Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Washington DC - day 2

Our meetings this afternoon didn't start until 1:00 so this morning Tim and I headed down to the mall to look around. I've been there many times but it still fascinates me. Our hotel is probably about a mile away but I love to walk and I haven't been able to run for a while so I needed the exercise. I talked Tim into walking but he didn't mind. It is so interesting walking around DC because there are many things that you hear about but never imagine that you will actually see them. Today we walked past George Washington University. I kind of feel sorry for the kids who go there though because it is just a bunch of buildings spread around the city. They have no real campus. I also walked by the Federal Reserve Building today as well. That is a picture of me standing in front of it. I wanted to go up onto the steps but they had security guards who stopped me. That is the building where they decide what interest I'm paying on my loans. Weird eh? Some of the other places I saw today were the department of state and the Naval Medical Center. What do they do in the department of State? I have no idea. Is that the same thing as the State Department? Isn't Condolesa Rice the Secretary of State? Oh, I also saw Johns Hopkins but I don't think it was the medical center. I don't remember all the other places I saw before but I do remember the national geographic society and the Washington Post. Of course there are all the Smithsonian Museums, the White House, the capitol buildings, Washington Monument and the Treasury Department. I really wanted to go see if they would let me in the Capital building while they're fighting over the bailout. I'm glad they voted it down, I know it will hurt me but I can't stand the thought of rescuing those thieves with my tax dollars. I really think the market will be better in the long run if we just let the free market run it's course. Speaking of George Washington , I saw him on his horse today. They have statues all over this place. We headed down 21st street from our hotel and hit the mall right at the Vietnam memorial. That place is so simple and yet powerful. It is so well designed that you can't help but feel reverent when you are there. I felt a bit strange explaining the memorial to Tim. I know the Vietnamese were not the Chinese but China was on the side of the north so I almost felt like I was explaining a war that was fought against him. In reality he is from Taiwan so China is also his enemy too. One of my favorite parts of the Vietnam memorial are the two statues. They are so realistic and they capture the moods of the soldiers well. There is a statue depicting three soldiers and you can almost see them marching through the swamps. You need to double click on the picture to see a close-up of the detail. Look at the expressions in their faces and the veins in their arms. It is amazing. There is also a statue honoring the women who were involved in the war. The nurses and communications controllers and the translators. The women served in many capacities. The statue shows a woman caring for a wounded soldier. As I was looking at the two statues I could almost picture this soldier marching in the jungle for months without ever seeing a woman. He then gets wounded and evacuated to a first aid station where he regains consciousness in the arms of the pretty nurse. He would think for sure he was looking at an angel and that he had died and gone to heaven. Wouldn't you almost wonder "why didn't I get wounded months ago?" From the Vietnam memorial we walked around the corner and saw the Lincoln memorial. It is so majestic and awe inspiring. There were a ton of kids on a field trip today and the steps were covered with them. That is good though, they are fortunate to be so close to this place where they can get so much history. I also explained to Tim who Lincoln was. He thought perhaps he might be one of the founding fathers of the United States. They have Lincolns inaugural speech on the wall and I had Tim read it. I had to tell him what four score meant. It is kind of fun having to explain all this stuff to someone. Being educated in a Canadian school and managing to graduate with only one social studies class in all of the High School I know very little about Canadian or US history. It is nice to have someone around who knows less than I do. Anything I know about history (US or otherwise) I've been taught by my kids. I thought I was so lucky in high school but I now I think I missed out. We should know our history and we should learn from it. It has taken me thirty years to admit it but I should have been forced to take more history. It would have done me good and I may have ended up enjoying it. Once we were done with Lincoln I took a good long look down the mall. You can see the reflection pool and the Washington memorial (the big tall thing that looks like a rocket) and way in the distance you can see the Capitol building where Nancy Pelosi got what she deserved yesterday. Unfortunately we ran out of time and had to head back to the hotel for our meetings. The meetings, as usual, were very boring and I did my best not to fall asleep. We then went for some dinner and now I'm back in my hotel room. For those who may not know, I'm on the committee that is developing new battery standards for Li ion batteries. This is the standard that all battery suppliers will be required to meet when they sell a battery into the United States. It is a very difficult task to get fifty people to all agree to a single standard, especially when they have conflicting goals. The customers like Verizon and AT&T want very strict requirements and the cell suppliers like Sanyo and Sony want simple requirements. Progress is slow but we are making progress. We have these meetings quarterly. Tomorrow our meetings start at 8:30 so no sleeping in for me. I guess I'd better head for bed and watch disk 2 of Heroes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Washington DC - day 1

It seems weird to start out my blog talking only about what happened today. I do think I will throw in random stories from my life's history now and again but this week I'm on travel so I'll stick to my trip. My flight didn't leave this morning until noon so I had a relaxed morning. I packed and said goodbye to Lisa and the kids and headed for the airport. I was almost there when I realized I didn't have my wallet. I had my passport in my laptop case that I could use for ID but I needed my credit cards to pay for the hotel room. I turned around and headed for home but I called Lisa to look around the house for it. When she couldn't find it I started to panic but to save time I asked her to print out my boarding pass. I knew that even if I found my wallet right away it was going to be close to catch my plane. Lisa and I talked once in a while about where to look for my wallet. Finally, just as I took my exit Lisa called and told me she found my wallet. It was on the floor beside my bed but kicked under the bed a little bit. I think I had set it on my pants when I got dressed and when I picked up my pants it must have fallen on the floor. What a life saver it was that Lisa found it when she did. Even still it was a race to the airport and I knew that if the security line was a long one I was up the creek. Luckily the security line was short and I got to my gate as they were boarding. I just walked on the plane and off we went. If she didn't print out my boarding pass and find my wallet however it would have been a problem. Thanks Lisa!!!

I finally got to "Breaking Dawn". I wanted to read it this summer when it came out but Sarah got first dibs. Lisa started the series this summer and finished the first three books before Sarah finished the fourth one so she bought a second book. It is a good thing because Sarah is still not finished her book. It took me so long to get to it because I got three books for my birthday and I wanted to finish them first. It was well worth the wait. It is a very good book.

