Sunday, December 07, 2014

Canada Trip

Our trip to Canada last summer was such a wonderful experience that I need to talk about it but it has been so long now that I'm sure I will leave out some of the cool details. Kira and Justin were good enough to schedule Pipers baby blessing around our availability. We waited until Lisa was done work in June (she  works with the special ed kids at the high school) and then we headed north. Every time we make a road trip to Canada we let our kids along the I-15 know that they are welcome to come along for the ride. We usually have a full van and a ton of fun but this time only Alycia was able to come but we still had a ton of fun.

On the way up we spent a couple of days at a W.C. Lybbert reunion. Greg & Gaylia, Dixie and Jackie and Byron, Shelley and there kids were all able to get there too so it was wonderful. I will talk about the reunion in another post however. I don't want this to turn into a book. Let me apologize now for the lack of good pictures. I was happy to let Alycia take all of the pictures but now I don't have many good pictures of my own.

 Usually when we go to Canada we try and squeeze way too much into a short week so this time we decided to spend the week at Kira and Justin's home so it felt much more relaxed.

So far we have made it to everyone of our kids baby blessings but for Kira it was always combined to the temple sealing ordinance because all of her babies were adopted. Since Kira gave birth to Piper this was not necessary this time so it was a bit of different experience for us.

In that picture to the left of Kira holding Piper I just have to comment on the baby blanket that Piper is wrapped in. Lisa's great grandma Shaw made that blanket for Lisa when she was a baby and Christened in the United Church. Lisa has kept it and all of our grandkids have been blessed in it. It is quite amazing to think that Pipers Great, great, great grandma made that blanket.

 While we were there we were able to visit with Grandma Leavitt. It was wonderful to be able to see Maurine.
 We also went to a berry farm and picked a ton of Saskatoon berries. I haven't had any of those since I was a young kid. We were supposed to keep enough so Mom could make some jam but I know that for every berry that went in my bucket, one or two others went in my mouth.
 While Alycia was the only kid able to drive up with us, Sarah was working for Kira through the summer. Sam was able to fly up and so we were able to spend the week with Samarah (Sam & Sarah) as well.

 One evening Justin treated us all to this VERY fancy restaurant. It wasn't just a fancy restaurant but one where they make some exotic foods that can't be made naturally but only by using scientific processes.Things like vacuum drying, vacuum cooking and pressure cooking and several other processes that I can't remember. It was very delicious and very fascinating. As we were sitting at our table we watched this sunset.
And of course, if you didn't know, Justin and Kira live on a lake. I don't think there was a single day that I didn't go in the lake. The weather was beautiful for the entire time that we were there and if my memory serves me well, that is very unusual. Alberta weather changes from hour to hour and while they can have some wonderful weather they can just as easily have miserable weather. I consider myself blessed to have had a solid week of great weather.

What a wonderful trip this was. I was sad because Kira and Justin are not planning on any more kids. Not that we need an excuse to go and visit our kids it easy to procrastinate a trip with one. I then remembered that next year Evan and Sydney get baptized so it looks like we will have no shortage of excuses.

Carrots were originally purple.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I am really trying to get my garage cleaned out. It seems like an endless battle because for every item that I throw out a new one seems to show up. It isn't getting any better but at least it isn't getting worse. The problem is that I am way too sentimental. Every time I open a box of stuff that needs to be discarded the stuff in the box brings back all kinds of very pleasant memories and I find it difficult to get rid of it. But how can I keep it all?

A good example came up the other day. I was going through a box and it was filled with items from when I worked at Kyocera. I had thrown in the box many of the phones from projects that I had worked on. I finally decided to keep one phone from each project and throw out the rest. This isn't all of the phones but it is most of them. Every phone in this project has key pads, batteries and connectors selected, qualified and/or designed by me. While I didn't design any circuit boards many of them have circuit boards fabricated at factories that I qualified. I have visited every factory where these parts were made all over Asia and in parts of Europe. You can imagine the emotions that these phones brought back to me. What a trip.

The last time the Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series,
 the Ottoman Empire still existed.
And lollipops had not yet been invented. 
And women did not have the right to vote in the United States.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


I know you're probably completely board when I start talking about running but it is a big part of my life at the moment so I kind of have to talk about it. 

Some time ago Kira and Justin invited us to go on a cruise with them. I think they probably wanted help with watching their kids more than they wanted our delightful personalities but that is completely fine with us. We would love nothing more than to hang out with them and their kids. 

The cruise is in January and just happens to leave the day after the Disney World Marathon. Justin told me that he was going to run the marathon and suggested that I run it as well. I had so much fun on the last one that I didn't hesitate. In addition to the thrill of the race (if you can call it a race) it also disciplines me so that I run more regularly. Something I really need to do. 

In addition to keeping my fat belly down, running also gives me a chance to get out and enjoy nature. Take a look at some of these pictures I've taken while running and tell me it isn't absolutely beautiful. When I get up to the higher mileage it also means I can get far enough off the beaten trail that I come across very few people too which greatly adds to solitude. 

The only down side is that when training for a marathon you need to spend many hours every weekend. I just don't have time for that but now that I'm signed up for a marathon I have to or I'm going to die in January. Young people like Justin might be able to get away without training but not me.

Yesterday I ran twelve miles and next Saturday it will be fourteen. That takes me two and a half hours and it is going to increase up to four hours. Lisa is supportive but I can tell she isn't thrilled about losing me for four hours every week.

Every run is an unique experience. Last Saturday I made a big mistake. I had rained all night and for some reason I forgot that dirt trails turn into a field of mud. That picture on the left is beautiful but each of my feet weighed about ten pounds from the mud.

