We didn’t do anything much since our California trip. But in September, I got a call from Becky. Bob’s nephew was getting married in San Diego. So we made plans to meet them on their way home. We decided Las Vegas was the midway point. I was excited and looking forward to meeting with them.
We met them on Monday and checked into our rooms at Harrahs. It was a nice room and we were looking over the next street where we could see the big volcano erupt. It was fun. We got settled in and then we went exploring. We went to the Strip and walked around. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant or the casino, but we popped into this Italian restaurant for dinner. It ended up being really good. We had the full deal: appetizer (garlic bread), entree (I had cheese ravioli/Mark had a chicken plate) then we had a cannioli for dessert. It was pretty good eating. Back at the motel, we played cards and had a good time.
Tuesday morning Mark/Bob went out exploring and picture taking. Becky/I sat around our room and talked and visited. We went to lunch at Subway and met up with boys. Becky/Bob went took a nap while Mark/I went and sat around the pool and read.
For dinner we walked down to the Bellagio and watched the fountain display. It was so cool. They did “All that Jazz” from Chicago. It was really neat. Then we went to the Paris, and the Venetian casinos. The Venetian was a beautiful casino. It had the marble statues and the gondola ride. It was gorgeous. We ended up eating dinner at the Pampas. It was good. We were waiting for a table and there was a glass enclosed room by the hostess desk. We thought that must be for big wigs. But we ended being seated in the room. It was kinda funny. Good dinner–it cost us $100. Most we have ever paid for a meal. HA!! We went back to the motel and another game of cards. We love playing cards.
Wed. morn we headed out to go back home. Got a phone call from Topps and they met us in Mesquite at McDonald’s for lunch. It was crazy. They headed to St. George and we headed home. It was nice to see Becky and Bob again. It was fun to be with them.
Aug 1–Lucas and Sarah came home and they had a good time. The boys were happy to see them. We spent a couple of days visiting with them. We left today and headed down to Ventura. Mark/I/Thomas were looking forward to some sleeping in (ha) and some beach time. Have I mentioned how I love California! I love the ocean,, the greenery and flowers,
and the vibe. The drive to Ventura was about 2 hrs. and w got there and checked into the motel. After scoping out the motel-which was nice even tho a bit small. There were flowers all around and it was close to the beach. We then voted on lunch at the place Lucas had suggested was pretty good—Habit Burger. It was a nice little shop and it was packed. But as Lucas said–the food was yummy. We finished looking around the area. Lots of little shops and interesting places. Back at the motel, we went swimming for a bit. It is funny-at first we thought the pool was just dirty. There were little twigs and feathers all over. But the next morning, we watched as they cleaned the pool, check the chlorine level and tidied up. The pool looked great. But within an hour, the seagulls flying over and the breezes brought feathers and twigs. Guess it was a constant battle.! HA!
The next day we went on an adventure!! We got up and drove to Los Angeles to the LaBrea Tar Pits. The drive was really nice. I love the way the freeways in CA have flowers and bushes planted between the highways. The Tar Pits were beautiful. It was so beautifully landscaped. The pit itself was interesting. It is hard to imagine things like big dinosaurs and woolly mammoths being there. We did the museum tour. So cool and interesting.
There is a new project called 21 boxes they are working on now. It seems they went next door to expand for a parking lot and discovered some new bones. So they started digging and came up with 21 boxes of stuff that they will be sifting thru and cataloging. Pappaw and Thomas went on a tour of the area while Mammaw sat and read her book. Then we went to a presentation of the how the tar pits formed. It was really fun as they had life sized animatron animals and one came really close to where we were sitting. It gave me the willies, the way it just stared at me. Ha!!
We spent a good part of the day there. It was a fun day. After the tar pits–we went to a famous local hot dog stand–Pinky’s. You can get any size, any condiment, any topping for your dog. It was in the Jewish part of the town and it was interesting to see the locals as they walked around with their traditional Jewish dress. Thomas got a hot dog that had a tower of onion rings. It was pretty awesome.
The next day we went to the movies. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a hit. We all loved that movie. Thomas had been wanting sushi and as it is not our favorite, we told him we would give it a try. So we found a place called I love (heart) sushi! It was in this little strip mall by the grocery store. We wondered how it would be. When we walked it, the place was packed. So we figured it must be good. I was not brave enough to try sushi, but Pappaw had some. I had a teriyaki chicken and it was so good. It was a nice little plate of the chicken, salad, tempura vegetables. It was a yummy dinner. Thomas also found a cool Chinese resturant and the food there was scrumtious.
We went to the beach. I love the beach. It was sorta weird, but Thomas doesn’t really enjoy the beach. That surprised me. We went down to the beach and watched the sun set. There is just something envigorating and replenishing to my soul to see the ocean and the sun. I love it.
We headed home the next day. We were gonna stop in St. George for a couple of days, but there was a tragedy in the family. It seems that Jill’s brother, Jeremy died. So Thomas was pretty upset about his uncle’s death. We stayed in St. George overnight and headed home the next day. He was anxious to get home to his family. It was sad to have that happen. Jeremy was a young man and had a 9 yr. old son. It was a really sad thing.
But in the end we still had a wonderful time. I loved the trip. I really enjoyed Thomas being with us. I think he enjoyed the boys and the time he had to chill before starting high school
July 20–we left for California today. Lucas and Sarah were going to Hawaii for a week. We volunteered to babysit the boys so they could have fun. We took Thomas with us. The drive down was going good until we hit Vegas of course!! What is it about Californians that they think they have to leave town every weekend. The exodus from Vegas to head home to CA. is always a mess. This time it was worse for some reason. It took us 2 hrs. to get from Vegas to the California border. It was unreal!! Talk about snail pace.
We finally got to Bakersfield about 9:00. Unreal. The boys were happy to see us. Matthew has grown so much. He is running everywhere and starting to jabber. It is a hoot to watch him copy everything that Mason does. HA! We had a nice dinner with the family and then we played Cataan. Monday morning we spent some time with Luke and Sarah. Lucas took us to a really good lunch at a place called Salty’s. It was really a good BBQ place. We really enjoyed it. They were leaving about 1 a.m. for their 6 a. m. flight so we played Cataan and then went to bed.
Tuesday morning started our week with a 7:00 wake up with Mason coming and playing in bed with us. It was so fun. Then Matthew woke up and after a diaper change, he was there in the bed, too. Each day started this way and it was perfect. Such cute little boys. We had a routine where we went swimming every morning, then rest/naptime, then we would do something or go somewhere. We went and got Mason a Siperman (Spiderman) scooter and Matthew the most annoying musical riding toy. HA!! Mason had gotten a Batman fish tank from a neighbor so one day we went and let him pick out a fish. He picked a black beta fish and he named him “Night”. It was cute to hear him tell Night night every night. HA!
We went to a place called Camelot and played video and arcade games. I must say Mason was more thrilled than Matthew. But we kept feeding him so he was happy. Mason got a kick turning in his tickets and getting a whistle and a tatoo of a dinosaur. Went to a neat park called the Wilderness Park. It had some really cute animals carved on the trees. It had some interesting play things, too.
We had a good week and learned somethings about having kids when you are younger.!! We got closer to the kids and learned things about them you don’t see on the short visits when they come to Utah. Lucas/Sarah came back from Hawaii. They had a grand time. The boys were so excited to see them. It took Matthew a minute to realize they were home, but he made it!!. All in all it was a good week.
Things I learned: 1- going up/down steep stairs everyday is tiring, 2- watching a 1 yr. old and a 3 yr. old is tiring, 3- the boys have cute personalities, 4- they are such smart, sweet, funny boys, 5- when they have meltdowns they are tired. It is a good thing God gave us children when we are young. It makes me really happy to see how my kids are doing as parents. Sarah/Luke are really good parents. They love their kids and have fun with their kids, yet they teach them how to be good kids, too. I think I will keep both my kids and my grandkids. HA!
Another 4th of July has come and gone. This year I had told the kids I was tired of planning everything. It was now their turn to take over the job. Well, they do really good on the big ones–Christmas and Thanksgiving. The little ones get left behind. So I kept asking them their plans hoping they would get it. No luck!!! So the morning of the 4th–Mark/I get up and plan our day. We really hadn’t planned on going to the annual parade, but Maya was on one of the floats and she would be looking for Pappaw. So we go and sit thru the SAME parade as the y ear before, and the year before. You get my drift. But then it was funny . I sat watching this same old parade and it took on a new meaning. It may be the same of parade, but there is still pride as each person stands and places his hand over their heart as the flag passes. There is still pride in watching the city officials drive by knowing they do their best for the citizens. There is pride in the faces of the family members whose son/daughter or whatever relation passes by on a float. And of course, there is pride in that little youngsters face as they pick up that candy that has been tossed. It may be the same old parade, but it is still done with pride. Happy 4th of July!!
In a previous blog, I mentioned I was reading Greg Iles book, Natchez Burning. This book is set in Mississippi during the current times and in the late 1960″s. In trying to keep his dad out of prison, Penn Cage, has to go back to 1968 to solve the crime. This period was set during the heated time of the civil rights movement. Mississippi was a powder keg ready to explode with all the tension. There is talk in the book of the Klan, the treatment of blacks, and even the prominent people of the day. Pres. Kennedy, his brother, Bobby, and Martin Luther King play a role in this storyline. I have been able to understand this.
As a 17 yr. old white girl, born and raised in Memphis, Tn., I was aware of the black people and the struggle going on. It was not always easy. There were times when it was scary. This book tells of the killing of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King. I remember that day, April 4, 1968 very well. I had graduated from high school and had a job working at Campbell’s Clinic, an orthopedic hospital. In order to get home each day, I would ride the bus from the clinic and transfer to bus downtown that took me home. On this particular day, I had not heard any news about the assassination of King. I got off work and got on the bus. It was on the bus that the driver told us about the killing and that the routes for outgoing buses would be different. I remember getting off the bus and walking to where I would take the bus going home. It was a frightful scene, indeed, as I saw blacks with angry faces walking down the middle of the street. They were throwing bricks, screaming and yelling obscenities. There was even a wagon that went by that had a burning effigy. I was so terrified. I remember praying that I would get home safely that night. I was so glad when I got on the bus. After a 10 min. wait, it was with sheer relief when the bus drove out of downtown and headed to the outskirts of the city.
