Sunday, July 25, 2010

Church in the Canyon

Sunday, July 18, was our second annual participation at “Church in the Canyon” with Marc, Frances, Alice & Claire. They live in the Emigration Canyon Ward, and the Sunday before Pioneer Day every year, they hold their church services at the “Cold Creek Camp,” where all of the Mormon pioneer handcart companies camped their last night before entering the Salt Lake Valley.The main speaker this year was a man who (while not Mormon) was hired to be the trail master for a reenactment of the pioneers’ journey to the West. He told of some of his experiences on the trail, and some of the stories he heard. During the time of the reenactment, he became so touched by the story of the pioneers, that he wanted to learn more about the church that so many sacrificed so much for. He ended up joining the church, and was baptized in the font at “This is the Place Heritage Park,” at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. It was neat to hear his testimony, especially some of the things that so many of us take for granted.

Of course, we enjoyed our refreshments after. (However, it wasn't as humorous as last year.) The flowers blooming around our meeting site were beautiful, and the kids looked so adorable – we couldn’t resist a few pictures!

WGU Meetings ~ July 13-17, 2010

For those of you who are long-time readers, you know that one of the highlights of my year is when my WGU co-workers come to Salt Lake City (in February and July) for our week of academic meetings and graduation.

My good friend, Jennifer, is leaving WGU, so the week was bitter-sweet. It was great to see everyone, but we knew it would be our last time with her attending the meetings.

Here are a few of the “old timers” between meetings…
The all-staff dinner and carnival were held at the Grand America. We had a lot of fun hanging out in the courtyard. Here are the “GRITS” (as Jennifer calls us) – Girls Raised In The South. I have been an honorary Southern Girl from the beginning – both by association and ancestry.My friend Cindy is currently in the middle of chemo treatments. During the raffle, she told us to rub her head for good luck. Debra, Cindy, and I all rubbed her head, and WON PRIZES! (They won an iPod Shuffle and an iPod Nano. I won a $100 American Express gift card!) Our friend, Chalu, refused to rub Cindy’s head for good luck. She didn’t win anything. :)Here are a few of the pictures from graduation. Governor Herbert (Utah) and former Governor Mike Leavitt (also former US Secretary of Health & Human Services) were honored guests. Martha Kanter, U.S. Undersecretary of Education, was the commencement speaker.Friends before graduation…Me with my one student who came to graduation this time…After graduation, Cindy, Blake, and I went to the Training Table for lunch. It has kind of become a tradition. They love being with Ryan, so Papa drove Ryan in to have lunch with us. Blake and Ryan do a semi-annual “height check.” He’s getting there!The most amazing thing of the week was the opportunity to introduce two of my good friends to each other in person. Kim and Cindy have both been going through chemo. Kim lives in my neighborhood, and Cindy lives in Mississippi, yet this was something I knew they had in common and could get through together. They have been emailing and keeping up on each other’s progress through blogs. Saturday night, the three of us went to dinner at ThaiFoon in the Gateway, and then went scarf shopping. I am so inspired by the courage and faith of these two friends. I love them, and I’m so happy they have been able to support each other through their experiences.What a wonderful week! I have amazing friends and co-workers at WGU – from New York to Florida to Washington, plus my Southern Girls in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. See you in February!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some Watchdog!

Before we had Copper, we used to have deer in our yard almost daily. Now we only have deer every month or two. A few days ago, Rara, Ryan & I were in the kitchen, and Copper was sleeping on the back porch, when a deer entered our yard. Here is the story in pictures.

We told Copper to “go get the deer.” The look on his face seemed to ask, “You want me to WHAT?!?!”
“Oooh, but it looks so much bigger than me!” (He even took a moment to relieve himself before the attack.)“I think I can scare it out of the yard. I’ll go try.”“Run away!”The deer appears to be the winner…this time.

“Proud to Be an American” Program

Rara is on the Bountiful Historical Committee, and they have been working to raise money to build the Bountiful Historical Museum. The committee planned an event (Rara pretty much planned the event) as a fundraiser. It was held July 9 and 10 at Woods Cross High School. Rara invited Ryan and I to go, to listen to the speakers and to support the event.

Senator Orrin Hatch was one of the speakers, and we were able to speak with him for quite a while after he spoke.
The Fab Five performed (and Ryan met them)…Jon McNaughton discussed his painting, “One Nation Under God.” We purchased one, and had him sign it…Kimberly Smith & her son, Bryan Dennis (descendants of Joseph Smith, but converts to the Church) spoke about their conversion and sang songs they had written about Joseph, Emma, and some of the events of the Restoration. It was neat talking with them, too.Howard Carlos Smith, a high school classmate of Rara’s, spoke about his book, “Keeper of the Prophet’s Sword,” and we were fascinated by the sword.Sister Mary Ellen Smoot, former General Relief Society President, spoke about the history of Centerville, and the partnership between Bountiful and Centerville over the years. It was fun to talk with Sister Smoot and her husband over lunch and during the program.It was a neat weekend. We were able to meet some amazing people and learn some wonderful things. Ryan and I were two of the youngest people there. Everyone kept commenting at how well-behaved Ryan was, and how impressed they were that he was there and paying attention to all of the speakers! He loved all of the different speakers and everything they shared. I'm proud of him for being such a wonderful young man!

Independence Day Weekend

We had a fun Independence Day weekend, participating in a few of our annual traditions. On July 3, the Eaglewood Golf Course in North Salt Lake always has a big carnival, and then a program with paratroopers, a flyover, and fireworks.July 4 fell on a Sunday this year, so we had a low-key celebration at Rara & Papa’s, watching the fun programs from Washington DC and Boston, and then doing our own sparklers.Our main celebration was on Monday, since we all had it off of work. Marc & Frances and Alice & Claire came to Rara & Papa’s, too. We enjoyed playing with the girls in the little pool, and a yummy BBQ pizza assortment for lunch. Then the girls tried sparklers (while avoiding all of the bugs in the front yard).We had a great time celebrating the Independence Day holiday, so much so that our celebrating continued into the following weekend! See the next post for the details.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Sort of Thinker Are You?

Those of you on Facebook know that there are about a gazillion “What type of (fill in the blank) are you?” quizzes on Facebook. I have never taken one before, since most of them seem rather pointless. I don’t need to know what type of cheese or vegetable, or which Avatar or Twilight character I am. However, there was one a few days ago that caught my attention: “What Sort of Thinker Are You? Strategist, Theorist, Ethicist, or Philosopher?” I HAD to take it!

Here’s my outcome:

You’re a Social Reform Theorist: Like Voltaire.

You have a strong sense of social morality, equity, and public comment similar to: Francois-Marie Arouet: lived from 1694 to 1778 and is best known by his pen name, “Voltaire.” He was a writer during the French Enlightenment and was known for his defense of civil liberties, philosophical sport and sharp satires. Although he wrote around 20,000 letters and over two thousand books and pamphlets, his work, “Candide, o l’Optimisme” remains his best known.

I just finished a Cyberethics course, which included discussions on justice, morality, and social responsibility. I wonder if that had anything to do with the outcome, or if this is what I would be, regardless of my current readings. Interesting!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cub Scout Egg Launch

Thursday, July 1 was the annual Cub Scout district egg launch. The first year Ryan was in scouts, we were on vacation, so he wasn’t able to participate. Last year, I was involved with my WGU meetings, so Rara & Papa helped him make his rocket and took him to the egg launch. So, in Ryan’s three years in cub scouts, this was the first time I’ve been able to go with him.

It was hilarious! It was held at the usual location – at a park with tennis courts. The rockets were launched in the tennis courts, and I believe the idea was that they would stay within the fenced area of the tennis courts. Well, about every fourth or fifth rocket went WAY outside of the tennis court fencing. I was sitting with my friend, Kim. We quickly realized that we couldn’t chit chat until our own kid’s rocket was launched, we had to pay attention and watch the whole thing!

Several rockets went into trees. One Cub Scout leader ran around, scampering up the trees like a squirrel to retrieve the errant rockets.
Here’s one of the launchers picking up Ryan’s rocket.Ryan’s rocket waiting in line.Something happened to my camera during the launch. It acted like it was out of batteries! So I didn’t get pictures of the actual launch. Sorry! Just moments after Ryan's was launched, it was fine again! Oh well!

The park has an amazing statue of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the scouting program. We thought it would be fun for Ryan to pose in front of the Lord Baden-Powell statue (and the scout oath).
Two different patches are awarded at the egg launch event: one smiling egg, awarded to boys whose eggs stay intact; and a frowning egg with cracks, awarded to boys whose eggs crack during the launch and subsequent crash landing. Ryan earned the smiling egg last year, since his egg survived the launch intact. He really wanted his egg to break this year so he could get the other patch. He was even tempted to smack the rocket against the step as we left home.

No need. With the crazy launching this year, his egg broke. The frowny-face patch put a smiley face on Ryan!