 The week before, I came across this guy sunning himself on the trail. I didn't see a rattle on his tail but it was somewhat hidden in the bush. I wasn't going to take any chances.

 This picture was taken last year after the fires. It was an eerie feeling running through the burned hills.
 It was also weird to see the guard rail lying on the road. The fire had completely burned away the posts.

So I will apologize in advance. Every Saturday from now until Christmas I will be running farther and farther and I can't help but share my run on facebook. I especially love it because if someone "likes" or comments on my post I hear a cheer in my headset. You can't believe how much of a boast that gives to my energy. I can be ready to keel over and then I hear a cheer and I have all kinds of energy. At least for a minute or two.

Alaska is simultaneously the most northern, the most western, 
and the most eastern state in the U.S.

Sunday, November 02, 2014


For the labor day weekend Lisa and I decided that we needed to go visit Ben and Sharley. They've been in Colorado now for over a year and we hadn't been out there. Lisa found us some cheap tickets and off we went. They had a very fun weekend planned for us. My favorite activity was touring an old gold mine. I guess many of these old mines are still active but the gold has played out so much that they don't make a whole lot of money. I am quite sure this mine is making much more money giving tours than they were making actually digging. It was absolutely fascinating. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and had obviously worked in mines his entire life. He really looked the part too with only half his teeth left and those that were left didn't look too good. We hadn't gone 100 feet into the mine when I decided that this was not a career I should go after. I kept hitting my head on the ceiling (thank goodness for the hard hat) and I do have a tendency for claustrophobia. The tunnel was big enough that the claustrophobia wasn't a problem but when I looked into the vein I was not going very far into that hole.

The tunnel lead straight into the side of the mountain and was pretty level with a slight down hill slope. We walked for maybe a quarter mile and finally came to the vein. Along the way we passed a cross cut which led to another vein somewhere. They also showed us displays of how explosives and blasting caps have changed over the years. The display on mining lights was also fascinating. We also passed a vertical shaft that they used for hauling out the ore.

This was the cross cut. That led to other veins and tunnels.

Another favorite that we went to more than once was "The Little Man Ice Cream" place. It was already starting to get cool in Denver but there was still a huge line up at this place. Ben was telling me that there is a line up even in the middle of winter. I do have to admit that the ice cream was very good. I am almost always happiest with plain old vanilla but I was told that I had to get the oreo ice cream. It was good.

Another wonderful experience was the Denver Biscuit Company. I guess this place was originally two different food trucks. One specialized in breakfast biscuits and I think the other guy was a hamburger truck. While I guess these two guys didn't exactly compete because one was breakfast and the other lunch,  they realized that together they would be a great match. We went for breakfast and I'm telling you, if you're ever in Denver for breakfast you need to try them. I gained substantial weight on this trip.
The plan was to see the state capital but it was a Saturday and it was closed. It looks like a beautiful building.

I'm not sure why I don't have any pictures but we also went to the house owned by the unsinkable Molly Brown. Molly's name was actually Margaret and she didn't ever actually go by Molly. It apparently sounded better in some play and the name stuck. Her story is a very sad one but the house was beautiful.

 One the steps of the state capital they have a marker indicating which step is exactly one mile above sea level. Every few years they have to move it up a few steps because Denver's elevation changes over the years.
Ben and his momy. She loves that he still calls her mommy. You may notice the engraving in the stop that says you are a mile high. This no longer a mile high. You can't move the carving so that is probably why they went to a marker. 

We also made a trip to Boulder. The scenery on the drive up was beautiful. Boulder has blocked of a few blocks and created a beautiful shopping area. 
The first successful blood transfusion was given in 1665 in England.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Miramar Airshow

Now that Lisa is working at the high school she makes all kinds of cool connections. What makes it better is that she has the personality to make the most out of her connections. Westview has some navy commander who leads their ROTC program and every year when the air show comes around he can get you free tickets to a "Chalet" right on the flight line. This year Lisa got us some tickets. This is the way to do the air show. There were massive crowds all around us but we had a nice tent to stay out of the sun when we weren't watching anything or we could go into our own private viewing seats. We were literally as close to the air planes as you could legally get. Inside the tent they had all the drinks and snacks you could want. I love the airshow.

Sitting in the pilots seat of the Osprey I was ready to take off but I could find the key to start the engines. I then tried to fire the guns but that didn't work either. I don't think they trusted me.  

The Osprey flies over my work all the time. 

This gun shoots a 155mm shell up to 25 miles. The shells are GPS guided so they don't miss.

The Harrier has always been a favorite of mine. I love that it can take off vertically.

The F-35B Lightning may be my new favorite. It can also take off vertically but it is a stealth plane and completely computerized. Apparently it takes a pilot more than 6 months to learn how to fly the Harrier in vertical mode. The pilot said it is like dancing on a beach ball. All of the fancy controls on the Lightning are done by the computer. They say it takes a pilot about half an hour to learn how to fly it in vertical mode. All those flaps you see are doors to allow air to go in the fans when it is in vertical mode. 

A heart for my valentine.

I'm not sure I got the whole story but I think a bunch of pilots got together and created their own flying group. They are called the Patriots. The leader is a former leader from the Snow Birds. I think they just wanted to keep flying.

Grandpa Shaw's favorite plane, the Hercules. 

And what can I say, the Blue Angels are always the highlight.

Here are the pilots of the Blue Angels. They stopped to sign autographs and we were all excited until we realized that they were staying in the cheap seats because there were so many people. They never did come to our "Chalet" because there weren't too many of us. This is when you need a small child to sucker them over.

Lisa and I were walking among the exhibits when all of the sudden I saw a motorcycle in the air above me. 

Kind of freaky

The flyby of the F-14 was very loud

Mammoths went extinct 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid