Monday, June 30, 2014


This is old news but I really want to express my feelings on paper. Well, virtual paper at least. Piper is now over two months old and while most people have told their story I haven't told mine.

It is very strange for me to have a pregnant daughter. I have eight grandchildren now and Kira has four of them but until now my daughter hasn't been pregnant. It is a rather bizarre feeling. But it is a good feeling too. It is how it is supposed to be.

Backing up a bit, Kira and Justin have been married for eleven years and haven't been able to have children. They did fertility treatments until they decided that it wasn't worth it and they adopted three beautiful boys. They then decided that would be enough for the Palmer family and the Lord decided otherwise. I personally believe that they were supposed to raise these three wonderful boys and if they had been able to have children of their own then we wouldn't have them in our lives. Once they arrived the Lord then decided to bless them with one last little girl. She is a very spoiled little girl too. But then, isn't that what little girls are for?

I thought it was really funny. Lisa went up to Canada to be there for the whole thing. Kira was due April 19th so Lisa decided to play it save and went up two weeks before the due date and stayed two weeks after the due date. It is a good thing she did because she almost missed it. Piper was born two days before Lisa's flight left.

After Piper and Kira were home Lisa and Kira went out and bought a bunch of pink outfits for Piper. There was no way that Kira's little girl was going to wear any hand me down boys clothes. Well Justin wanted to join the fun so while Kira and Lisa were shopping Justin decided he need to go and buy some pink outfits. I remember that for a few weeks Justin would post a different Instagram picture every day of Piper wearing a different pink outfit. He even created a # tag labeled #POOTD (pink outfit of the day). It was really funny.

So now Piper is two months old and I still haven't seen her. I do NOT like having my grandchildren so far away. It is very different this time. Normally Kira's kids are well over a year old when we go up and have them blessed in church. That is because they can't bless them until the adoption is final. This time there is no adoption so they are just waiting for us to get up there. We are leaving next month and I am very excited.

So the big debate is who does this baby look like. After much deliberation I am declaring a tie. She certain has a lot of Justin in her but she is clearly Kira's kid too. I can't decide so I figure she belongs to both of them. Kira's biggest fear was that Piper would have Justin's big head. I think we were all relieved to see that she leans more towards Kira's dainty head.

She also has the long Leavitt feet. I think it is funny that Lisa and all three of my daughters can all pretty much wear the same shoes and they aren't small shoes.

I can't wait to hold this beautiful little girl in my arms.

Hippo milk is pink.

Piper rolled over today. Before you know it she will be up and walking They grow so fast..

Friday, June 27, 2014


Saturday morning we got an email from the Scouts looking for items to sell in a rummage sale as a fund raiser. Mom and I went out into the garage anxious to take advantage of this opportunity to rid ourselves of some junk. As we were pulling out things to get rid of I came across this old bird cage. This brought back all kinds of memories.

When Alex was still very young he really wanted to have a bird. By this time we had had just about every kind of pet you could imagine so it was fitting that we should get a bird. We'd never had a bird before. So off we went to the pet store and came home with this beautiful purple parakeet. Jasmine was a beautiful bird. 

Jasmine thrived for some time and then one day when I was on a business trip in China Lisa took the other kids to one of Ben's football games. Alex didn't really want to go so he stayed home. As I recall the story, Alex was sitting in the quiet empty house all by himself entertaining himself when suddenly Jasmine lept into the air and started flapping madly all over the place. She then flopped onto the floor of her cage and began kicking like crazy spinning herself rapidly in a circle. Alex called his mother in a panic and in tears he said, "something is wrong with Jasmine". Mom calmed him down as best as she could over the phone but by the time she got home Jasmine had departed this world and moved on to bluer skies where she could fly free and unencumbered by a nasty old cage. 

At the time I was building a brick retaining wall in the front of the house. To give Jasmine a proper resting place I carved a "J" in one of the bricks and placed Jasmine in a small box behind the special brick. We currently have animals buried all over our yard but Jasmine got the best spot by far. As for the picture you're just going to have to trust me. The "J" is right there but in the picture you can't see it. I took several pictures and you can't see the J in any of them. To help you out I draw a black line over the J. It isn't hard to see in real life.

Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


I have been working with tools as long as I can remember. I rebuilt my first Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine when I was a young teenager and I've worked on my own car most of my life. I even rebuilt my car engine in the parking lot of our condo while I was a college student. I've managed to accumulate a decent collection of tools but I've never had a decent tool box. 