I was supposed to be on a conference call with Taiwan at 6:00 San Diego time and I knew I would be a bit late tonight because my plane didn't land until 8:30 (DC time). Unfortunately the plane had to diverge around a storm in the midwest and landed late. I missed the call but as it turned out they didn't need me. It is now late and I need to get to bed but I have a big dilemma. I have the book "Breaking Dawn" but I also brought Peters DVD's with the entire first season of Heroe's. Do I read the book or watch the first DVD? I think it will be the DVD.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Journal Entry

When I started my "Rosemary Memoirs" I said it would be a week or two. Now it is nearly ten weeks later and I'm finally done. I will now copy them all into a word document and send them to Roselynn. She will probably want to edit them but those are some of my memories of Rosemary. If anyone wants a copy of them just let me know and I'll copy you on the email. Now that I'm done talking about Rosemary I don't know what to talk about anymore. Yesterday I helped a good friend of ours move and that took up much of that day. Today in church they released the scout master and called a new scout master. I'm the assitant scout master and I'm really bummed because Curtis and I work so well together. I am excited about the new guy. Their family just moved into the ward and he works for Pratt & Whitney. He is a crack expert. When he mentioned that to one of the Deacons he thought he was talking about Cocaine. That was pretty funny. He studies crack propagation in turbine engines. I think we will have many interesting discussions.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thank you Rosemary

Once we had made the decision to move reality began to set in. Lisa started packing and I started stressing about where we were going to live in San Diego. Lisa was really blessed when she learned that a family that she was close to in Edmonton had moved to San Diego. She contacted them and that really helped her to not stress so much. As moving day came closer it became more real that we were leaving our family, our friends and our country. When we told the kids, they were devastated. Well, they weren't all devastated. Kira was devastated, Brandon was upset that we were leaving the second largest country on earth, Ben was bawling but Alycia and Alex didn't seem to care. Alycia was three and Alex was only one. I didn't even dare suggest that we leave the cat behind so we made sure she had all her shots and took her too. Early in June I flew down to San Diego and lived with one of the partners in the company. I went to work in the day time and another partner drove me around in the evening looking for a car. I finally bought a Chevrolet Astro van. That was an interesting experience. I had no credit history in the States so no one would give me a loan. Finally they asked if I had ever bought a GM vehicle. Well the little Sprint that I had for two months before Lisa totaled it was a GM vehicle and fortunately I had financed it through GM. Since my Astro was a GM vehicle they were able to find my other GM loan and sold me the van based on my other GM loan. Once I had the van I drove around deciding what neighborhood we wanted to live in. The closest neighborhoods to where I worked were La Jolla, Del Mar and Mira Mesa. Houses in LaJolla cost a million dollars, Del Mar was $750K and Mira Mesa was affordable but full of gangs. I learned that the Poway school system was nationally ranked so I liked that but I didn't want to drive that far. I then learned that Penasquitos was in the Poway school system but it was west of the hills meaning that it was closer to work, closer to the beach and about 10° cooler in the summer and about 10° warmer in the winter. When I first drove around Penasquitos I immediately fell in love with it. There were plenty of green parks with kids playing little league baseball and there was the Penasquitos canyon. The schools looked nice and I decided right then that this was going to be our new home. I looked at a few houses for rent and finally picked one. At the end of the month I drove straight through back to Rosemary (a thirty hour drive) and pulled in about 3:00AM. It kind of freaked Lisa out when I knocked on our bedroom window but I was glad to see them after being gone for a month. Now it was time to pack up. We rented the absolute biggest moving van that we could find. Thanks to some very good friends we got it all packed up before July 1. I remember the Nortons helped us a lot and the Cormacks and I'm sure there were many others. I could never have done it on my own. We moved a lot of stuff. I was worried that we exceeded the maximum weight limit so John Cormack drove the truck down to the elevators and weighed it. We were about twice the maximum load. I was horrified. I had no idea what to do. I finally decided that I'd just play stupid and drive right on by all the weigh stations and make them come after me. If they did I'd just say, "huh?? You mean I have to stop at the weigh stations? I thought those were just for commercial trucks." Luckily no one stopped me but my heart would race every time we drove by one. In the end we had to rent a little trailer to pull behind the moving truck. We had a lot of stuff. We made the decision to leave the day after the July 1st celebrations. That was always a big deal in Rosemary and a lot of fun. They have a parade, fireworks, games and a ton of food. It really is an amazing celebration for a town of 317 people. The day before the July 1 holiday it rained hard all day long. The kids were all depressed because they were counting on this day to say all their good byes. I was upset as well because we were also saying goodbye. Then the most amazing thing happened. Kira had her friend Amy Forrest over and the two of them decided to pray that Heavenly Father would stop the rain. It is certainly true what they say about the faith of a child. After several days of rainy and miserable weather, July 1, 1992 dawned bright and sunny. We couldn't have asked for better weather and we couldn't have asked for a better event to be able to see as many people as possible and to say goodbye to them and to the town where we had created our family. That night some friends of ours from Edmonton arrived. Rudy and Marline Van Overmiere had to go to southern California anyway so they offered to car pool with us. That was good since we had sold my motorbike and both our cars. It would cost us more to license them in California than they were worth. July 2 we got up and pulled out of town. My heart about broke as we left our home for good. I felt like a creep for tearing my wife and children away from everything they knew and loved. This was their home and what right did I have to take them from it? I remember one day I was driving into Brooks with Brandon and out of the blue he said to me, "isn't it so beautiful?"

I said, "isn't what beautiful?"

He said "the countryside" and he gestured out the window. I looked at the prairies with their wheat fields and for the first time I saw this land in a very different way. I was from the foothills and lived most of my life in the mountains. The picture at the bottom of my blog is Waterton park and that is where I grew up. I had always pictured the prairies as rather boring and perhaps a bit ugly. But this is where Brandon was raised and it was pretty much all he knew. This was his home and looking at it again it was beautiful and I was taking him away from it.

We only drove to Cardston that day and visited with my sister for a day and then headed out the next morning. We had two freezers full of moose in the truck and I had run an extension cord out the back of the truck. Every night I plugged it in hoping that the food would stay frozen. It did. We lived off that meat for two years before we had to buy any beef.

I was a bit worried about crossing the border but I didn't need to be. Lisa had been meticulous in her packing and had every box numbered and a book listing everything that was in each box. We pulled into the Del Bonita border crossing and she showed the book to the border patrol agent. He looked at it, looked at the kids green cards and sent us on our way. We did have one minor crises at the border. The cat got out. Poor Shadow hated the carrier that she was in so they let her out once in a while. Well, the kids weren't paying attention and she got out of the car. We finally rounded her up and got her back in the car. I'm kind of glad I was driving the van, I guess that cat cried the entire trip. We stayed the next night at my sisters house in Blackfoot and the next night at Whiskey Pete's in Primm, Nevada.

