Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shoshone Falls - June 09

Three years ago Shoshone Falls ran at a record rate of nearly 18,000 cubic feet per second. The park at the falls set a record for attendance as people flocked from all over the West to see this historic site. We regretted that no one in our immediate family was close enough to see it.

This year's incredibly wet spring has contributed to another banner year for runoff in the Snake River aquifer. Even though officials had already emptied Palisades more than half way to make room for increased runoff, they had to make more room. As a result, the falls are running very high again this year. They're running even higher than 3 years ago, some 20,000 cubic feet per second, the highest flow since the '80s (I think). Happily, Mom is here to see it. We went to the falls last night for family night.

It was a bit warm for the first little while, but as the sun set the temps dipped and got very comfortable. We enjoyed strolling around, looking at birds and insects, and snapping pics of the kids here and there.

All three of these pics were taken this year.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

What'd ya' read?

What did you read when you were in elementary school or jr. high?

Of the 7 days I spent in Daytona Beach, Sunday, June 14th, was the "night out." In other words, ETS gave the caterers the night off and gave each reader a $25 allowance for dinner. The idea, of course, is that folks could congregate with friends and splurge a bit on a nice meal. By Sunday I had made a few friends, but I was not really in the mood to go to one of the many crowded restaurants near the hotel. So, I just wandered around along Atlantic Blvd (aka Highway A1A).

Eventually I came across a small Domino's pizza place that had two tiny tables. There was hardly anyone there, so I ordered a small "extravaganza" (which has peppers, olives, sausage, onions, and a bunch of other stuff that no one in my family will eat). While they were baking my pizza, a fellow reader stopped in with the same idea. After she placed her order, she looked around for a place to sit. The other table was in use, so I offered her a seat at my table. And that, as they say, was the start of something wonderful.

My new friend is Linda Winrow. She teaches high school English. We spent more than an hour talking about books, reading, students, writing, and travel. It was a delightful way to spend the evening. One of the things we talked about was what we read, and what our children/grandchildren read, during those formative years-- say 8 to 18.

My facebook friends may have seen a note from Linda about a book series I recommended for her grandson. It's the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Our 11 year old, Josh, has been devouring them.

I posted a reply to Linda about a series I read in jr high-- the John Carter of Mars books (by Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame). I loved them when I first read them. Later, something like 10 years ago, I reread them and found them quite hokey-- amateurish and contrived.

Then, while looking around at what Pixar has been up to, I read that Andrew Stanton, of Pixar fame, is working on a movie version of parts of this story and of course I had to pull them off the shelf and give them another go. I guess the knowledge that Pixar is tackling this story, and that their past efforts have been quite good, is coloring my reading. I'm finding them interesting and fun all over again. I guess I still see the contrived parts and some things about it are still a bit hokey, but read through the lens of the age in which they were written, they're not too stinkin' bad*. Kinda good, in fact.

So, what did you read in your formative years? Besides Nancy Drew and/or Hardy Boys? Or Harry Potter? Let's give Linda some good reading ideas for her grandson. And me some good ideas for boys who are on the verge of saying "I'm bored. There's nothing to do."

*Hawkeye would say, "If you bring that sentence in to the shop, we can have it shortened for you by Tuesday."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lazy Summer Morning

Keri got up a while ago to take Cameron to Day Camp. I didn't get up, but I was pretty much awake, so I grabbed a book and read for a while. Then, when the book got boring, I switched over to TV. Spongebob isn't too bad in the morning when your mind is mush anyway.

Eventually, Colton came along and crawled into bed with me and we snuggled for a few minutes.

I finally got up about an hour ago and had my bowl of raisin bran (trying be healthy for once--especially after the wonderful Father's Day meal and leftovers), and read email and facebooked for a few minutes.

Cate and Cole are now sitting in front of the fan, listening to their voices waver. Josh got a couple of chores done without being asked, so when he asked if he could play Wii, I said yes. Jake is actually up before noon today, so we'll count that as a good harbinger.

I think I might go to the library later and pay that fine. That'll clear the day for some real work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Both books found

What a relief. When I checked our library account online I discovered that the other book has been returned. Miracle of miracles, eh?

I think that one of the boys may have let a friend borrow the book and the friend returned it. Or, one of them left it at school or returned it to the school library by mistake and it eventually made its way to the public library.

Either way, it's a relief that the books are both found and returned.

What was I going to do next?

One book found . . .

. . . one to go.

We looked and looked for this book, including several times in the very spot in which we found it. Suddenly today, however, there it is. Too bad we owe almost the value of the book in fines now.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Day '09

It's cool to be the special guy once in a while. Keri cooked her magnificent fried chicken (with the amazing and always drool-inducing mashed potatoes and gravy). Brownies and ice cream for dessert. I think I gained 5 pounds with just that one meal.

