had them for several years...too many years apparently because they have gone bad.  I guess I shouldn't include both shoes in my scolding; only the left one is bad.  The right one is a good shoe, but if you don't have two good shoes...well, you don't have a pair of good shoes.  

I have an enormous blood blister on my left foot from my bad left shoe.  I've tried wearing thicker running socks, wrapping the sore spot in bandaids and duct tape and mole skin.  I've tried lining the inside of my bad left shoe with duct tape in an attempt to fix whatever is rubbing on my foot when I run.  Nothing has helped and now my foot is in such bad shape, I can't bring myself to put on these shoes again. 

I usually go through a pair of running shoes every two or three years.  I put about 15 running miles a week in all kinds of weather on my shoes, so I've gone through several pairs of shoes in the 12 years I've been running.  I've never had shoes that rebelled on me and struck out so viciously when they were tired out.

Next week I'll go shopping and buy a pair of shoes....hopefully two good shoes that will be kind to my poor left foot.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Highlight of the Month

This has been a rough month for me, but Easter weekend was wonderful and definitely the high point of April.

Several months ago, our dear friends, the Marsdens, suggested we attend the Carl Bloch exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art.  It opened the middle of November and closes May 17.  We agreed that we would love to see the exhibition so Marjie got online to find a Saturday we could obtain tickets.  She had to juggle both families' schedules, but was able to reserve tickets for 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.  Since the Ogden Temple closed on April 2 for the next three years, we decided we would also take in a temple session prior to our exhibit time.  We had our choice of Bountiful, Salt Lake, Oquirrh Hills, Draper, Timpanogos and Provo Temples on our drive down the freeway.  Since Rob and I had the previous week celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary, we thought it fitting that we should return to the Provo Temple where it all started.

In addition to these plans for the day before Easter, we also had the pleasure of having Kevin and Lindsey come and spend the weekend.  They came on Friday evening after meeting Lindsey's grandparents at Maddox for dinner.  Saturday morning they chose the menu for their wedding breakfast at the Copper Mill Restaurant in Logan and in the afternoon they were able to register at Target.  Afterwards,  they took a nap and colored eggs.

Meanwhile, Tim, Margie, Rob and I had a marvelous time in Provo.  The Carl Bloch Exhibit was amazing! He was an incredibly talented artist.  His work has such a profound spirit about it. We appreciate the reverence we felt as we walked through and viewed the paintings gathered from around the world for this exhibit.  I found it especially interesting how many of his paintings have been used in Church publications over the years and how familiar so many were to me.  The three photos I've posted are ones I had never seen before, but check out this article to view some of the other paintings:
"Christ in Gethsemane," a painting on loan from
Sankt Hans Kirke, Odense, Denmark

"Christus Consolator" is a painting in the exhibit on loan from
Sofia Albertina Kyrka, Landskrona, Sweden

We decided this was our favorite Carl Bloch.  It is entitled:
"The Raising of Jarius' Daughter".
The angle isn't good for appreciating the real beauty of the painting.
Sunday was special with most of our family gathered together (we missed your Dani and Kelly!), we had a big dinner and basked in the final moments together before Kevin and Lindsey had to dash back to Logan to fulfill their calling as Ward Prayer Leaders.  Mostly we appreciated the reality of our Savior's power to overcome death and rise from the tomb.  How grateful I am for the conviction and assurance this brings into a life of uncertainty and challenge. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ode to a Hedge

Several prior posts in this blog have referenced my family’s move to an old house on Main Street when I was 16 years old.  The home had been a boarding house in the late 1800s when it was built and in fact, Camilla Eyring Kimball (before she married Spencer W.) lived there while she taught Home Economics at the Millard Academy.

At some point there was a fire at the old boarding house which completely consumed the upper story of the building.  The first floor was repaired and left as a single dwelling, but it was very strangely laid out.  It had stood empty for quite a number of years when my parents bought it for $1500 in 1978.

I can still recall the prevailing smell of stink bugs and mice droppings and the mess we had to clean up before we could start moving in. My Dad added two good-sized additions onto it, one was a kitchen.  When we moved in, we had to do the cooking in our camp trailer because the old kitchen had only a wood-burning cook stove.  

One of the most remarkable aspects of the old place was the giant front lawn and the 8-foot-high and 4-foot-deep hedge that grew around three edges of the property up to the sides of the home.

I was designated as the official hedge keeper.  My dad purchased an electric trimmer and several 100 foot cords.  I used a 7-foot step ladder and it would take me two entire days to trim that hedge.  Dad insisted it be done once a week during the growing season.
I always started on the southwest corner of the property and would work around the outside of the hedge on the first day.  I would start at the bottom working upwards, and then stand on the very top step of the ladder, reaching as far as I could; only attaining half of the top growth.  I worked around the outside perimeter on day 1 and the inside on day 2, conquering the other half of the top along with the inside surface.

It would be nearly dark on the second day as I finished raking up the mountain of trimmings, put away my equipment, and coiled up the cords.

The plus side of this job was how tanned I became from working outside in the summer sun; I was especially dark those years I perched on the top of a stepladder two full days a week.  Also, there was the social factor of the position.  Our home was right next to the store on Main Street, so I often had visitors stop to chat as they came and went from Morris Mercantile.

I returned home the summer after my freshman year at Utah State University and resumed my role as trimmer, but had to work it differently because I had a full-time job at Channel One, the satellite TV station.  That summer I had to work on the hedge in the evenings after work; I would start about 6:30 and work until dark each night.  As soon as I got completely around both sides of the monster, I would start over again.