By the time we pulled into San Diego the pain and misery of leaving Rosemary were a bit faded and the excitement of starting our new life was starting to build. I clearly remember the excitement as the big old van crawled up the hills leading into Escondido. It was late and I was getting very excited. We had called ahead and the men in the ward were there to meet us and help us unpack. It was brutally hot, even that late at night and those poor guys were such a blessing to us. I don't know how I would have done this move without good friends in Rosemary and the church in San Diego. We have one of those big old piano's from 1913 and if we ever move again it is staying with the house. The guys unloaded the boxes and even stayed long enough to set up the beds and then we all sat in our new house and let it all sink in. We were here and it was the beginning of a new phase of our lives.

It hurt like crazy leaving Rosemary but looking back it was the right thing to do. Our kids have all had opportunities and experiences that wouldn't have been possible in Rosemary but the years we lived in Rosemary are a part of us and it is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I like to think of it as the foundation that we now stand on and I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for Rosemary. Thank you all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let's Move

After Jack's joking offer of a job when I was in Wales I couldn't stop thinking about it. There were a number of reasons why this appealed to me.

- they have very nice weather in San Diego
- San Diego (and southern California) has many more opportunities in technological fields than does Alberta
- they have very nice weather in San Diego
- Hi-Z can teach me a lot about thermoelectric's but at Global I was self taught and the only materials guy in the company
- they have very nice weather in San Diego
- while we loved raising our children in Rosemary when they were young we were a bit worried about their teenage years in Rosemary. I imagine it can be very tough for a teenager in a small rural town. We felt our children would have more opportunities in a larger city.
- they have very nice weather in San Diego
- I had always wanted to get a graduate degree some day and that wasn't going to happen in Rosemary.
- they have very nice weather in San Diego

I weighed all the pro's and con's in my mind and I really wanted to go to San Diego but my heart was so torn. I didn't know what to do. I'm a strong believer in prayer and I knew my Heavenly Father could guide me but when I prayed about it the emotions in my mind were so overwhelming that I could not hear the still small voice of the spirit. Finally, one day as I was driving to work (I was alone, I think George had moved away by this time) and I was contemplating everything I had a thought come into my mind. I realized that I was trying to decide whether or not to move to San Diego when that wasn't the choice in front of me. I hadn't even talked to Hi-Z yet let alone received a job offer. I changed the question in my prayers from "should I go to San Diego?" to "Should I call Hi-Z?" This questions was much less controversial in my mind and when I asked that question my answer came loud and strong. Yes, call Hi-Z.

When I called Norb (the President of Hi-Z) he was a little surprised but I could tell he was very pleased. We talked regularly for several months and after about six months of going back and forth I finally received an offer. Now I had to make a decision and boy was it a difficult one. Lisa (bless her heart) was very supportive and told me that she would follow me anywhere and I knew it would kill her to leave all her friends. Together we decided to go the temple and pray about the decision there. It's not that you can't pray outside the temple but while you're in the temple it is such a peaceful place and you truly feel much closer to God while you're there. We went through a session and in my mind I had a clear answer that we belonged in San Diego. I met up with Lisa afterwards and while we were in the chapel after the session I told her that I felt we should move. She told me that she felt we should have another baby. I said WHAT??? That isn't what we came here to pray about!!! Wow, we're supposed to have another baby. Truth be told I was thrilled. I had always felt that we should have six kids but after Alex I wasn't about to even suggest it. Now came the time to prepare to move. We made the decision somewhere late in the winter (early spring) of 1992. Somewhere around March.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Torn Meniscus

Here is a picture of my knee looking from the inside. The arrow is pointing to my medial meniscus and if you're a better doctor than I am you can see a tear in the meniscus. Above the arrow the big white thing is the end of my femur and the bone below is the end of my fibula. I learned something very interesting today. Did you know that the only purpose of the knee cap is to provide mechanical advantage to the ligament that pulls up your shin bone? It pushes the ligament forward so that it pulls more forward rather than straight up. Without a knee cap you would have 25% less power in your leg. How fascinating.

The doctor is suggesting that I get a meniscectomy which simply means that he will remove the torn part of the meniscus. I told him that it doesn't hurt unless I run and if I do run the pain is bearable and my only question was that if I keep running will it get better or worse? He told me that it will get worse and if I don't fix it and I keep running on it then it will destroy the surface of the bone and then I will end up with an artificial joint. If I don't fix it he would suggest that I quit running. I told him that I need to lose weight and since I don't want to eat less I needed to keep running. He laughed and told me that he'd never had anyone say that they exercised so that they could keep eating. He even put that in his notes. I really liked this doctor. So I guess it is off to surgery I go since I do want to keep running.
While we lived in Rosemary I had pretty much every calling in the book. I was the instructor for the Elders Quorum, primary and Sunday School. I was a stake missionary, the ward mission leader, the scout master there isn't much left. I wasn't ever in any presidencies but believe me, that doesn't hurt my feelings. One of my favorite callings was when Lisa and I team taught the blazers and merry miss class (they're the eleven year olds). That was fun. My other all time favorite church calling was when I was the traveling companion with Don Gibb. Don was on the high council and once a month they have a high council Sunday where the high council visits your ward and speaks in sacrament meeting. Down here we have two high council men come visit our ward but perhaps because the Taber stake in Rosemary was a hundred miles across they paired the high councilman with some one from their own wards. Don asked me to travel with him and I loved it. I don't know if I bored the congregations out of their minds or not but I enjoyed speaking and I enjoyed the long drives with Don. We had many good conversations. For those reading this who may not know the organization of the church let me explain. A ward is the local congregation and consists of a few hundred people. A stake is a group of five to eight wards. I guess the ward would compare to a parish and a stake would compare to a diocese. The stakes are led by a stake president and in addition to his two councilors he has a group of twelve high councilmen who assist him. All leaders in the wards and stakes are lay ministers and volunteer their time. The bishops that we had while we lived in Rosemary are Don Gibb (before he was a high councilman) and Gary Norton.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Timely, Beautiful, True

I'm going to copy Lynn today. She referenced this excellent blog that has a great message. Please follow this link, it'll only take a minute.

Timely, Beautiful, True

Monday, September 22, 2008


When we went to England we hired Tonya to watch our kids for us while we were gone. They were older and we figured they would be less likely to get homesick if they were all together. Tonya did a wonderful job even though she may not be so sure. When we left Brandon and Ben both had these gigantic tadpoles. I don't remember where they got them but they probably found them in the irrigation ditch behind the ponds. One of the first things the boys said to us when we got home was, "Tonya killed our frogs". While we were gone the tadpoles turned into frogs, pretty big ones from the sounds of it. My guess is that Tonya said to herself that she hired on to take care of the kids, not frogs. I'm not even sure what you would feed a frog. I guess you could run around the house all day and swat flies and I don't really blame her if she didn't want to do that. The boys were obviously too young to know what to do with a frog so the poor frogs wasted away and passed on. I think the boys pined over them for a couple of days and moved on as well.