Actually, Keri and the crew around here do a great job of making me feel like the special guy pretty much every day. I'm very lucky to have such a sweet and smart family.

The crew gave me a way-cool leather bag to haul papers and other misc. work stuff around. It makes me look very "Indiana Jones."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fathers and Sons '09

What would happen if we threw a party and everyone came... and so did the rain? We have the party anyway.

The last time I went to Camp Murtaugh with the scouts in fall '07 it rained buckets. In fact, the news reported that the rainfall that day was a record for the date. During the night I kept pulling more and more of our stuff on to the air mattress to keep it "dry." We were an island in the middle of a swamp by morning. It took about a week for everything to dry out once we got home.

The stake held its Fathers and Sons activity this past weekend at Camp Murtaugh and, you guessed it, we had record rainfall for the date. AND one of our tent poles broke in the wind. As a result our tent was more like a funnel, directing the water directly on to our heads while we "slept."

Then we got up and ate breakfast in the rain. We actually had a reprieve from the rain for about an hour which was just enough time to set up the tables etc. for cooking breakfast. By the time folks were eating, however, it was pouring again.

This is what we call "fun."

Things will be dry in about a week.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Florida bachelor party

Friday, June 12th, was Day 2 of the AP reading. My roommate, Kelly Moylan (who I know from graduate school), and I went to the Daytona Cubs game after a day of reading a bazillion essays. We ate hot dogs and peanuts, made friends with some folks from the area (the dad kept hinting broadly that his single daughter and Kelly would make a good couple), watched the Cubs beat the Fort Meyers Miracle into the mud...

...and we saw these guys.

Their shirts read "There is absolutely no excuse for the way I'm about to act."

Turns out they were at the game for a bachelor party. Here's the groom, participating in a burrito eating contest.

Which one of them is the groom, you ask? The guy on the right, of course. The one whose shirt reads "Groom." He won the contest, of course.

Only in Florida... land of a million retirees.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Daytona BEACH

Okay. Here's picture #1. This was the view from our hotel room. Not to shabby, eh? Too bad we were stuck in a convention center 8 hours a day instead of snorkeling, etc.

Homeward bound

I'm headed home from the AP exam reading. It's been an interesting week in Daytona Beach-- something like a marathon really. ~900 of us read 344,000 AP exams in a week. When you consider that each exam has 3 essays which each need to be scored individually, that comes to well overa 1 million essays to be read. One stinkin' million!! Considering how readers there were, that comes to over 1,000 each, right? Yes!

I'm sitting in the Orlando airport. I got up at 1:15AM Idaho time. It is now 4:15 Idaho time. An hour + until my flight boards. I need a nap.

I don't have lots of cool stories to tell. I don't even have many pictures. I will post something soon, however.

Until then.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A late garden is better than no garden?

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Last year we were very hopeful that our house would sell during the summer months. Even though we pretty much caused the housing crash in the United States (we put our house on the market the same week that NPR started talking about a possible mortgage crisis), we thought that the summer would be kind to us and we'd be on to a larger house. (Which hasn't happened yet, btw.) Because we were not planning to be in this house for harvest time last year, it didn't make much sense to plant a garden, right? So... we didn't plant one. That rectangular little plot behind the house lay fallow last season. No tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peas, sunflowers... nothing but a few weeks. Actually, make that a LOT of weeds.

This year we're still hoping (against hope) to sell, but we've taken the opposite tack. This year we've (finally) planted a garden. This week I've put in tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelon (do they actually grow here?), and onions. I may yet add peas and/or carrots. 

Like I said the other day, we've had some nice rain here this week and temps have stayed pretty cool. Things are quite green. It's been a unique spring, to be sure. Very nice!

Josh, my little apprentice gardener, and I planted impatiens and begonias in the back flower beds that are mostly in shade. Do impatiens and begonias do well in shade? I hope so.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sock orphans and library books

Our house has a black hole. Yours does too, I suspect. Most houses do. It's that mysterious place where single socks, car keys, the case for that DVD that's been sitting on the TV for 3 weeks, and library books go. Our black hole has sucked up  two Twin Falls public library books that need to be returned tomorrow. I'd sure like to know the secret of the darn thing. 

I'm the kind of person that has a hard time letting such things go. I want to resolve this library book thing before I go on to the next task, whatever it may be. Until our "account" with the library is clear, I'm going to be obsessing about it. Where are those &^%$ books?

Of course the crazy, maddening thing is that they were right here on the computer desk just a few days ago. We have multiple witnesses to that effect. So where did they go?

We've had a couple of nice rainshowers this week. Things are sure green around here. More about the garden etc. soon.