Fall of 1981, I returned to USU with Thanksgiving as my first visit home.  Sometime before that, I received a letter from my friend, Lynette, telling me that my dad had taken his chainsaw and cut several feet of height from the hedge.  Going home equipped with this information, I was still shocked when I pulled up to our house and saw the hedge was only about half its previous height.  A year later Dad took another foot off the top of the hedge.  I always figured no one else in my family was able to spend 20 hours a week all summer on that yard chore.

My parents moved away from that house in 1986 leaving a stubby three-foot hedge around the house.  Two years ago when Camille and I went to Hinckley for the 24th of July celebration, the hedge around that house was completely gone. It seemed so strange to be able to see the entire house and property from the street.  During my years as Hedge Keeper, our hedge had given the home such privacy and a sense of mystique and ambiguity shrouded behind the high, dense wall of leaves; with the front gate being the only entrance into the deep green and mysterious yard.  Looking back on that weekly duty for three summers of my life, I am grateful for the opportunity to have had an important task that allowed our house to have a unique look and feel of seclusion we cherished as Main Street dwellers.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Arizona Adventure

 Camille and I arrived in Cornville at about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.  We pulled into Mom’s yard about 20 seconds before Mark, Nana and their three boys pulled in behind us from Los Angeles.  Jim and his two youngest children had been there the past few days doing some work on one of his properties.  Mom came out and greeted and invited us in.  My ears were roaring, my head throbbing and my hands shaking from the 12-hour drive.  We only stopped twice on the trip and made good time even though we traveled through a lot of wet and snowy weather.

Since Mom’s house if full of other people, who occupy all the rooms and every other space; (that's another story)Mark and Nana were staying in a hotel in Cottonwood while Camille and I were to stay with a family in  Mom's ward.  The Messicks were extremely hospitable and allowed us accommodations in their basement. After a brief visit at the house, Mom led us through the desert to the Messick's place and left us to settle in and sleep.

The next morning we woke up and got ready for church.  We enjoyed the meetings in the Mingus Ward.  The ward members adore my mother and many of them told me how much they love her.  It was a sweet experience.  That evening we went to another ward family’s home for dinner.  The Westovers have been friends of my parents and my younger brothers for 25 years.  What a delightful evening it was with good food and friends.  Camille and Jordan (the Westover’s youngest of 12 children and Camille’s age) went to a fireside at the ward and had a fun time.

Monday morning, we all met at Mom’s real estate office in Cottonwood where she went to work a couple of hours earlier.  Mark had made reservations for a Pink Jeep Tour of the Sedona Red Hills for the afternoon, we caravaned into Sedona, ate lunch at a local BBQ restaurant, then wandered through some gift shops on our way to the Jeep Tour place for our 1:00 departure.

The Pink Jeep Tour was a blast.  Our group of 11 had two jeeps and we got a geology, ecology, and biology lesson on the drive up the canyon.  We bumped and bounced over some pretty rough roads and trails and enjoyed all of it.  The little Shumways had fun throwing rocks over the cliff when we got to the top while the rest of us took in the magnificent views.  That evening, Jim treated us to a delicious Italian dinner at Nic’s in Old Town Cottonwood and we wished him a safe journey back home since he was leaving for Colorado with his children early the next morning.
Camille & Pink Javalinas at the Pink Jeep Office
Grandma Shumway, Mark, Nana and Boys buckling into seats in their Pink Jeep
The other jeep-full of Shumways
Climbing the red hills above Sedona, Arizona
At the top of the trail
Mom, Lilly, Jim, Nana, Eric, Mark, Georgia, Camille
front row: Avery, Max and Ethan
At the Drop Off Spot
Tuesday, Mark’s family and Camille and I again met at Mom’s office and we took the boys over to a local park.  We bought deli sandwiches and relaxed until about 12:30, then Cami and I took off for Phoenix to 80+ degree weather and the outlet mall while the rest of the group went to Jerome to check out the old mining town and fun shops.  Later, Mark kept the boys while us girls (Camille, Nana and I) accompanied Mom to the Mingus Ward Relief Society Birthday Social.  It was a fun evening.

The Phoenix Outlet Mall
Wednesday morning, Mark and I were at Mom’s house to meet a plumber who was scheduled to look at the septic tank situation.  Unfortunately, the plumber wasn’t very helpful with the problem, but we all decided to do some cleanup around Mom’s yard while we were there and she was off at work.  We got permission from the fire marshal to build a bon fire to get rid of a bunch of yard waste that had been gathered during the winter.  We also raked, pruned and cleaned up a bunch of other stuff which kept two fires roaring for several hours.  We were all sunburned and smoky by the time we completed that task, but we were kept entertained the whole time by Eric, Ethan and Avery finding fuel for the fire interspersed with Nerf Gun wars.

Late that afternoon, Jordan Westover came and picked Camille up for a date.  Mom brought home KFC for dinner for the rest of us and I hung out with the family after packing and cleaning our space at the Messick’s and thanking them for allowing us to stay at their home.

Feeling a little toasted after bonfires in the Arizona sun
After Cami's date, we started out on our all-night drive.  She kept me entertained with stories and songs for about 9 hours across the Kiabab and well into Utah, but she started dozing off about Cedar City so we pulled off the freeway and slept in the car for about an hour at Cove Fort.  Those last three hours were grueling, especially when we hit morning rush hour traffic in Provo/Orem and Salt Lake, but we pulled into our driveway at 9:45 a.m. and while Cami got ready to go to school, I unpacked our things and started the laundry.  We both napped for a few hours that afternoon and after a great night’s sleep, it was back to a full-day schedule on Friday.

Thank you, Jim, Mark and Mom for making the trip so fun.  Camille and I are so grateful for the fun memories of spending time with you in Arizona.