Another time Brandon and a friend of his were completing their "fort" in the tree. We had these tall metal poles that we used for growing our peas and beans on. They were about six feet tall and we would string chicken wire between them. They were quite heavy. Brandon and his friend had hauled a bunch of them up into the tree and then they were sitting on the ground below doing what ever it is little boys do. While they were sitting there one of the poles fell out of the tree and landed right next to Brandon. Brandon remembers thinking, "boy that was close". Suddenly Brandon's friend starts freaking out and that is about the time Brandon realized that there was blood running down his head the pole had hit him on the head and he didn't even realize it. There was a lot of blood. He ran into the house and showed Tonya who I'm quite sure was quite alarmed. She piled him into the car and ran him out to Easters who patched his head up quite nicely.

It only gets better. Amy Forrest was one of Kira's best friends. One day Amy was over at the house and they were playing on our back porch. We had this fancy wrought iron railing around the back porch and the kids loved to slide down the railing. I loved to slide down the railing. Tonya saw them and warned them to be careful but you know kids, they think they're indestructible. It always amazes me to see just how resilient they are. Well Amy was sliding down the railing and caught her leg in the wrought iron bars. Her leg remained in the bars as her body fell off the railing. She landed on the steps tearing a huge gash in her leg and that is what they were most worried about because of the blood. They ran and got Tonya who cleaned her up and checked her out and then she suggested that the gash may not be her biggest problem. She was afraid that Amy had broken her leg. Amy agreed but the other kids were more worried about the blood. They loaded Amy up and took her to her mother who rushed her into Brooks. Amy came home with stitches in one leg and a cast on the other leg. Poor Tonya had to deal with it all. I admire how she was able to stay calm and keep her cool. I have no doubts that she has turned out to be a wonderful wife and mother. I'd love to get an update sometime on her and Michael.

Kira's favorite memory of that time was when Tonya would let her stay up late on the weekends while her and Michael would watch a movie. She would always fall asleep before the movie was over but she felt so grown up when she was allowed to stay up.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ken Starr

What a busy weekend this has been. I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to write anything for a few days. I guess that has given you a break from me. Thursday I was consulting for this company that has had some battery issues. That is a euphemism for "they've had batteries blow up". I've been helping them for a while but Wednesday their customer flew into town and they wanted answers. We went all out working late into the night and I was really dragging but by Thursday afternoon I figured I knew what was going on. I wrote up a report and Thursday night we called Taiwan and did a webex with my presentation. The guy in Taiwan listened while I went through my presentation and then he sort of sheepishly said on the phone, "yes, we've been a little worried about that happening, we're changing our process to fix that problem". I about fell over, I fully expected them to deny everything and I was prepared to do battle. I was not expecting them to admit it right off the bat. I'm now a hero in my customer's eyes and they are really glad they hired me.

Friday was "family day" at Pepperdine so that was the only excuse we needed to head to Malibu. It was a great day and if I thought Brandon had picked a good school before I'm even more convinced now. We got to go to a class with Brandon and then they put all the parents in one room and had a panel discussion. Of course we were one of the first in the room and we sat on the front row. I saw the Dean of the Law school walk in and I went and introduced myself. In case you don't know who the dean of the Pepperdine law school is it is Ken Starr. In case you don't know who Ken Starr is, he is the lawyer who prosecuted Bill Clinton and impeached him. He is my hero. Check out the link if you want to learn more about Ken Starr. So after I introduced myself, Ken asked how Brandon was handling the stress of the first few weeks. The first year of law school is famous for being a very stressful time. I told him that Brandon just graduated from a difficult bio-chemistry program and he knows how to work. I told him that Brandon is doing fine. Which he is, he's working hard but he is getting results. Serene and Sydney were with us (Brandon was in a class) and I pointed them out to Ken. He immediately walked away from me and went straight to Sydney. He took her from Lisa and started playing with Sydney and visited with Serene and Lisa. He then asked if he could introduce Sydney to all the parents. He took Sydney up to the podium and introduced her as the youngest law school student. Everyone applauded and Sydney beamed. It was great. Sadly the lunch and the tour were soon over and we had to pile into the car and rush back for Alex's game. If you remember the doctor told Alex he was to wear his cast for at least four weeks but he did do a second x-ray this week Thursday. He told Alex that it was healing nicely but he was to keep it on for another three and a half weeks. Counting the week he just completed that is more than the original estimate of four weeks but who's counting? Alex asked if he could play with it and after warning him of all the dire consequences of hurting it again he finally consented. Alex passed the message on to the coaches and they told him great but he wouldn't be playing this week because he hadn't been allowed to practice. He had been to all the practices but he was under orders not to hit. They did actually put him in at the end of the game and in the few plays that came his way he played stellarly. They padded up his cast so it looked like a huge club but it worked well. That is Alex with his club taking down University City's receiver. We won 59 - 14. Not much of a challenge. Alex and I saw a pop warner kid and Alex complained that we would never let him play pop warner. Pop warner is the little league equivalent for tackle football. We told our kids that they would have plenty of opportunity to damage their bodies in high school they didn't need to do it sooner than that. I also reminded Alex that this was his fourth cast and that along with his torn shoulder I'm convinced that we made a wise decision.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The United Kingdom

In September of 1991 there was a thermoelectric conference in Cardiff, Wales that I wanted to attend. Once again I really wanted to take my wife with me so we could take some time after the conference and travel around. The kids were older now so we decided that rather than farm them out to different people we would just hire a babysitter to come and stay with them. Conveniently, Michael Easter had met a British girl on his mission to England who had come to Rosemary and they were making plans to get married. We figured she would be interested in making a little extra money and maybe she could get a bit of insight into what she was getting into once she was married. Her first name was Tonya but I don't remember her last name. Her last name is now Easter. I will share some of Tonya's more exciting experiences at our home in a later entry, today I want to talk about my trip. It turned out be pivotal in the direction our lives would end up going. Of course we now had another new baby since Alex was only six months old but we had gone through this with Alycia and so it wasn't as hard for Lisa this time to "abandon" her baby and come with me to Europe. We landed in London and wanted to go see the Temple but it was closed for renovations. Wouldn't you know it? We spent a day or two in London seeing the usual stuff:
The Tower of London, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus (that was a big disappointment), St Paul's cathedral, Tower Bridge and of course, perhaps the most exciting to me was the subway system. Pretty fascinating.

We then drove on down to Brighton both to see the sea but also because Tonya's mother lived there and we wanted to stop in and say hi. Brighton was a beautiful city built on the edge of a very big hill that drops down to the coast.