I'm making an effort to dig out my garage and one of the things I realized was than my tools are scattered all over the place. It is frustrating when you know you have a certain tool that you need and you can't find it. I've even had to go out and buy a second tool when I know I have one already but can't find it. I was complaining to Lisa one time and she simply said, "why don't you just go and buy yourself a tool box?" Good question, why didn't I buy one twenty years ago? Well I now have a nice new tool box and I am gradually collecting my tools from all over the house and I'm having a lot of fun. 

The best part is my dads tools. Shortly before my dad died he gathered all of us kids together and he collected all of his stuff in his basement and told us to go and divide it up among ourselves. One of the things I was able to leave with was all of my dads tools. I hardly needed any new tools but my dad was a carpenter and i have never not known him to be tinkering. He always had a shop and he always worked in his shop and way too many times he made me go work with him. Most of the things I'm able to fix around the house is because I watched my dad fix them around his house. 
The other cool thing about my dads tools is that some of them are pretty much antiques now. I have a large and a small "Brace and Bit" with several bits that go along with them. Those can't be too common now days. And then there is the manual drill. You just put a drill in the chuck and push it down and the drill bit spins. You press it down a few times and you've drilled a hole. I love the planer, you still see those around but this is an old sucker.

Don't you love the saw with the broken handle tied together with twine string. I don't think I'll ever change that saw. I also love how he made his own handles for the files. He just took a piece of wood, Cut it down to size, drilled a hole and stuck the handle of the file into the hole. 

No, those Ryobi cordless tools in the back ground aren't from my dad. Those are from Ben and they are the reason I will probably never use any of my dads tools. But that is OK. I just love having my dads tools in my new tool box and I feel closer to him every time I open one of the drawers. 

Henrietta Leavitt (1868-1921) discovered how to measure the distance to stars. Her discovery is considered foundational for modern astronomy and is actually called the "Leavitt Effect". She was even nominated for a Nobel prize but she died first. I checked her out on and she is definitely a relative.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Sarah's Graduation

I got back from the BYU graduation late Sunday night and then Wednesday I headed back up to Utah. This time I drove because Lisa was flying into SLC from Calgary and the plan was for her to drive back with me. I timed my drive so I could arrive at the airport just in time to pick her up but unfortunately her flight was delayed by hours. I drove to Alex and Wendy's and Alex and I picked her up somewhere around midnight. Alex was very comfortable in his "onesies" pajamas.He didn't feel like getting dressed so we went to the airport with Alex in his onesies. Boy did we get some looks.

We spent the night at Alex and Wendy's and the next morning we headed south. Sarah's commencement meeting was on Thursday evening and she had a wonderful speaker. His name was Wes Moore and he wrote a book titled, "The Other Wes Moore".

The gist of it was he read about a man named Wes Moore who was sentenced to life in jail for murder. It kind of freaked him out because the other Wes Moore and a very similar background as him but for a few people who had a huge influence in his life he could have had a similar fate. As you can imagine, he talked a lot about how we can influence for good other peoples lives and how we should decide now to make a difference in the world. It was very good.

I think we were all more excited about some of the honorary degrees that they bestowed. One of our favorite people at the Sochi Olympics was Noel Pikus-Pace.She won silver in the Skeleton races. She graduated from UVU and so they gave her (and others) an honorary degree. It was cool to see her sitting there. It was also good to see the dean of UVU, Matt Holland. Because Lisa is such a social person we've actually met him before and had some very good conversations with him.

Friday was Sarah's actual convocation where she walked across the stage and received her diploma. Alex came down for it. It was at 8:00 in the morning so that was a big deal for Alex to get up that early. We also had another treat because Sharley was in SLC for her friends graduation and she came down nto be with Sarah at her graduation. It is always a thrill for me when we can get a few of our kids together. Molly Sanchez also joined us and of course Sam was there.

 Afterwards we all went out for some of that delicious barbecue place and I had some more of that brisket. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Alycia and Trevor were on their trip to Thailand so we didn't see them but we did get to use their apartment while they were gone. That was convenient. Saturday we helped Sarah and Sam pack up their apartment. That was a bit of a nightmare. They live on the third floor and I made far too many trips up and down those stairs. Uggh.

Sunday we headed for home and had a quiet and uneventful drive back to San Diego. It amazes me to watch my kids grow up. Five of my six kids are now college graduates and out in the world making a decent living and paying taxes. We only have Alex and Wendy left to go and they are both on the right track.

The heart of a blue whale is so big, 
a human can swim through the arteries.

President and Sister Holland

Doesn't that brisket look amazing?

Since Sam wasn't around for his graduation we took some cougar shots for him.