We have come a long way since that day in 1968. Things are good, but as with everything, they could be better. I have learned a lot since that day. I have learned that there is good and bad in all of us. I have learned that we all need understanding and tolerance. And I have learned that we should all treat each other with respect.
Yesterday, June 12th, was my birthday. I am 65 yrs. old. It does not seem possible. My mind says I am still 30, but my body tells me different. HA!!
My birthday started off with my sweet husband, Mark, bringing me a balloon and my favorite cinnamon roll–which we split for breakfast. We then decided we were going to Logan. Lucas and Sarah graduated from Utah State (go Aggies) and we always enjoyed our visits there. They have the sweetest little zoo. It has lots of birds, turtles, and ducks. It also has some coyotes, elk, and bobcats. It is kept really clean and it is pretty . It is just relaxing to visit. We were at the big duck pond when we got involved in watching a mama bird feed her little chick. I am not sure what kind of bird it was, but it was very tiny. It was fun to see the mama fly up to the little hole with a bug in it’s mouth and then-pop- out came a little baby head and snatched the bug.
Then we played a game of Scrabble and left the zoo. Our next stop was the fun store, Hastings. I don’t know why I love that store, but I get a kick out it. I found some things for Mark’s father day and a present for Maya’s birthday. It was fun!!
Our next stop was our favorite pizza place, Firehouse Pizza. It is so good. We had a cordon bleu calzone, salad, and breadsticks. I got a fazookie free for my birthday. Mark ate most of it, but that was fine. HA!
Our last stop was to the End. The Logan River runs down the side of Logan and ends up in a big lake. People fish, boat, and kayak there. Ii has picnic tables and is just a beautiful spot to enjoy nature. The mountains around it are high and pretty. We spent some time reading and walking around. I love being in the sun and enjoying nature. I wish we h ad a cabin in the mountains somewhere. It would be so fun.
We came home and relaxed, watched a little TV, and then off to bed. I thought it was the most perfect birthday day. Mark always knows how to make me happy.
I have several authors that are my very favorite. I have read all they have written. I wait with anticipation for the next book. So it was with extreme pleasure when I read that Greg Iles had a new book coming out. I love Greg Iles. The first book I ever read by him was called 24 Hours. It was a nice little suspense read. I then found out the names of other books he had written. One of them has become my favorite. It was called the Quiet Game. It was set in the town of Natchez, Miss. and being a southern girl, it piqued my curiosity. It was the story of a writer, Penn Cage, who went home and got involved in solving a mystery from the sixties. A black man had been accused of setting a bomb that killed some children. It was very good and intense.
Now Greg Iles has just released his new book called Natchez Burning. It is about Penn and another murder he gets involved in. Can’t wait to finish it. And the best part is it is the first in a trilogy. I love books that go on forever. HA!! If you are looking for a good read–Greg Iles can give you that!
We had a fun weekend on the 31st. Kev asked us to watch Ethan for the weekend. We picked him up Friday which was his last day of school and also his birthday. He was all excited to tell us about school ending and moving to the 4th grade. I asked him if he had enjoyed the 3rd grade. He said “oh, yeah, except for the times I got in trouble.” I asked why would he get in trouble? And in all seriousness he told me “I don’t know why I get in trouble. There is just something inside me that makes me the class clown. I can’t help it”. We are just cracking up. Then he goes on to explain about his behavior cards. If he is good, they stay up, but if he is bad they all get flipped down. He then says “I do good all week, but come Thursday and Friday, before you know it all my cards are flipped. Yeah, I just can’t help it” He is the funniest little dude. We get such a kick out of him.
We had Maya, our 5 yr. granddaughter, who loves her cousin, Ethan, come play and spend the night. It was hilarious listening to them talk with us in the next room.
We took Ethan to Walmart and he picked out his toys. He liked what he got. It was funny–we took them to the park to play and I bet they didn’t stay 30 min. So Ethan picked McDonald’s for his dinner as it has the best cheeseburgers and Sprite in the world. Crazy kids ended up playing for over an hour. Now explain to me how that is so much fun over the park. Kids!
Mark and I like to go for drives and play Scrabble. We try to find a different spot and enjoy what is around us–plus it is always fun for the one who wins Scrabble. I am 3 in a row! So last night we went for a drive and stopped on the ridge above town behind the Benchmark condos. It is a great view of the town and you can see the Great Salt Lake. Anyhow-as we are sitting there playing Scrabble, we hear a rustling in the grass. We look over to the left and there are 4 deer who are grazing quietly. 2 does, a buck with short horns, and a small little deer. Then we hear some scratching and look down and see 4 quails. Two males with their black head combs and 2 females. They were really fun to watch. As I am wrapping up the win==we see a hummingbird land on the branch of the dead tree in front of us. Amazing!! Who would have thought in the middle of town we would have experienced the joys of nature.