It was then on over to see Stone Henge. We stood there out in the middle of some farmers fields and said, "yes, that is pretty cool." I touched the stones just to be able to say that I did and then we left. I think we were there all of about half an hour. I'm glad we went and I would recommend that anyone who can go and see them but once you've seen it what more can you do?

Then it was on to Bath. Definitely my favorite place in all of Europe. It is just fascinating to me to see how the Romans with their limited technology created these places with under floor heating, the lead pipes that are still there and these pools that must have been beautiful in their day. I loved it.

These are supports that used to hold up the floor. Hot water and steam passed under the floor keeping it warm. Pretty smart for 2000 years ago.

From Bath we headed on into Cardiff in Wales.

The conference was held at the University of Cardiff and lasted four or five days. Everybody from the thermoelectric world goes to these conferences and I have presented many papers at them. We all know each other. Lisa and I actually stayed at the university dormitories. It was very strange. We were in this tiny little room with two single beds and a bathroom. It was cheap though and very convenient. One day I was sitting at a table with Jack Bass who worked for Hi-Z Technology in San Diego. Hi-Z specialized in Bismuth Telluride technology while Global specialized in Lead Telluride technology. The two technologies are very different and would compliment each other nicely. I made one of those comments were you are sort of joking but half serious and I said to Jack, "you need to come and work for Global, we could really use you." He laughed and said back to me, "I don't think so, you need to come and work at Hi-Z, we could really use you." I also laughed and we left it at that. The invitation stuck in my mind though and I dwelled on it for months. I eventually called Jack about it and I will shared that story later.

When we moved to Rosemary our next door neighbor was Rhetta Crapo. Her husband had built our house and then they later built a new house next door and sold the old house. She was a widow who had raised all of her kids and we became very good friends. She has a son who was a stake president in Victoria and one time she was visiting her son and she met Ralph Poleman. Ralph and his wife were from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and he was called to be the mission president in Victoria. While on their mission Ralphs wife suddenly passed away. Ralph went home, buried his wife and then came back to finish his mission. Ralph was very good friends with Retta's son the stake president and through him he became very good friends with Retta. After Ralph was finished his mission he went back to Merthyr Tydfil and called Rhetta. Rhetta went to visit him, he came to visit her and then they got married.

Merthyr Tydfil

Rhetta packed up and moved to Merthyr Tydfil. When we learned that we were going to go to Wales Lisa contacted Rhetta to find out where in Wales she lived. That is when she learned that they lived in Merthyr Tydfil and that was a mere 30 miles north of Cardiff. Of course we stopped to visit them. What wonderful people they are. We loved Rhetta when she was a neighbor and we love Ralph just as much. He is a very enterprising man and very different than most Europeans that I know. In most European cities the houses are wall to wall, very narrow and usually two or three stories high. Ralph bought the center of a city block and the four sides of the block all have these wall to wall houses but he owns the entire center. He has a huge yard and a lovely detached brick house. The house had already been started when he bought it but apparently the guy couldn't afford to finish it. Ralph is a developer and he takes large tracts of land and plans out entire neighborhoods including the streets, sewer, drainage, parks and the works. He then builds houses on the lots and sells them. He is very successful.

They showed us around the city including the house where President David O McKay's mother was born.

They also took us to some caves that are in the area. We had a very enjoyable time with them. From Merthyr Tyfil we headed north to Scotland. By this time I was pretty used to driving on the wrong side of the road so I opened it up on those nice freeways. It was a little car and it sounded like the motor was redlining but in order to keep up with the other traffic I was going about 150 km/hr. For those of us here in the states that would be about 90 mph. I did pop it over 100 mph once in a while just to say I had done it. The weird thing is that all along the freeway they have signs clearly posting the speed limit as 100 km/hr. No one could plead ignorance. In Scotland we visited the old stomping grounds of Lisa's great grandparents. She knew them very well so it was pretty cool to see where they grew up. They lived in Kilsyth and we think we may have found the house they lived in. We spent a lot of time in the library and found that the family were weavers and they wove fabric in their house. We went to church in Glasgow and we also made an appearance in Falkirk. I think they lived in Falkirk for a while.

Just out of interest we made our way up to the Stirling Castle ruins because that was likely the Castle that ruled over Lisa's ancestors. It is also interesting to note that this whole area is the setting for the story portrayed in the movie Braveheart. It is highly likely that some of Lisa's ancestors were involved in that whole struggle. I loved the castle, it was a beautiful castle and a beautiful setting. From Kilsyth we headed into Edinburgh. You can't go to Scotland and not visit Edinburgh. The Edinburgh castle and the city were interesting but too commercialized for me. I enjoyed the small towns and the remote area's much more. From Edinburgh we headed south again to the white cliffs of Dover. We hoped on a ferry to go over to Belgium. In Belgium we visited Marleen and Robert Sassenus. Marleen was only sixteen when I found her on my mission. She eventually got baptized and then later married and had a little girl. Robert had served a mission to California. We went with them to the Beach. We got there early and Robert and I went out wind surfing. We spent most of the morning trying to figure out how to stay up on the board but never quite figured it out. When we came back to the beach I noticed that all of the women were topless. We were there early enough when I went out that there weren't many people and I didn't see anyone topless but there were plenty as we walked back. It was quite a sight and as we walked back to where Lisa and Marleen were I was quite worried that Marleen might be topless. That would be awkward. Luckily both Marleen and Lisa had their tops on so I relaxed. The next day we took a ferry back to England and headed for the airport. Our ferry back was a cool hydrofoil and was much faster than the ferry. I was hoping for the hover craft but it was just too much money. We had a wonderful time but we had been gone a long time and were anxious to return to our children. Little did we realize how much fun Tonya had been having in our absence.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ...

Alex was our last child to be born in Canada. Being our fifth child you would think we'd know what was going on. Actually, every one thought this was going to be a breeze but as always, Alex knows how to mix things up. The first problem was that Lisa went into labor while her doctor Dr. Oberg was out of town. The back up doctor was a friend of ours Doctor Jack Regehr. Doctor Oberg was a good friend of ours as well by this time. I actually went deer hunting with Doctor Oberg once. When we came into the hospital the nurses took one look at Lisa and said, "This should be an easy night, Lisa is an expert at this." They were quite happy because the two nurses hadn't worked together for a while and were looking forward to an easy night where they could visit and catch up on things. Little did they know what they were in for. It was late evening when we went into the hospital and as soon as Lisa's contractions get serious we could tell that things weren't quite right. We didn't know what was wrong but Lisa assured me that her contractions were "different". Of course the nurses didn't know what to think of that and they weren't about to call the doctor because things were, "different". To complicate things even more, all of the doctors were at a going away party for one of their co-workers who was moving or retiring or something. Since Alex was my fifth child I was now very familiar with the equipment they use. They would strap this sensor around Lisa's belly and a machine about the size of a suitcase would monitor her contractions. It displayed a graph and every time a contraction would come the line would form a peak, the higher the peak the stronger the contractions. As the night progressed Lisa's contractions got stronger and stronger and more and more frequent. This was exactly what one would expect but around midnight something very strange started to happen. The contractions kept getting stronger but they became less frequent. That is when I started to worry, I could tell that the nurses were starting to worry as well but they tried to stay positive. They weren't fooling anyone. This is also about the time Lisa started to go delirious. So told me later that she was sure she was going to die. I never thought she would die but I was very concerned about her well being and I was a bit fearful for the baby. They had a device hooked up the Alex's head that measured his heart rate and every time Lisa had one of those monster contractions his heart rate would start to slow down. As the contractions continued to get further and further apart they did finally decide to call the doctor. This was now about five in the morning and of course at that hour it took the doctor the better part of an hour to get to the hospital. I don't think they communicated the seriousness of the situation to him and I'm not even sure they recognized the danger either. I was starting to get real worried because at this the point the contractions were very strong but only about ten minutes apart. As soon as Doctor Regehr walked into the delivery room things happened very fast. He looked at me and saw that I was glued to the machine anticipating every contraction and he told the nurse to disconnect the machine and get it out of there. He then checked out Lisa and asked why they didn't call him sooner. He then told the nurses that they had to get that baby out of there. He was already in the birth canal so I guess that meant a cesarean section was no longer an option so they started pushing on Lisa's belly. I really felt sorry for her because they would wait for a contraction and then push very hard on her belly. It was agonizing for her. At this point she was so delirious that she didn't know what was going on but when they rammed on her belly that brought her around. Finally they maneuvered Alex to the point that the doctor could pull him through. What a relief that was. It was such a joy to see this boy enter into the world. Any concerns I might have had about his health were quickly alleviated when I saw Alex's little hand grab onto the sheet that was covering Lisa. Alex was still mostly inside his mother when he grabbed onto the sheet and held so tightly that the doctor had to peel his little fingers open so he could finish delivering him. It was very funny. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Apgar score. That is a very quick test that the doctors do one minute after birth and then again five minutes after to quickly establish the health of the baby. The baby gets a zero, one or two in each of five categories. For a perfectly healthy baby that adds up to a ten. The five categories are: heart rate; breathing; grimace (reflex's); activity and appearance. It is almost unheard of for a baby to get a ten on the one minute test. Alex got an 8 at one minute and a ten at five minutes. I think with him grabbing the sheets he scored full marks for activity, appearance and grimace.

After the birth of Alex, Lisa's recovery was almost immediate. Within minutes she was loving her baby boy. No one really said anything about the scary few hours before Alex's birth but within a few short weeks it all became clear to us. Kira and Brandon were at school and Lisa was sitting on the couch nursing Alex while Ben and Alycia were watching Sesame Street. She suddenly felt impressed to put Alex in his crib. She thought that was a strange impression and ignored it. She felt the impression again and again she ignored it. Finally after three times she went and put Alex in his crib and no sooner had she done so when she had a stabbing pain in her side and collapsed onto the floor. The pain was so debilitating that she couldn't even crawl. She managed to get to the phone but there was work going on in town and the lines were dead so she called Ben (who was only four) to run to the neighbors across the street and tell her that Lisa was in trouble and needed her help. The neighbor across the street said her baby was asleep and she couldn't come. She then sent him to the next door neighbors but they weren't home. After a second try the first neighbor finally came over and was able to get a hold of Lynette Huber who came and stayed with Lisa until she eventually worked her way through the pain. I came home and we got her in to see the doctor. The final analysis is that Lisa had a large cyst on her uterus that had burst. The cyst is what was causing the problems during her delivery. The way I under stand it is that the uterus is essentially one massive muscle and during labor the muscle contracts from one end to other pushing the baby out. What was happening to Lisa is that as this contraction progressed down her uterus it would hit the cyst causing a stabbing pain that made the muscle flinch and thereby messing up the push. These messed up contractions were ineffective at moving the baby through the birth canal so all they were doing were wearing out Lisa and tiring out the muscle. By the time Dr Regehr got to the hospital Lisa's body was shutting down. After Alex was born we decided that perhaps we were pushing our luck and we would only have five kids.
------------------------------------------Sixth Grade Olympics
Alex riding a horse and LeRon and Patsey Litchfields farm in Taber
Grandma's House - Cochrane, Alberta

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Football Disappointments

So, do you notice anything new about my blog? Yup, that new header is my family. I love the picture. I'm not entirely sure but I think left to right they are, Alycia, Alex, Lisa, me, Brandon (with Sydney), Serene, Sarah, Sharley, Ben, Kira and Justin (carrying Evan). Don't you love the sunset? This was taken during Christmas of 2007.

What a world of emotional ups and downs. Do you remember last week when Alex had his great game? What I didn't mention was that before the game he was warming up and a ball took a bad bounce and he jammed his thumb. It hurt but they bandaged it up and he played the great game that I told you about. He also practiced Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday he went to see the orthopedic surgeon for a check up on his shoulder. The doctor was pleased with how everything went and then he asked about Alex's thumb. They explained what happened and the doctor checked everything out and was about to send him on his way and then he pressed in a spot that made Alex winced a little bit. That is when he decided to X-ray. You guessed it, it is broken and it is a pretty bad break too. He has a spiral fracture on his left thumb. Poor Alex is devastated. In his first game of his sophomore year Alex broke his knuckle and missed more than half the season, during his first practice this summer with his pads he tore his shoulder expected to miss half of this season, and now he gets his hopes up last week and during his first game of the season he broke his thumb. The poor boy is devastated. The official estimate is that he is out for four weeks but we are all betting it will be much less than that. We watched him on the sidelines with his team last night and you could see the frustration that he couldn't go out on the field. He is a funny boy, he dressed out completely with his helmet and all and stood on the side as if he was going in. The doctor could see how upset Alex was and promised him that next week they will x-ray it again. I'm thinking Alex will get on his knees and beg for a soft cast and permission to play. They really do need him. They won the game last night in spite of the poor defense.

This morning Sarah ran cross-country. She has been given permission to run again but with inconsistent practices and all she is not performing her best. She still did respectably though. Do you remember some time back when I told you how I repaired my radiator? Here is a picture of my nice epoxy job. Once you get the right epoxy it holds very nicely. Do you notice below the epoxy a crack about eight inches long? I think that plastic has seen it's last day. Who ever heard of a plastic radiator anyway. Time for a new radiator. I thought I would show my new radiator to you before I installed it. I was prepared for a long arduous job but it was replaced within an hour. It's not what I planned for the day but I have my car back.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Arte y Pico & Opposits attract

Wow, I just received an award. It is the "Arte y Pico" award. I'm not exactly sure what that means but its Spanish for something and you can read more about it by following the link below. Someone who speaks Spanish will have to tell me what the blog says. Lynn Crapo awarded this to me and I consider that a real honor. As far as I'm concerned she is the Master Blogger and any blogging award from her is very meaningful to me. By accepting this award I am agreeing to follow the five rules below.

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.

2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.

4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico.blogspot.com" , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Please post these rules.

So I will tell everyone that Lynn sent me the award but I can't post a link to her blog since it is a private one. If anyone wants to follow her blog just let me know and I'm sure she will love to have you join. If I'm supposed to pick five people to pass this award onto I conveniently have five links to my children's blogs (Peter is like a kid). Some of them aren't terribly faithful with their blogs (hint, hint) but since I don't really follow any other blogs they get to receive this award anyway. Thank you Lynn for thinking of me. So here are my award recipients:

1) Kira gets to go first. She is very faithful and always shares fascinating stuff. She is also very good with the pictures. She is a wonderful little mother and I love to see her raise her son and support her husband.

2) Brandon's blog is a joy to me because it gives me a window into his mind. I know that may not be as fascinating to some as it is to me but I love it. He too makes me proud by balancing his duties as a husband, a father and a provider (right now interpreted as "student") for his family. He has bonded tightly to his daughter and I love to see that. Too many fathers are content to let the mothers raise their children but I can tell that Brandon will be a major influence in raising his children.

3) Sharley must come next because she is the one who actually inspired me to start my own blog. I had wanted to do it before but when she started her blog I jumped on the bandwagon. I'm glad though because Ben is not our best communicator and hopefully with Sharley's blog I might get to see more of what is going on in Ben's life. I shouldn't be too hard on Ben though, he's called me quite a few times since they moved to Arizona. I hope that keeps up.

4) If you want to see into an interesting mind you should go read Peters blog. Peter is my brothers son and you can tell he was a psychology major. He see's something and he will read more into it than anyone I know. I love his views on just about everything and I find them quite insightful.

5) And then there is Alycia. She started her blog with a single entry that stayed there for several months and then in a flurry of activity we got to enjoy her trip to Europe. As much as I love looking down her swimming suit top I keep waiting for a new entry. I've checked her blog so often looking for an update that just today I realized that the sun bather in the back ground is topless. That's those European beaches for you. She is now in school so her number one priority should be her classes and I don't expect real frequent updates. She still gets this award though because it was fun traveling through Europe with her.
I've always wondered if a boy and a girl are more compatible if they are very similar to each other or if they are opposites. Since Lisa and I are opposites I like to think that we complete each other. I can compensate for her weaknesses and she can compensate for my weaknesses. I am a bit of a loner and Lisa is very much a people person. I am good at the sciences, Lisa is good at the social sciences. I have zero people skills but Lisa is very good with people. I love vanilla, Lisa loves chocolate. I love the dark meat on chicken, she loves the white meat. It goes on and on but you get the idea. I should qualify this however, by making it clear that we have, for the most part, always had very similar goals for our selves and for our family. Anyone who knows me knows that I have never been much into sports. I was always tall and athletic but I just don't have the personality to be good at sports. I was never good at any sport. Lisa on the other hand played on a boys hockey team until they kicked her off, she was on the high school volleyball team and the ski team. I'm sure she was on several other teams too. Some time after we moved to Rosemary we learned that there was a women's basketball team in the community so it was only natural that Lisa joined up. I don't remember who was on the team but I believe Harold Unruh was the coach. I don't really remember if they were any good or not but I seem to remember that they won more games than they lost. I also don't remember how long they played but I think it was several years. They always used to practice at the school but then the gym floor was resurfaced and that put the team in a real pickle. The team was trying to weigh all of their options when Lisa suggested that they practice at the church. Lisa was the only Mormon on the team and the rest of the team was quite skeptical that the Bishop would ever let them in the church. Lisa talked to Gary Norton, who was the Bishop at the time and he said sure but he was skeptical if some members of the team would ever step foot in the church. Of course it all worked out and the team practiced at the church until the school was ready. I believe they even practiced at the church after that when there were conflicts with the school gym.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Dog In A Manger

I heard a new saying today. I guess it actually comes from one of Aesop's Fables but it is one I hadn't heard before. I was on a conference call with our lawyer who is defending us in a law suite and he called the other sides lawyer a "Dog in a Manger". When I asked what he meant he explained. Apparently there was a down right mean dog who wandered into a barn one day and hopped into the manger looking for some food. Of course a dog can't eat hay but while the dog was rooting through the hay looking for something he could eat along come the cows who wanted to enjoy a nice meal. The cruel, mean dog was not about to let those cows near the hay so even though he can't eat the hay he was just mean enough that he wasn't going to let the cows eat either. So the cows and the dog are at a stale mate. There they were, staring each other down seeing who can outlast the other. Eventually the dog grew so hungry that he passed out and the cows simply shoved the dog aside and enjoyed their meal. According to our lawyer, the people suing us are so mean and stupid that they are doing all they can to make our lives miserable but he isn't worried because we can outlast them and eventually the other side is going to die of starvation. Funny eh?
Alycia was due to be born somewhere around January 21, 1989. As with Kira, her due date came and went and there was no sign of her wanting to come into the world. Finally on February 2nd the doctor agreed to induce Lisa. She was begging to be induced long before that. We were quite happy about that because Kira was born September 2nd, Brandon was June 2nd, Ben was an oddball but wouldn't it be cool if Alycia was born February 2nd? I figured this would be a good excuse to miss work since I hadn't missed any work yet with any of the other kids. I took the day off work and we headed into Brooks. We had a great visit all day long but as far as contractions go nothing happened all day long. That should have been a strong indication then of just how stubborn of a child Alycia was going to be. She has always wanted to do things her way and she will usually do just the opposite of what people expect her to do. The doctor came by at the end of the day and decided to help things out by reaming her cervix. That about sent Lisa through the roof but it must have helped because when Lisa got up the next morning she called me at home and told me she was going to have the baby that day. I asked if she was in labor and she said no but she could just tell. By the time I got into Brooks she was already in labor and they hadn't given her the "pill" yet. So, with the other kids I hadn't been able to miss any work but with Alycia I got to miss two days of work. After a morning of hard labor Alycia arrived early in the afternoon (about 1:00) of Thursday, February 3, 1989. She was our biggest baby at 8 lbs 11 oz and 22 1/2 inches long. This has always bugged Alycia too, she was the longest baby but the shortest child. What a joy she has been. She has made a lot of people smile in her short 19 years on this earth.

Rosemary School

The school in Rosemary was an amazing thing. They went all the way from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The amazing thing is that in those thirteen classes there were only about eighty kids. In fact, when we moved I believe Kira's class the largest class in the school with around 12 kids or so. The school wasn't able to offer a lot of different electives but the classes they did have were top notch, winning all kinds of awards. The schools were divided into two different buildings. The elementary school and the high school. If I remember right, the high school included grades 7 to 12. I'm scared to mention any of the school teachers because I don't remember them all but I will name a few, Noel Crapo was the principal, Leland Crapo, David Blumell, Richard Hall and Sue Chomistek were some of the teachers. When we moved to San Diego we went to register the kids for school and the school had at least a thousand kids. Kira's eyes were wide and she was very nervous. The last year we were in Rosemary Kira just finished fourth grade, Brandon finished second grade and Ben just finished kindergarten.

Having small classes had some big advantages when it came to teacher/pupil ratios. The kids got a lot of one on one attention. It was also a lot easier to make the basketball team. It did have its down side though. I remember when Loni Norton was going to her graduation dinner. I don't know if she just liked our kids (she was their baby sitter) or if there were few choices but she asked Brandon to go with her. I believe at the time Brandon was about three years old. We dressed him up in a fancy suit and they had a great time. From what I hear all of the other girls thought Loni had a great date as well.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Gravel Roads & Football

Back in the beginning of August while I was at scout camp Alex started double days, AKA "Hell Week". It is so named because they begin very intensive football practice twice a day. Actually, Alex claims that the practices are so long that it isn't really two practices but they run together and it is just one very long practice. I believe it was his first day of double days that Alex made a good solid tackle when someone took his feet out from beneath him. Alex came down hard on his shoulder tearing his acromioclavicular joint more commonly called the AC joint. Apparently his AC joint looked very much like the one shown above. X-rays confirmed that his joint was 50% torn. Any more and it would have meant surgery. He was told that he would be out for at least 6 weeks and that was quite devastating this being his senior year and all. After an afternoon of self pity Alex decided to give it his all and this week only four weeks later he was given the go ahead to begin practicing again. His physiotherapy has dropped from three days a week to two. His shoulder now has this funny little bump on it that I guess he will have for the rest of his life but it works and that is what counts. I guess there is a good chance that once he is my age it will probably start bugging him again but when you're only 17, 50 seems a long way off. Today was the beginning of football season. It seems so odd to me that I'm actually looking forward to it. Anyone who knows me is probably just as amazed. I've never been into sports of any kind and the very first football game I ever watched was when Ben started playing football in his freshman year. I've watched quite a few since then and I'm just now actually beginning to understand the little intricacies of the game. I'm a long way from being an expert of any sort but I do know what is going on now. Alex actually played most of the game and what a great game he had. I took my video camera but wouldn't you know it, his best play of the game and I was distracted and missed it. I'm getting no end of grief about that too but I did get a lot of other good plays. The best was when he recovered a fumble on the 21 yard line with 3 minutes left in the game. He set his team up for a field goal that took them ahead to win the game.

He made many kids on his team quite upset because they figured they had his spot but I think he proved himself. We won 27 to 24. Nine more games to go.
I've discussed many things about Rosemary that I love and miss but there are a couple things that I don't miss. Cold was one but the other would be gravel roads. The town had gravel roads (except for the main street) and when it rained or snowed it was pretty gross. The main highways were paved but all of the other roads were gravel and everything was covered with dust. The farmers would often oil the stretch of road in front of their houses but it didn't make a whole lot of difference. There was a short cut from Rosemary to Highway 1 that we used to take to cut a few minutes off the trip. In the map above it is the road marked with the "X". Of course, it is a gravel road. Because of the scarcity of supplies and services in Rosemary you can imagine we made the trip to Brooks quite frequently. Up to this point in our marriage Lisa and I had never owned a new car. I finally decided that I had worked long enough that it was time to buy a new car. Because of our location in Rosemary and my daily trips into Bassano I also decided to buy a car that got good gas mileage. I then became the proud owner of a brand new Geo Metro. That baby got 50 miles to the gallon. It was supposed to be my car but Lisa ended driving it most of the time. One day Lisa was taking Kira into her dance class and I was home with the other kids. I then received a phone call from some stranger telling me that my wife had been in an accident. He assured me that she and my daughter were OK but that the accident was pretty bad. It was pretty lucky that this guy had come across them and that he had a cell phone. This was sometime around 1990 and cell phones were still fairly rare. I don't remember what I did with the other kids but I jumped into the other car and headed out to find them. As you can guess, Lisa had taken the gravelled short cut and if anyone knows Lisa it would be a pretty good guess that she was going quite fast. As she was booking it down the road her left tire got caught in the loose gravel on the side of the road. The road had been fairly recently graded so the gravel was quite loose and quite deep. The gravel pulled her into the left ditch but she was skilled enough to pull the car back up out of the ditch but as she came onto the road the small little Geo didn't have enough clearance and the car bottomed out and that flipped the car. I'm not a forensic scientist but by analyzing the damage to the car and from Lisa's eye witness account, the car apparently flipped end for end (not side to side) twice and they ended up in the opposite ditch on their wheels. Every single window in the car was completely shattered and gone, there was not a single panel on the car that didn't have damage to it either. Lisa's coat sleeve was torn and filled with gravel because apparently her shoulder had been dragged on the gravel road. When she came to a stop Lisa noticed her glasses were gone but out of instinct she reached down and picked her glasses up out of her lap. After all of that her glasses were sitting in her lap. Weird. The car doors didn't work so they climbed out of the windows. They were completely un-hurt except for a few cuts from flying glass. It was a real blessing that I have my wife and daughter here today and it is all due to the fact that they were wearing their seat belts. To this day Kira is a fanatic about wearing seat belts. They saved her life. The accident happened pretty close to where the "X" is located on the map. I got there and the police had already been called but hadn't arrived. I didn't want to wait for them so I loaded up Kira and Lisa and I picked my rear view mirror up off the road for a souvenir, found Kira's gym bag in the ditch somewhere and then I took them into the hospital to be checked out. It didn't look like anything was wrong with them but after looking at the car I couldn't help but believe that something had to be wrong and maybe they were not feeling it because of the shock. It turned out that they were fine. I'm blessed to have my wife and daughter and I do not like gravel roads.